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Reason_Being

most postively and negatively influential people in history

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Challenge: compile a top 10 list of the most positively influential people in history, and a top 10 most negatively influential people in history.

By "most influential people" I mean those whose ideas and/or actions have inspired the most significant cultural/intellectual movements on the largest scale. The value of his ideas and actions (which can be either positive or negative, determining which list the person belongs to), the number of people on which they had an effect, and the significance of the application of the his ideas are the main criteria in determining someone to be the "most influential."

I don't yet know how my lists would look, but I have decided on who I would pick for #1 on both lists.

Most positively influential: Aristotle

Most negatively influenial: Jesus Christ

Agree/disagree? Show me your lists.

Edited by Reason_Being

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Most Negative

Plato

Jesus Christ

The Prophet Mohammed

Ibn Ghazali

Timur

Kant

Marx

Lenin

Hitler

FDR

Most Positive

Aristotle

Avincina

Thomas Aquinas

John Locke

Thomas Paine

Thomas Jefferson

George Washington

W.T. Sherman

Abraham Lincoln

Ayn Rand

I list Plato ahead of Jesus because Jesus didn't really innovate anything.. Christianity is just Platonism stripped of the positive Greek aspects. Christianity did take down the Roman Empire and cause untold destruction, so I list him second. Likewise with Mohammed: not an innovator, but still very bad. Ibn Ghazali deserves a special place in hell for ending the "Golden Age of Islam" which was the Aristotolian tradition rescued by Avincina. If Ghazali hadn't done that the Middle East would probably have produced the John Lockes and Thomas Jeffersons, instead of depending on the west to miraculously save itself from the Dark Ages. Thomas Aquinas deserves credit for ending the Dark Ages, and the rest should be self-explanatory.

Edited by SkyTrooper

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Thank you. I like a lot of your choices but I would not put Ayn Rand on the list. While her works are very valuable, I think there are plenty of people who have had a larger influence. Some names that come to mind are: Einstein, Newton, Victoria, Churchhill and Da Vinci. Rand could very well go down as one of the most influential figures at some point in the future, but currently she's largely overshadowed in mainstream politics by the Keynesians, socialists, and the religious, and has not yet been properly received by academia. All this must change before I would consider her as one of the most influential people of all time.

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Thank you. I like a lot of your choices but I would not put Ayn Rand on the list. While her works are very valuable, I think there are plenty of people who have had a larger influence.

I tend to agree. I'd put her high up on a list of people I wish had been influential. But not yet on a list of people who actually have been influential. I once heard John Lewis state that as of today, Objectivism wouldn't even rate a footnote in some future history book written about our times. And I am forced to agree.

Hopefully a century from now, this will have changed.

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Negative:

  • Mohammed
  • St Paul
  • Jesus
  • Marx
  • Plato
  • Stalin
  • Kant
  • Isaac Newton
  • Buddha
  • Constantine

Positive:

  • Aristotle
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Darwin
  • Ben Franklin
  • Adam Smith
  • Locke
  • Churchill
  • Voltaire
  • Gutenberg
  • Columbus

Just off the top of my head and as a jumping off point for dioscussion. I must note that Abraham Linmcoln nearly made it onto my list as a NEGATIVE influence - the man suspended habeas corpus, inprisoned protestors, instituted a draft, and was the closest thing the US has ever had to a dictator, but in the end I couldnt really defend his placement in the top 10, he would be in the top 20 I think.

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Negative:

  • Mohammed
  • St Paul
  • Jesus
  • Marx
  • Plato
  • Stalin
  • Kant
  • Isaac Newton
  • Buddha
  • Constantine

Why did you put Newton on your negative list? Do you hate calculus that much? And surely Hitler had a bigger negative influence than Newton.

John Link

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