Time’s Person of the Century, Plus a Runner-up for the Ages
By John Silveira
December 28, 1999
Item: “Albert Einstein, whose theories laid the groundwork for 20th century technologies ranging from television to space travel, has been chosen as Time’s Person of the Century…”
Frankly, I would have chosen my mother but the choice wasn’t up to me. And I’m not going to quibble about Albert Einstein. After all, he was my hildhood hero and would have been my second-place choice.
What did surprise me, however, were Time’s runner-up choices; more accurately, it was their reasons for choosing the two men they announced that confounded me.
Item: “Time’s runners-up for “Person of the Century” were President Roosevelt, who the magazine said represented the triumph of democracy and freedom over fascism and communism, and Mahatma Gandhi, who it picked to symbolize the ability of individuals to resist authority in order to secure civil rights and personal liberties.” — cnn.com
Triumph over what? The man who wanted to pack the Supreme Court didn’t triumph over fascism, he embraced it. Fascism is, first and foremost, an economic theory in which the means of production remain in private hands but are regulated and directed by the state. Does this sound familiar? It’s what America is today. When Bill and Hillary wanted to nationalize health care they spoke of “managed competition.” What do you think they meant? Why do you think this philosophy didn’t raise an eyebrow at Time-Warner? Because today, American business, though still in “private” hands, is so regulated that if either Hitler or Mussolini could have taken a trip in a time machine from 1939 to the present, each would have thought they’d won the war.
What Time , and those in Washington, DC, should be saying is: “We reject these men, Hitler and Mussolini, but we embrace their economic principles of fascism, which we have so successfully implemented. It’s now the American Way.”
We can’t even credit Roosevelt with ending “The Great Depression” or, as Democrats were fond of calling it, “Hoover’s Depression.” Hoover was president for just three years of the Depression. Roosevelt had it all to himself for another eight, and his programs, though touted by intellectuals, didn’t slow the Depression at all. In fact, it was fascist Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor that brought full employment. And for those who want to argue the Depression ended in 1938, the unemployment figures at that time were no better than they were in 1930 and ’31 under Hoover, so it’s one bad year for Hoover to Roosevelt’s five.
And if you want to make FDR “the man” for leading us to victory over Hitler during the war, consider this: short of dropping the atom bomb in Europe, it’s unlikely we could have won without the Soviet Union tying the Huns up on the eastern front, where most of the fighting took place. If you want to credit someone with defeating Hitler, you’re going to have to move FDR down a notch or two because Stalin comes in first. But I doubt even Time wants to make the madman from Soviet Georgia runner-up to Einstein.
And Roosevelt triumphed over communism? What history books were the editors at Time reading? Several on his staff were communists.
Man of the Century, my foot.
As far as Gandhi goes, if Bush, McCain, or Forbes slept with underage girls and each said it was just to prove he could resist his sexual urges—and Time wanted to include them on their “Person of the Century” list–fine. They didn’t have any trouble with Clinton when he said he didn’t inhale, either. But even if Gandhi lied, and he had his way with these unwilling Lolitas, that would not mean Gandhi didn’t “…resist authority in order to secure civil rights and personal liberties.” But since when has Time championed these causes?
- champions the cause of someone who wants to pack a gun regardless of what bureaucrats, politicians, or police agencies try to deprive him of this natural and Constitutional right as spelled out in the 2nd Amendment
- lends support to someone who chooses to do with his body as he sees fit–even if it’s to do drugs–in accordance with the 9th and 10th Amendments
- when they protest the assertion by the government that they can arrest your private property, in violation of the 4th Amendment, and confiscate it as they do a thousand times every day
- when they support the rights of the states to legally throw the feds out of so-called National Forests and Parks and stay behind the walls of their forts, post offices, Washington City, etc. as spelled out in Article I Section 8 of the United States Constitution and the 9th and 10th Amendments
- when they take the side of the individuals and the states in any of hundreds of similar cases then I’ll believe Time is serious in why they chose Gandhi for “…civil rights and personal liberties.”
However, I doubt they ever will. Time has shown itself to be a collectivist and establishment journal for at least the last 40 years, and probably longer. I’m sure if a Gandhi were to walk the streets of the United States today, exhorting the citizens to resist the occupying force from Washington, DC, and demand it live within the framework of the Constitution, Time would either ignore him all together or, more likely, pass him off as a right-wing kook.
All in all, Time should have stuck with its first choice, Albert Einstein, and left it at that. On the other hand, if they’d made my Mom runner-up, I could have lived with that, too.