Good News in History, May 23

Good News in History, May 23

Tommy-album-cover-The_WhoOn this day 47 years ago, The Who released the first rock opera, Tommy, about a “deaf, dumb and blind kid” who “played a mean pinball,” a double album, later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame that sold more than 20 million copies. Listen to Pinball Wizard… (1969)

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • Canada’s North West Mounted Police force was established (1873)
  • The first version of the Java programming language was released, one of the most popular languages in use today (1995)
  • Mohammad Khatami, a moderate interested in cultural and governmental exchange with the US, was elected President of Iran heavily favored by women and young people (1997)
  • The Good Friday Peace Agreement passed in a referendum with three-quarters of the Northern Ireland people voting ‘yes’ to end decades of bloodshed (1998)
  • The Sunfull movement of positive encouragement on social media began in South Korea (2007)
  • Following the overthrow of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, Egypt held the Arab world’s first competitive presidential vote (2012)
  • The Boy Scouts of America’s National Council of 1232 delegates voted overwhelmingly (61 percent) to end its ban on gay youth membership (2013)
  • Ireland became the first country Saturday to legalize same-sex marriage by national referendum (2015)

simon_bolivarAnd on this day in 1813, South American revolutionary leader Simón Bolívar entered Mérida, leading the invasion of Venezuela, and is proclaimed El Libertador (“The Liberator”). Credited with leading the fight for independence in areas of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama and Bolivia, he is revered as a hero in these countries and throughout much of Latin America. A great admirer of the American Revolution (and a critic of the French Revolution), Bolívar described himself in his many letters as a classical “liberal” and defender of the free market economic system.

Among the books he traveled with when he wrote the Bolivian Constitution were Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws and Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Bolívar’s many speeches and writings reveal him to be an adherent of limited government, the separation of powers, freedom of religion, property rights, and the rule of law.

On his deathbed, Bolivar asked his aide-de-camp, General Daniel Florencio O’Leary to burn the extensive archive of his writings, letters, and speeches. O’Leary disobeyed the order and his writings survived, providing historians with a vast wealth of information about Bolivar’s classical liberal philosophy and thought.