Day By Day

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Greatest Man Alive

Technology Review has a nice piece on the greatest American of our lifetimes, perhaps of all times -- Norman Borlaug, the father of the "green revolution". He is certainly the greatest living humanitarian, the man who has done more than anyone ever (you heard me, "ever") to save human lives. There are hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of people alive today simply because of what this man has done.

Never heard of him? Don't worry, most people haven't. As TR notes:

Last year, ABC, CBS, and NBC cameras were absent when Borlaug was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal. And alas, Borlaug's friend and biographer Leon Hesser has now produced a prosaic work that, while good on his hero's early years, fades as Borlaug appears on the international stage. Borlaug deserves better, but when journalist Gregg Easterbrook sought a publisher for a popular biography, "they said he was boring," the self-described "environmental optimist" says. "If he'd killed someone instead of saving hundreds of millions of lives, then they'd have been interested."
Read the whole article here.

Could it be that it is because his entire career has been an open repudiation of the declinist cant that is currently fashionable. Come to think of it -- has there ever been a time when predictions of impending doom have been out of fashion?

The only negative thing I can think to say about this great man is that he counts among his friends Jimmy Carter.