Government Murdered Rail at your Expense

Rail Baron

Your federal government is in the process of agreeing to spend at least $715 billion and as much as $3.5 trillion on infrastructure expenses. Why? Our roads, bridges, and airports are decaying. Government built a great majority of these, largely in order to promote car and airplane travel.

This enormous expense falls on taxpayers and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It is not just federal money but also an enormous portion of state and local expenditures. Roads and airports will never pay for themselves.

Would you like to know a form of transportation that, up until government got involved, did pay for itself? Rail.

Let’s find my Time Travel Hat and get this rant rolling!

Early Rail in the United States

Where is that thing? It’s never where I left it. Freezer? Nope. Under the bed? Nope. Ah, there it is, my Yadier Molina bobblehead put it on for some reason. All right, plop it on, spin three times, whoosh, bang and where do I find myself?

Why, it’s the nineteenth century, 1815 to be exact, as I note on a local broadsheet. A fellow named John Stevens just got a charter for the New Jersey Railroad, the first of its kind in the United States.

Spinning again, hat taking control on its own. Dizzy, fuzzy, looking around, where am I now? Trains, trains, everywhere! There are 17,800 freight locomotives carrying 23,600 tons of freight, and 22,200 passenger and it’s 1880 a mere sixty-five years since the first rail lines emerged.

How did all this expansion happen? Largely with capitalistic investment which exploded after the Civil War where the North’s superior rail network proved integral to victory. It also must be noted much of this expansion came with the racial exploitation of Chinese laborers brought to the United States expressly for this purpose.

Light Rail and Trolleys

It’s not just trains carrying passengers from one part of the country to the other but the major metropolises are building light rail systems. My hometown of St. Louis sported a fantastic trolley system that moved willing passengers for years.

Such light rail and trolley systems still exist today but greatly reduced from their prime. In New York, it is possible, and frankly preferable, to travel almost exclusively using the subway system which is the largest remaining in the United States.

The End of Passenger Rail

Gasp. Third trip and I’m about wiped out but where am I now? It’s the Turn of the Century, the Twentieth that is. It’s been a bit of a Boom-and-Bust business cycle for the rail industry but we now have 254,037 miles of track and it’s all downhill from here.

What happened? Trains work extremely well but the passenger rail system began dying for some reason. The government got overly involved is what happened.

The Federal Air Road Act of 1916 funneled $75 million tax-dollars into building roads and airports, the first of many such expenditures that continue to this day. The United States Railroad Administration nationalized the entire rail system in December of 1917.

The passenger rail system just could not compete with this enormous influx of federal, state, and local dollars designed to encourage air and car travel. It’s not really important as to why the government felt such transportation superior. There were reasons, some of them even good reason.

The Result

The passenger rail system largely died. Cars with their necessary roads and planes with their required airports took over. All built and maintained largely by tax dollars. That’s why we must spend trillions of dollars to support the crumbling infrastructure that would largely not exist if government hadn’t gotten involved.

It’s impossible to determine with any assurance what would have happened. Passenger rail was killed, that is where we find ourselves. I think it’s not farfetched to imagine a greatly expanded rail network covering much of the country by now, but that’s speculation.

The Solution

How do we fix this mess? It took us over a hundred years to get here so there is no easy solution. People are used to cars and planes. We have an enormous infrastructure of roads and airports that cannot, and should not, be dismantled. Cars will always have a place, as will planes; they are useful but capitalistic economics should drive their future.

We need to phase out tax-support for roads and planes in slow and cautious steps. Let entrepreneurs start new rail transport systems, small at first surely. Money is to be made and people want to make it.

Maybe it will take another hundred years to establish a proper equilibrium between trains, cars, and planes. One that is driven by need and profit, not by government interference. Let’s start that journey today.

Tom Liberman

The Generational Misogyny of Sean Connery

Sean Connery

Sean Connery died earlier this week and while tributes poured in from many sources one of my social media friends brought my attention to his opinion on striking women. Connery felt it perfectly acceptable to hit a woman if she was being annoying. Sean Connery was 90 years old when he died and that means he grew up in the 1930s and 1940s. The general misogyny of the United States during this period is something people seem to have forgotten.

During that era the first women voted in the United States. Women didn’t serve on juries in many states and Mississippi was the last to allow them to do so starting in 1968. The first woman elected as a judge in the United States didn’t happen until 1920. I could go on but I won’t. When Sean Connery was a boy, women were largely second-class citizens, beholden to their husbands, commanded by religion to obey, with fewer legal rights than men.

