Reason Writers Around Town: Nick Gillespie on Joseph Priestley, The Invention of Air, and Why America Should Look to an 18th-Century Scientist for Inspiration
Writing in The New York Post about a new biography of Joseph Priestley, the 18th-century scientist credited with isolating oxygen, creating Unitarianism, and influencing Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, Nick Gillespie argues:
We live in troubling times, filled with signs of a great economic apocalypse, politicized science on topics from birth control to climate change and religious zealots who kill innocents rather than live peacefully with them. This is exactly the moment to learn from Priestley, who survived riots, threats of prosecution, and other hardships and yet never doubted that "the world was headed naturally toward an increase in liberty and understanding." Ironically, The Invention of Air underscores that there is nothing natural about progress and liberty, each of which must be fought for and defended every single day by visionary individuals.