The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Monday, October 14, 2013


HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY: Many in the West will demonstrate their fierce originality and intellectual independence today by condemning Christopher Columbus using the same shopworn cliches they used last year. For those of a different bent, I recommend Samuel Eliot Morison’s Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus, which takes a somewhat different position.


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The first problem with Columbus is that so little is known about him until his first, remarkable voyage. Not much is known about that voyage either, in spite of all the guff with which generations of schoolchildren were indoctrinated.

The second is that the one thing "everyone" knows about him - that he bravely advanced the idea of a spherical world against widespread opposition - is utter bollocks.

The interesting part of the story is really that an obsessive man impelled along by two gross intellectual errors should have been lucky enough, and brilliant skipper enough, to stumble onto a New World.

Posted by: dearieme | Oct 15, 2013 2:25:29 PM