Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The denialists you will always have with you

Reading up on the past I keep running into the present. In Indiana History: A Book of Readings, I came across the memoirs of Oliver H. Smith, including the story of the turning point in his run for Congress in 1826. His opponent, Judge John Test, inadvertently aroused the wrath of the same wingnut intelligentsia that takes pride in (a) debunking, and (b) not reading about climate change today:

We met in Allenville, Switzerland county, on one occasion. The whole country was there. The judge was speaking, and for the first time introduced the new subject of railroads. He avowed himself in favor of them, and said he had voted for the Buffalo and New Orleans road, and then rising to the top of his voice, 'I tell you, fellow-citizens, that in England they run the cars thirty miles an hour, and they will yet be run at a higher speed in America.' This was enough. The crowd set up a loud laugh at the expense of the judge. An old fellow, standing by me, bawled out, 'You are crazy, or do you think we are all fools; a man could not live a moment at that speed.' {103}


Anonymous said...


I wish you all the best for 2008 and I hope your writing finds a new home. In the meantime, speaking of skeptics, I thought you might find this website interesting:


JB Powers said...

Nothing makes my heart race more than a political ancedote from the fateful 1826 Indiana Congressional Campaign.

Have you and Roeser been going through your diaries again?