History’s Turning Points: History’s Tricks

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. This series on A Moment in Time examines history’s turning points.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In his first volume of Reason in Common Sense, the Spanish-born Harvard philosopher Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás, more popularly known as George Santayana, was attempting to explain the true nature of progress. He asserted that retentiveness is an essential part of change, bringing something of value from the past. Absent the coach of experience, change, much less progress, cannot lead to improvement in the future. Misquoted and paraphrased in countless ways over the years, his most famous aphorism describes life unprotected by the values of past experience as like unto that among savages where infancy is everlasting. He wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

John Locke – Prophet of Political Freedom – II

Lead:  His political philosophy laid the foundation for modern liberal democracy, but in many ways John Locke helped change the way people think. Some have called him the first modern mind.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Not content to simply absorb the classical education he received at 17th century Westminster School and Oxford University, John Locke embarked upon a life of fruitful inquiry into a wide variety of disciplines. He was interested in medicine, experimental science, philosophy, economics, practical politics, education, language, diplomacy, and religion, in a hungry but not Faustian pursuit of knowledge. In most of these fields he was not an expert, but neither was he an amateur floating from one whim to another.

John Locke – Prophet of Political Freedom – I

Lead: Emerging from the political ferment of the English Civil War, John Locke, one of the seminal thinkers of the 17th century, laid the philosophical basis for liberal representative government.


Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


Content: John Locke was born in 1632 in Pensford, south of Bristol, England. His father, a country attorney, was of puritan inclination and fought in the Civil War on the side of Parliament. This enabled him to send his son to Westminster School where the boy’s superior performance earned him a scholarship at Christ Church College, Oxford. There he also excelled, but found the traditional curriculum tedious and demonstrated early a lifelong eclectic interest in a wide variety of subjects such as empirical science and medicine.