Manifest Density

SIC, y’all–I really did mean density there, not destiny.

In the famous 1872 allegorical painting American Progress, John Gast portrays Lady Columbia floating above the covered wagons and the settlers trudging westward. The ethereal LC carries a textbook, which seems to suggest an understanding that progress of any kind is enabled by an educated citizenry.

The notion of a guiding destiny, even with twice the validity, would have none at all. But density? 


The fact that there are still 40% of our countrymen and women who approve of the UPOTUS (UNpresident of the US) suggests that Lady Columbia would have been better off schlepping a lunch instead of that unused so useless old book.

Thanks to my friends at the Online Etymology Dictionary for this:

…density is from the early 15th century, derived from Middle French dense, and directly from Latin densus “thick, crowded; cloudy.” The sense of “stupid” is first recorded in 1822, fifty years before Lady Columbia took flight.

Maybe this was all just a misprint, copied again and again, and it was after all density that would be made abundantly manifest, committed as we clearly weren’t to education for all.


…speaking of misprints, was it DIMocracy we were trying to make the world safe for?

I’m thinking that The Great Nations of Europe, Maestro Rand’s historical sketch, outlines the prequel a little more realistically than American Progress does the next episode.

Now, maybe it’s not a bug from out of one of those “shithole” countries that gets us. But there seems little question that the manifest density at the highest levels of national leadership has alarmed & alienated our friends, energized & encouraged our enemies.