Day By Day

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This Day In History

Today is "World Peace Day". An admirable sentiment, no doubt, but one also has to ask at what price. A number of studies have shown that since the collapse of the Soviet evil empire the world has been getting steadily more peaceful, that is, the levels of conflict, both between states and within states, have been steadily declining since 1990. [here, here, here, and here.] This has been accomplished without any centralized direction or control [although the United Nations has tried, somewhat unpersuasively, to take credit for the changes]. So perhaps it is more appropriate to celebrate the emerging era of peace rather than to waste effort on insane schemes to pacify the world from the top down.

On this day in 1558 Mary Tudor ["Bloody Mary"] died and Elizabeth I ascended to the throne of England. Catholic persecution of Protestants in the realm came to an end and the Church of England was re-established.

And on this day in 1800 Congress for the first time assembled in Washington and President John Adams moved into the White House. At the time Washington was just a small settlement in the middle of a fever swamp, but in the minds of Tom Jefferson and his supporters it was better than Philadelphia.

And on this day in 1869 the Suez Canal was opened for business.

And on this day in 1913 the first ship passed through the Panama Canal.

And on this day in 1997 "Super" Mario Lemieux entered the NHL Hall of Fame.

Happy Birthday [1755] to Louis XVIII, the first post-revolutionary King of France [1814-1824]; And to Gen. Bernard Law "Monty" Montgomery [1887] who led British forces in WWII and gave Eisenhower more headaches than any commander should have to bear.