This is the era of Sean Connery and when he said it was perfectly acceptable to hit a woman if she was being annoying, he was speaking for the majority. I don’t write this to absolve him of blame for this misogynistic opinion, I write it to showcase how little removed we are from such a world. It seems to me women in the United States largely forget their gender was, until relatively recently, not considered legally competent to make their own decisions in life. They were barred from everyday practices men enjoy.

This casual and systemic misogyny has a number of sources, not least of which are religious texts regarding adultery, rape, and other such decrees. I’m an Atheist because I am convinced there is no creator deity but I despise religious doctrine in no small part in regards to its views about women. I don’t want to go too far in that tangent so I’ll get back to my point.

The normal, systemic, acceptable view of women being nothing more than chattel for men is not as far removed as you might delude yourself into thinking. Search through your social media with due diligence and you will find plenty of people who imagine women must be subservient to men, they must be modest, they must follow religious laws, they must bow, they must whimper, they must beg, they must trust men to make decisions for them. Sean Connery is dead but his world is not gone, it lurks, waiting, hoping for a return.

Stand on guard, my friends, do not forget. An individual must decide the path of her life. Those that wish to control, to degrade, to inflict violence and enforce their will, they are the enemy.

Tom Liberman

A Failure of Constitutional Obligation

Constitutional Obligation

There is much in the news today about the Constitutional Obligation of the Senate to consider a Supreme Court nomination from the President of the United States. It is important to understand this is a Constitutional Obligation and when Senator Mitch McConnell failed to fulfill that duty upon the death of Justice Scalia in 2016 the entire Supreme Court became unconstitutional. Every decision made by the court from that point forward has no legal standing.

When McConnell made the decision to ignore his constitutional obligation, he willingly poisoned the entire judicial branch of the United States. I interpret this as an attempt to destroy the United States as a whole and such falls clearly under Section 3 of Article Three of the Constitution of the United States. Every time McConnell states he has a constitutional obligation to appoint a Supreme Court Justice to the fill the vacancy of Justice Ginsburg he admits his guilt in the previous appointment. He is, without question, guilty and should face punishment as described in that section.

Every decision made by the court since that failure of constitutional obligation is tainted. The entire court is invalidated by the decision McConnell made. For a while I posited if Justice Gorsuch were to resign and another judge appointed in his place, it would rectify the problem. With the current nomination process ongoing, I see this was a false hope. This version of the Supreme Court, in place and serving ably since 1790, is forever invalid. The situation is far worse than that, the entire judicial branch is poisoned by the fruit from that tree.

Every ruling of the Supreme Court since 2016 is invalid and every precedent used from those decision is likewise meaningless. We cannot fix the situation by appointing another justice. If an umpire makes a bad call on the first pitch of an at bat, it cannot be resolved by making a reverse call on the fourth pitch. What is done, is done. The Supreme Court as we know it cannot be fixed through normal processes.

I’m quite aware my point here is radical to the extreme. There is no Rule of Law and we might as well accept such. The United States is currently a lawless country and until a new Supreme Court is installed, it will remain that way.

We must look to the Judiciary Act of 1789 to proceed. Every Supreme Court justice must step down and be replaced, immediately. President Washington acted in the interest of the country by appointing six justices from different regions of the nation with differing views, I suspect President Trump is incapable of such but I offer him, or his successor, and the United States Senate the opportunity to fulfill their constitutional obligation.

It is also important to understand the current situation is the outcome of the politicization of the Supreme Court for which both Democrats and Republicans are to be blamed. The Founding Fathers established separate but equal branches for a reason and this is an example of why they did so.

Can we appoint new Justices in an apolitical way? I doubt it, but it is the only way forward. Everything else points to the end of the Republic. If the Supreme Court becomes an extension of the Legislative Branch which has become an extension of the Executive Branch, there is no separation of powers, and there is no Republic. That is where we currently stand.

Tom Liberman

The Hays Code and its Effect on Strong Women in Hollywood

Strong Women in Hollywood

Way back in 1934 Hollywood Instituted the Hays Code which had a deleterious effect on the portrayal of Strong Women in Hollywood that seems to have lasted almost to present times. A while back, I wrote about the demise of the Hays Code but I didn’t examine its long-lasting negative impact on strong women at that time. My thoughts on the Hays Code and its correlation with the lack of strong women in Hollywood came to my attention last night when I was watched a Pre-Code movie called The Silver Cord.

