I was too sick yesterday to invoke my annual curse on Columbus.  But in my fever, I still wondered: How did this awful conqueror and slaver ever become an icon of “Western civilization“?  Every society has such men to offer.   You’d think that defenders of Western civ would point to uniquely Western heroes – the kind of notables that other civilizations conspicuously underproduced: defenders of human rights, questioners of authority, scientists, and the like.

Question: If we were going to have a holiday for the greatest beacon of Western civ, who’d be in the running – and who’d deserve an annual day of remembrance?

P.S. I suggest 50% weight for accomplishment, and 50% weight for clean hands.