Greatest Figures Of The 20th Century

John Hawkins had another poll of left-wing bloggers, this time for the "greatest figures of the 20th Century." When it comes to choosing the best rather than the worst, I'm not comfortable making a list. A list of greats is always incomplete, regardless of length. A list of villains is always too many, no matter how few. So I decided to choose a single name instead of sending him a list - and I chose Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

(the full list is here - and I think it reflects well on left-wing bloggers as a whole. Every name on the list is someone who contributed to the state of humanity, who did something to advance society, whether on a personal level or a societal transformation level. Unfortunately John has not asked the same question to a right-wing group yet.)

I chose FDR for a number of reasons. The first is the New Deal and his introduction of social programs that have had a vast influence on unlocking the potential of human beings to contribute meaningfully to our society. Conservative bloggers placed FDR on their Worst Figures of American History list for precisely the same reason[1], perhaps because they feel that the huddled masses have nothing to contribute if given a chance, and whose Darwinian elimination would be more a net benefit to mankind than the scientific, artistic, and economic contributions that those liberated by the New Deal were able to render.

The second reason I chose FDR is because of his leadership during WWII, which was the most recent true threat to civilization and freedom that we as a species have ever faced. The threat from terrorism is miniscule and insignificant compared to the prospect of fascist authoritarian rule.

And the third reason I chose FDR is because, as an American president who served four terms, he probably had the largest influence upon the Presidency and the nation of any holder of that office, before or since.

[1] Of course, that same conservative list has Bill and Hillary Clinton, Noam Chomsky, Jimmy Carter, and Al Sharpton up there alongside assassins and traitors. The liberals fared much better with only two embarassments, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. However, while Reagan absolutely doesn't deserve placement on any such list, Bush has saddled this nation with a structural debt (unlike Reagan's) which will indeed do vast harm to future generations, as well as endangered country by unfunded mandates for homeland security, starting aggressive wars which have fed the anti-American hatred that gives rise to terrorism against us, and damaged our strategic relationships with our oldest allies. So while Bush didn't make my Worst ever list, I don't think it's beyond the pale for him to be on it.

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