Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosphy, Page 624


“In Locke’s theory of government … there is little that is original. In this Locke resembles most of the men who have won fame for their ideas. As a rule, the man who first thinks of anew idea is so much ahead of his time that every one thinks him silly, so that he remains obscure and is soon forgotten. Then, gradually, the world becomes ready for the idea and the man who proclaims it at the fortunate moment gets all the credit.

So it was, for example with Darwin; poor Lord Monboddo was a laughing stock.”

(Editor’s Note: Lord Monboddo was James Burnett, an eccentric  Scottish judge who lived from 1714 to 1799.  When he joined the Court of Session he took a title based on his father’s estate, Monboddo House. An anthropologist, he is credited by some with advancing theories that predate Charles Darwin’s natural selection by more than 60 years.)

Filed under: Overheard


  1. Reminds me of Governor Brown’s first term Director of Transportation, Adriana Gianturco, who advocated alternative modes of transportation to the single occupant automobile, land-use planning that shortened and minimized trips, and a reduction in the consumption of energy. She was roundly criticized throughout her tenure during the 1970s and early 80s. However if you take account of current state and local transportation and land-use policies in effect in California, one can see that Ms. Gianturco the Russel characterization described above.

    Comment by Let It Bleed — 6.11.2011 @ 9:23 am

  2. I’m always being left at. Am I ahead of my time?

    Comment by dcurtin — 6.13.2011 @ 7:49 am

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