Mitt Romney, the presumptive 2012 Republican Party presidential candidate, recently invoked the scholarship of UCLA Professor Jared Diamond
while visiting Israel. On July 29, 2012, in a speech at a fundraiser in Jerusalem
, he interpreted Diamond's book Guns, Germs and Steel
as "basically say[ing that] the physical
characteristics of the land account for the differences in the success
of the people that live there." Diamond, winner of Japan's Cosmos
Prize, the National Science Medal, and the Pulitzer Prize, disagreed
with this characterization of his work. In an August 1, 2012, New York Times opinion-editorial entitled "Romney Hasn't Done His Homework,"
Professor Diamond pulled no punches, punctuating his critique of Romney's Weltanschauung
Romney may become our next president. Will he continue to espouse
one-factor explanations for multicausal problems, and fail to understand
history and the modern world? If so, he will preside over a declining
nation squandering its advantages of location and history.
One suspects that Romney may not win Diamond's vote come November.
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