In the Silver Cord a woman scientist, portrayed magnificently by Irene Dunn, is married to a young architect. He is offered a job at a prestigious New York architectural firm. She is, from the first moments of the film, a strong woman. She is a biologist working in a lab and clearly skilled and intelligent. When she makes it clear she will accompany her husband to New York and take a position at a laboratory that offered her a position some time ago, her boss laments her leaving but tells her she is the sort of woman who must have both a career and a marriage, that it is not a choice of one or the other.

I don’t want to get too wrapped up in the plot of the movie and how Christine, Dunn’s character, proves time and time again to be not only a strong woman but also a woman. She likes being married and very much cherishes the idea of motherhood. This is the sort of character long absent in Hollywood. She is not just a stereotypical male protagonist being portrayed by a female actor but she is a strong woman in every sense of the word.

Did the Hays Code destroy this sort of portrayal of women? It’s hard to argue against the idea. In 1933 a woman was being portrayed as a scientist, a wife, and a potential mother. She stands up to her husband and tells him if he cannot cut the Silver Cord of his overbearing mother, she will move on without him. That she cannot stand to see his career and life stifled, that is not the sort of man she can tolerate. Her soliloquy is bold, strong, and independent.

It was claimed the Hays Code was implemented to protect We the People from the degenerate influence of movies but one suspects it was fashioned, part and parcel, from the fear of white men that ideas, good ideas, were promulgating and influencing us. How often do we see that same mantra when it comes to censorship? We must be protected, like children, by the politicians.

If the Hays Code had not existed, how many movies portraying strong women might have been made in the ensuing eighty years? We will never know. We can only see the damage such paternalistic rules engender.

The Hays Code did far more damage than anyone can really calculate. Generations of strong women were not shown examples that might have fundamentally altered their lives. Generations of men did not learn of the sort of woman who makes a perfect and equal companion. What a terrible crime.

Tom Liberman

Why it is not a Good Idea to Prosecute Political Foes

Prosecute Political Foes

There is a mood among Democrats to prosecute President Trump after he leaves office for activities which they deem illegal. I want to be clear, it is a terrible idea to prosecute political foes. This very activity brought about the end of the Roman Republic and it’s quite easy to understand why.

Julius Caesar was governor of Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy), Illyricum (southeastern Europe), and Transalpine Gaul (southern France) for a term of five years. During this time, he engaged in enormous conquest and, almost certainly, illegal behavior. After his term of five years ended, he was ordered to return to Rome, ostensibly to face charges for his crimes while governor.

Without political power, Caesar was largely left with two choices. He could submit to the new government and almost certainly be imprisoned if not executed and have his money taken from him. His other option was to take dictatorial power for himself to avoid these consequences. He chose the latter. It’s difficult to blame him for doing so.

It is almost certain President Trump has committed any number of crimes while in office, he seems to think any law that thwarts his fickle mood of the moment is something to be ignored. Many of his political allies and appointments are equally cavalier with the rule of law. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if documents of his activities were obtained, they would show a penchant for illegal activity. A conviction is all but assured. Many of his allies would also end up in prison and lose their riches.

Naturally, they don’t want this to happen and would resort to whatever means required to prevent it from happening, as did Caesar. Their loyal supporters would likely behave with the same goals in mind.

How do we prevent this? Simply don’t prosecute political foes for their oft-illegal activities after they leave office. Let them go on about their way as much as you hate to see them “getting away” with criminal activity.

It seems to me to be unnecessary to remind supporters of Trump their own culpability in the current Democratic led prosecute political foes fervor but I suspect I must. The entire “Lock Her Up” movement and attempts to criminally prosecute Obama and Clinton allies is part and parcel of the reason Democrats are so riled up. In other words, look in the mirror, bitches.

We have a system in the United States which allows us to rid ourselves of politicians we don’t like. It’s called an election. Let’s focus on that.

Tom Liberman

Jack the Ripper and Our Love of Closure

 Jack the Ripper

I see headlines all over the news about how Jack the Ripper has finally been conclusively identified. I heard radio talk show hosts talking about how wonderful it was that we finally knew Jack the Ripper identity. I was immediately skeptical but I would guess the majority of people were not so. I just read a wonderfully written article from Ars Technica indicating my skepticism was well-founded. Exceptionally good work, Jennifer Ouellette!

In any case, I leave it to you to read the article yourself and come to a conclusion. I don’t really want to talk about the guilt or innocence of Aaron Kosminski but instead the seemingly inherent human desire for closure. People want closure and, to a large degree, don’t really seem to care if it comes at the expense of critical thinking. Judging by what I’ve heard and read in media articles most people are thrilled to know that a conclusive result has been determined in the Jack the Ripper murders. Spoiler if you didn’t read the article, the case is far from closed.

