A popular quote of Roosevelt’s is:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
So what does that mean? Ideas don’t matter? (If you think that…then why does Roosevelt judge and measure action by “deeds,” “striving,” “causes,” and “devotion?”) Ideas are for action? Life goes to the living?
Caveat: I’m no fan of Roosevelt, and I don’t like what I know of his political philosophy and economic theory, but this quote makes a good point.
Columbus was such “doer of deeds:” he had defeats and victories, he gave sweat and blood, he knew enthusiasm and devotion, all for a cause. At PowellHistory.com, Mr. Scott Powell posts about a poem which he says “is the closest thing I have ever found to an objective assessment of Columbus’s place in history, and…is beautifully written.”