Happy Columbus Day!
Today we at ARI will unapologetically celebrate Columbus Day — and so should you. Why? Because Columbus Day celebrates the life-promoting core of Western Civilization; namely, reason and individualism. My colleague Tom Bowden explains in an op-ed called “Columbus Day: The Cure for 9/11”:
We need not evade or excuse Columbus’s flaws — his religious zealotry, his enslavement and oppression of natives — to recognize that he made history by finding new territory for a civilization that would soon show mankind how to overcome forever the age-old scourges of slavery, war, and forced religious conversion.
On a deeper level, therefore, Columbus Day celebrates the rational core of Western civilization, which flourished in the New World like a potbound plant liberated from its confining shell, demonstrating to the world what greatness is possible to man at his best.
On Columbus Day, we celebrate the civilization whose philosophers and mathematicians, men such as Aristotle, Archimedes, and Euclid, displaced otherworldly mysticism by discovering the laws of logic and mathematical relationships, demonstrating to mankind that the universe is knowable and predictable.
On Columbus Day, we celebrate the civilization whose scientists, men such as Galileo, Newton, Darwin, and Einstein, banished primitive superstitions by discovering natural laws through the scientific method, expanding the reach of man’s scrutiny to the farthest galaxy and the tiniest atom.
On Columbus Day, we celebrate the civilization whose political geniuses, men such as John Locke and the Founding Fathers, showed how bloody tribal warfare and religious strife can be supplanted by constitutional republics devoted to protecting life, liberty, property, and the selfish pursuit of individual happiness.
On Columbus Day, we celebrate the civilization whose entrepreneurs, men such as Rockefeller, Ford, and Gates, transformed an inhospitable wilderness populated by frightened savages into a wealthy nation of self-confident producers served by highways, power plants, computers, and thousands of other life-enhancing products.
On Columbus Day, in sum, we celebrate Western civilization with the utter certainty that it is good according to an objective standard: man’s life. America therefore deserves to prevail against the religious totalitarians who would destroy industrial civilization and return mankind to the Stone Age.
Read the whole article here.
- “Let’s Take Back Columbus Day” by Tom Bowden
- “Morality,” “Life,” “Reason,” “Individualism,” in The Ayn Rand Lexicon
- The Enemies of Christopher Columbus by Tom Bowden
- “The Age of Discovery: Discovering the New World (c. 1300—c. 1600)” by Andrew Lewis