11A084 Two Hundred by Jim Davies, 3/26/2011    

Did you notice? - yesterday was published the 200th edition of this Zero Government Blog. It crossed my mind to wind it up after that milestone, because the rapid readership growth of late 2010 has not been sustained, and of course the market reigns supreme. You, dear reader, can determine that: if you think ZGB is worthwhile, please send it viral. The 100th Edition has more about that. But no, for the time being I hope it will continue to brighten your mornings.

Nobody outside mythology has 200th birthdays, but it's nice to celebrate anniversaries anyway. In 1976 America celebrated 200 years of separation from British monarchy and its tea tax, and the fact that the tax burden on Americans was and is many times higher than the rate that so outraged the founders was successfully concealed by those setting off the fireworks and playing the martial music.

Then in 2009 came Lincoln's 200th, probably explaining the stovepipe hat in my illustration. That was a bit more muted, perhaps because a small but growing number of us are realizing what a monstrous mass murderer the 16th President was. Yesterday's LRC Blog noted that he caused the premature, violent deaths of 620,000 Americans. His aim was to "preserve the Union", as is openly admitted on the more honest of the vast number of Civil War memorials, and that's just another way of saying he prevented the secession of those who no longer wished to be ruled by the FedGov. He even admitted it himself, in an 1862 letter to Horace Greeley: "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery." It's a fearsome warning for those who, today, imagine that a single State might somehow become libertarian and then secede; that is not the way to make America free. It's just an open invitation for government to draw another bloodbath.

On the same day (2/12/1809) as Lincoln but a continent away, was born Charles Darwin; and he is not known to have murdered anyone. For his entire life, he studied the science of life and its origins, and changed the face both of biology and religion - though the latter was not only not his aim, it was opposed to his aim; he delayed publishing The Origin Of Species precisely because he knew it would radically disturb or destroy the theism he and his family embraced. That seems to me the very pinnacle of intellectual honesty: to declare what one has discovered even while shrinking from its implications.

Darwin and I went to the same school (though not at the same time) and to mark his bicentennial the school erected a statue of its famous alumnus. It's safe to say, though, that I drew much more benefit from the establishment than he did, and that the school has been more enhanced by his attendance than he was; it was at the time a purely Classical academy, excellent for learning Greek and Latin but with no science classes at all. So young Charles was bored and unhappy and left after two years.

Who had the greatest effect on humanity? - so far Lincoln has a strong claim on that, for a divided America might not have been able to form history's most powerful empire; so in addition to those 620,000 corpses he made possible the much larger slaughters caused by the FedGov's interference in two world wars and numerous other, smaller ones. But Darwin may have the longest laugh, because he irrevocably upset ten thousand years of superstition and countless imaginary gods, whose supposed demands have suppressed human dignity and enterprise for all our history. Thanks to him, we can now know we are on our own; responsible for what we, individually, accomplish - without limit. He was the real Emancipator.

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