Why do people care? The murders happened a hundred and thirty years ago. Solving the murders isn’t going to help or hurt anyone in any way. The descendants of victims are not going have their lives changed in any way. The descendants of the supposed murderer, who was a prime suspect to begin with, are not going to be arrested or punished. Yet, it’s clear to me, people are absolutely giddy with the idea that Jack the Ripper has been identified. Despite such knowledge having no practical effect.

I think the underlying cause is the satisfaction we get at a job well done, whether it is solving a murder or mowing the grass just right. Humans enjoy accomplishment and the identification of Jack the Ripper is just that. Not directly for me, not directly for anyone reading the article, but indirectly, very indirectly for people as a group. The case remains in the public conscious all these years later and there is a satisfaction derived from solving it.

I understand why people are happy with the news but I warn you to be aware of this human tendency and take it into account. Yes, you would be happy to know that Jack the Ripper has been identified but take into account you want this outcome. Be skeptical of people who understand human nature, in this case the people who released this supposedly conclusive proof. They are taking advantage of your desire to see something come to completion. The evidence is terrible and result is largely unsupportable. You’ve been duped.

In conclusion, be skeptical and do your research, particularly when it comes to something you want to believe.

Tom Liberman

Trump and his View of the Civil War and Andrew Jackson

trump jackson civil warPresident Trump is of the opinion if Andrew Jackson was President of the United States around the time of the Civil War that he might have prevented it from occurring at all. It’s an interesting premise in a number of way.

Firstly, Jackson actually was president near the time of the Civil War. He left office only twenty-four years before hostilities broke out and the long simmering dispute was in full bloom during his term. While president, Jackson presided over what is called the Nullification Crisis. Jackson’s actions all but caused the Civil War to start earlier.

Legislators in South Carolina believed federal tariff laws were hurting the state’s economy. They passed legislation that essentially said laws created by Congress could be nullified by the states. Jackson sent in troops and eventually South Carolina, after some negotiating, backed down.

I suspect when Trump makes the suggestion that Jackson would have prevented the Civil War, he is referencing the Nullification Crisis and the resolution therein. It’s an interesting history lesson in what can happen in a short period of time. The twenty-four years that elapsed after the crisis and the beginning of the Civil War were dramatic.

The two presidents that preceded Lincoln were Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan. Both men knew the terrible danger of Civil War and did their best to appease the southern states and avoid the calamity. It is generally thought their inaction led to the conflict because it emboldened the southern states. They believed the northern states would never allow the country to go to war over the question of slavery.

Lincoln, on the other hand, was far more of a Jacksonian. He called the bluff of the southern states but, unlike at the time of Jackson, these states were now ready to push the issue. Thus, the Civil War began.

When Jackson made his stand, the circumstances were far different from the situation Lincoln found himself in. The lesson is important. We can learn from history but situations change. An action that led to one particular outcome yesterday can lead to an entirely different one tomorrow.

There is an apt idiom stating: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The idea is that someone who knows nothing about an issue generally does not attempt to fix a perceived problem. On the other hand, someone who has a small amount of knowledge might be willing to make a fix, but because their information is limited; that solution causes enormous problems.

Issues are enormously complex and fixes difficult. There is often no perfect solution to a particular problem. In the case of the Civil War, the two paths were both rather awful. One was the Civil War and the other was to continue to allow the abomination of slavery along with permitting the southern states inordinate power in comparison to their voting bloc.

The Civil War, it’s causes, and the events leading up to it are part of a complex tapestry that is not particular easy to piece together. What President Trump seems to be saying is that Jackson could have bluffed the south away from the issue of slavery. That by threatening them with war, they would have voluntarily abolished the peculiar institution. That is an example of making statements with little understanding of the issues involved.

That being said, his admiration of Jackson’s forthright style has merit. Someone should tell him that Lincoln was cut from the same cloth. That’s why the Civil War happened when it did, because Lincoln was behaving just like Jackson.

Tom Liberman

Masada Admirable Rebels or Foolish Martyrs?

masada-fortressAlmost two thousand years ago Roman soldiers besieged Masada which was held by a splinter group of Jewish people called Sicarii. This group strongly opposed Roman occupation of Judea and carried out a terrorist campaign to prosecute their beliefs.

Eventually less than a thousand of them took refuge in Masada where they held out for a few months before Roman engineers finished a ramp into the fortress. When the Romans finally arrived, they found the Sicarii had all committed suicide rather than be captured.

