Hey, I realize that NOBODY’S “Ten best” lists, or “man of the year” or “man of the century” lists should be taken too seriously. Such lists should be made only for fun (or to sell magazines!).
So, I won’t argue the pros or cons of any individual person as “man of the century.” Personally, in THIS case, I think the safe, obvious choice (Franklin Roosevelt) is also the right one. But… aren’t we jumping the gun? How do we KNOW yet who the most important person of the century was?
In the year 100 A.D. (of course, NOBODY was using that date at the time, but humor me), would anyone in ROme have named some obscure Jewish carpenter as the most important person of the first century?
We don’t even know the name of the Chinese inventor who first concocted gunpowder. Back when the powder wasn’t used for much but show, would anyone have called him the most important man of his century?
In the year 1500, would anyone have said Johannes Guttenberg was the most important man of the 15th century? (I doubt it.)
In the year 1900, would ANYONE have name Karl Marx or Charles Babbage as the most important man of the 19th century? Hell, no!(They turned out to be rather important, though, didn’t they?)
The point is, history isn’t static. Things that happened in the 20th century will have important, unforeseen consequences in the 21st century. POSSIBLE examples?
IF China becomes the dominant superpower in the 21st century, mightn’t we have to look back and say that Deng Xiaoping was the most important man of the 21st century?
IF Islamic fundamentalism continues to grow exponentially, and eventually dominates half the globe, mightn’t we have to look back and say the Ayatollah Khomeini was the most important man of the 20th century?
IF the radical “Green” environmental movement grows and dominates 21st century politics, mightn’t we have to look back at Rachel Carson as the most important person of the 21st century?
The possibilities are endless. It could be a long time before we know who was REALLY important.