DEATH OF A MAN
by Professor Revilo P. Oliver (Liberty Bell, June 1989)
INTEGRITY AND COURAGE have become so rare in science and learning under a "democracy" that I think it proper to note here the premature death of a man our civilization could not afford to lose.
The New Scientist, 25 February 1989, contains an appreciative review of What Do You Care What Other People Think? by Richard Feynman with Ralph Leighton (London, Unwin Hyman, 1989). There undoubtedly is or soon will be an American edition, which I intend to obtain.
From this review I learn that Dr. Feynman died of cancer in February 1988. He was a physicist of distinction, holder of the Nobel Prize for his work on a quantum theory to explain the behavior of electrons in atomic structure, but I mentioned him in Liberty Bell, November 1986, for his aphorism, "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled." That, incidentally, probably explains why Japanese technology is so greatly superior to the technology of a decaying nation that devotes most of its energies to trying to fool nature with Judaeo-Christian hokum and humanitarian blarney.
As we all remember, when the National Space Agency's showboat with its multiracial cargo blew up at Cape Canaveral in the Spring of 1986 (cf. Liberty Bell for May and June of that year), a Presidential Commission of twelve men was appointed to report on the cause of the disaster to the superterrestial circus, and by some oversight Professor Feynman of the California Institute of Technology was made one of the twelve.
As everyone knows, when investigatory commissions are appointed in the District of Corruption, they are charged with one of two functions. The first is to score a touchdown in the perpetual football game that the two big gangs play to keep the boobs amused; that permits loud-mouthed vulgarians to yell insults at each other and thus convince the boobs who elected them that there is an important difference between the two teams, while simple-minded aficionados of political sport "root" for the team of their choice; that also permits solemn pundits in the press and television to pontificate about the game and pretend that the shenanigans of the players are to be taken seriously as political realities.
Commissions are charged with the second function when something really does go wrong. They are then supposed to investigate and report that, although there may have been some little hitch somewhere, there is nothing to worry about: everything in Tel Aviv-on-the-Potomac is just wonderful and all the predators and thugs in it are wonderful and purer than Sir Galahad, and the tax-paying animals should be grateful for the precious freedom to be robbed and kicked in the face by such noble creatures. The Presidential Commission to investigate the explosion of the rocket-launched showboat should have concocted such a report.
Professor Feynman, who was a scientist and interested in facts, not paregoric for serfs, insisted not only on disclosing the real cause of the destruction of the showboat, the disregard of the elementary laws of physics and chemistry by the managers of the act in their reckless determination to impress on schedule the boobs who would be staring at their hypnogogic boxes at the appointed hour, but on disclosing the secret of "democracy." He remarked that in governmental organizations "the men who know something about what the world is like are at the lowest level" and are merely powerless and voiceless subordinates of the shysters "who know how to influence other people by telling them how the world would be nice."
It was not his fault that he was addressing a populace that was too interested in fooling nature with vapid verbiage to be concerned for its own survival. We should honor him for his integrity as a scientist and his hardihood in maintaining it, which was worthy of our race in its prime, but is unlikely to be often emulated in our decadence.
According to the review, his posthumous book is a miscellany and includes his "behind-the-scenes account of this investigation," and a moving tribute to his first wife, whom he married in his early youth, loved deeply, and lost after five years. A rational man, he bore the grievous loss without drugging himself with opiate fancies that ghosts can transcend reality.
This article originally appeared in Liberty Bell magazine, published monthly by George P. Dietz from September 1973 to February 1999. For reprint information please write to Liberty Bell Publications, Post Office Box 21, Reedy WV 25270 USA.
Copyright ©2001 Kevin Alfred Strom. Back to Revilo P. Oliver Index