In a very cheeky installment of Alter-Reviews, Eric Alterman discusses using a time machine to go back and watch a Muddy Watters show. He points out that he would first kill Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. Then he would go back to Florida in 2000 and show the people how to use their voting machines.
I’m in favor of all these efforts. But the whole time machine to kill Hitler idea bugs me. And yes, I know that I have a very typical liberal view of history. I don’t just find the Great Man theory unconvincing; I find it offensive. It only remains today among conservatives who want to think that the rich and powerful really are better than everyone else—that the world would be lost without them.
I wrote my own cheeky letter to Alterman, which I figure he won’t publish, so I’ll do so here:
That last bit is mostly true. I guess I am truly a scientist at heart. When I daydream about time machines, I always imagine going far back in time and seeing what the earth was like. I care about the murder of millions of people, but that’s not where my mind goes. This may also have something to do with all the science fiction I’ve seen and read over the years. And there’s one thing I know: if I killed Hitler, it would change the world and that would mean I (And everyone else!) would never have been born. So that’s kind of a drag.