Giants Walked the Earth

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare

By watching
TV the viewer might get the impression that George Bush, Oprah,
Paris Hilton, and the sports hero of the moment are leading figures
in the development of civilization. It is imputed that they are
worthy of objects adulation by the benighted billions when the reality
is that they are passing glimpses of the trivial side of human existence
and have no lasting impact. Western civilization was created by
people of greatness, the product of towering genius that once strode
the Earth. Towering because so few have had such a great impact
on so many and geniuses because their achievements require a measuring
stick that is beyond our ability to create.

Here are the
three figures, in chronological order of birth, I consider most
significant to the daily lives of 6 billion living, acting human
beings: Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Ludwig von Mises.
Their impact on life dwarfs those who shine in the sterile and pallid
light of fleeting mass media celebrity

Isaac Newton
was born a yeoman in England in 1642. He showed early signs of intellect
and was sent to attend Cambridge University thanks to his mothers'
connections. While at Cambridge he invented the sciences of the
Calculus, Optics, Mechanics and Gravitation, the core of physics,
with little more than the power of his mind and whatever he could
fabricate by his own hands. Newton single-handedly brought mankind
from the Age of Faith into the Age of Reason by proving that the
scientific method can explain the natural world with far greater
accuracy than rituals of faith.

Albert Einstein
was born to a bourgeois family in 1879. He was a bright child, but
did not display signs of great intellect until after his formal
education. Between 1905 and 1915 he revolutionized physics with
the quantum theory, special and general relativity. These theories
have been proven true by a vast number of experiments conducted
worldwide over the last century.

Einstein's
theories broke the barrier between human intuition, perception,
and the underlying physical reality. His quantum theory proved the
world of the very small (atomic scale and less) is vastly different
from the macroscopic vista which human beings can perceive. Relativity
broke the perceptual link between the world that we see, one of
low mass and low velocity, with the actual Universe where mass increases
with velocity, time is relative between observers, and the geometry
of Space which is elastic. The transistor, upon which digital electronic
technology is based, was a direct result of the quantum theory,
as is nuclear power. The Global Positioning System requires Einstein's
General Relativistic corrections for the mass of earth and sun for
accuracy.

Ludwig von
Mises was born in 1881 in what was then Austria-Hungary (now the
Ukraine). It was a time of great upheaval in social ideology. The
battlefront between socialist and classical liberal economic theory
were forming between European countries that were embracing variations
of each. His genius created two works that revolutionized the intellectual
battlegrounds in this war. Socialism
was published in 1922, just 5 years after the October Revolution
that reverberated around the world. This book directly explained
the how and why of the failure of this blight on human existence.
He equated Socialism with death, accurately predicting the demise
of 100 million souls that perished under Communism, which was socialism's
most fervid exponent.

In 1949 Human
Action
was published. This book used the power of deductive
logic to provide a rigorous demonstration that the Austrian Theory
of economics correctly describes human interplay in the market economy.
Like the works of Newton, and Einstein, the impact of this work
is immense and affects virtually all of humanity.

Newton demonstrated
that physical reality is bound and understandable in the language
of mathematics. Einstein showed that human perception is weak, limited
and error prone. Von Mises with the iron rigor of his deductive
logic illuminated the rules that prove how human desire backed by
action are the seat of all cultural achievements.

Modern governments
throughout the world provide the framework for the prosperity of
their citizens by the degree of their adherence to the principles
of human action through economic activity that von Mises elucidated.
Conversely the more these principles are refuted, ignored, or outlawed,
the greater the poverty, misery and human degradation of that state's
subjects: government's are the Dark Prince of Earthly misdeeds.

The accomplishments
of these Giants of Human Intelligence will be felt by mankind for
as long as it exists. They provide the foundation and framework
of our modern society that allows billions via concerted human action
to live safe, secure and prosperous lives. Most of us cannot fathom
what is necessary for their creation but we can all bathe in their
reflected glory.

Turn off the
TV, and the false glorification of its trivial and sallow miscreants.
You can join these noble souls, these intellectual giants, in creating
a more prosperous future for all of mankind. Bask for free at your
public library.

Isaac Newton:
Never
at Rest

Albert Einstein:
Subtle
is the Lord

July
11, 2006

George
Giles [send him mail] is
an independent thinker and writer in Nashville, Tennessee.

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare