But a few words in the epilogue, a chapter entitled, "There Once Was a Great City" caught my interest.
First, a quote from Charles Darwin:
Would we agree with this statement today? Probably not - we would probably be accused of some sort of racism. So, just thinking, if we believe Darwin might have been wrong in that area, what about elsewhere? Like I said, just wonderin'There is apparently much truth in the belief that the wonderful progress of the United States, as well as the character of the people, are the results of natural selection."
Another quote, this time a mid-nineteenth century opinion from a Bishop Berkeley, for whom the California city was named:
The world's scepter passed from Persia to Greece, from Greece to Italy, from Italy to Great Britain, and from Great Britain the scepter is today departing. It is passing to 'Greater Britain,' to our mighty West, there to remain, for there is no further West.Interesting that he felt there was nothing of any consequence west, across the Pacific, of North America. This, in my opinion, illustrates the propensity among humans, for a certain arrogance that assumes that whatever is current, whatever is now, is ultimately what is right; that whatever we firmly believe is right is indeed right, and that anyone throughout history who ever thought differently was just plain wrong. It ascribes the certainty of 'truth' to prevailing opinion. We have seen it all throughout history; in geocentrism, in slavery, in the eugenics movement of early twentieth century liberals, in the global warming movement today; even in areas of science where people of a particular time were so certain, but later shown to be wrong. It is the, "Nine Out of Ten Doctors Recommend Camels" syndrome.
Well, today we know different, don't we?