This event has come to be celebrated as symbol of Jewish heroism against overwhelming odds although another opinion is that it was simply a group of violent extremists who forced the Romans into drastic action. That the Sicarii brought about their own deaths because they refused to accept reality and engaged in a series of assassination against not only the Romans but any residents of Judea who they deemed sympathizers.

Which was it? Heroic martyrs or violent extremists? I think the answer to that question contains a great deal of value to the modern world. I won’t keep you in suspense. It’s apparent to me the Sicarii were violent, murdering, extremists tied to a hopeless position and willing to drag down anyone who opposed them.

The Roman occupation of Judea was generally, as were many Roman conquests, enlightened. The Romans brought their laws, clean water, and other benefits with them. This was one of the main reasons they were able to conquer much of the world. The daily lives of the average person improved under Roman rule as compared to the previous government.

I’m not saying it was all wonderful for everyone. Certainly, the leaders of the former regime often met gruesome fates or at least lost their power and prestige.

The reason I mention this is because the modern-day equivalent to the Sicarii are radical Islamic terrorist. The people who are carrying out the most horrific and terrible violence against innocent civilians would actually be far better off under the rule of those who they see as invaders. They live under despotic, theocratic rulers who allow them very little freedom and restrict their general well-being in any number of ways.

The terrorists are essentially fighting to preserve their own misery. As individuals, they have committed to a particular side and refuse to compromise in any way or even accept the fact their leaders are far from ideal.

While the terrorists are somewhat responsible for their own circumstances there are other culprits. The western world spent many years exploiting these nations for their mineral resources while propping up said brutal dictators. We are still doing so.

I think it’s important to understand that we can only be responsible for own behavior. We can’t tell a terrorist to stop her or his suicidal course. When we seek out and kill terrorists, when we support brutal dictators, when we cause terrible hardships through economic sanctions, we only push more and more of the population to terrorism. We can only control our own actions.

That’s a little bit off topic as to my point today. I’m saying that we all have choices in life. We should make decisions that are going to be in our long-term benefit. The Sicarii chose a path that led to their own destruction and did not benefit their nation in any way. Modern-day terrorists are doing the same thing.

The United States is making choices that create far more terrorists than we kill and has been doing so for some time.

What choices are you making?

Tom Liberman

Pre-Industrial to Industrial to Information

Industrial-revolutionI’ve seen quite a bit of debate both in person and online about the idea of Protectionism and why we either need to avoid it or embrace it. I find that people who believe one side of the argument seem to be largely immune to attempts to convince them otherwise. As you might imagine much of this debate is fueled by the current political climate in the United States.

President Trump is a strong protectionist. He believes that we must protect our workers from foreign depredation. On the other hand we have Libertarians like myself who believe in Free Trade. What I’d like to do today is not argue with you but ask you to argue my point. Perhaps no one will take me up on it, my blog viewership is somewhat short of the millions. However, perhaps a few people who believe in the Protectionist mantra will be willing to step forward.

So here we go.

Imagine that is not 2017 but in fact it is 1760. Before even the United States existed as a free nation.

Our economy is based almost completely on Pre-Industrial economics. Agriculture is the primary form of employment and wealth generation, as it has been for tens of thousands of years. People are born, live, and die all within fifty miles of a single location. On the horizon is a frightening thing. The Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution will destroy virtually every single job that exists today. I am a precursor of the Luddites. I believe this new way of doing things will destroy my family and my life. I will no longer be able to work, to make money. Tell me why I should embrace textile manufacturing, metallurgy, steam power, machine tools, chemicals, cement (my job is a brick layer), gas lighting, glass making, paper machines, automated agriculture, mining, canals, roads, railways.

These things will destroy my family. My children will work in a factory instead of providing subsistence farming at home. I don’t know the skills required to live in this coming world.

I will suffer. I will not have a job. You, the government, must protect me and my job from this new way of doing things. I don’t know how to write code, I mean fix a steam engine. Explain to me how it could possible be to my benefit, to my nation’s benefit, to the world’s benefit to move from pre-industrial to industrial. Why should we not fight this?


Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

Christmas Truce a Libertarian Anthem


Ten million men died. Another twenty-seven million were injured or went missing. World War I. In the midst of this unfathomable horror came the Christmas Truce.

Perhaps it was humanity. Maybe just decency. Some call it a miracle. I say, call it what you will. I call it The Libertarian Holiday. This was a moment in history in which men of different nations, for a brief moment, embraced the world as it would be under a Libertarian Utopia.

That moment. Those men, few if any are still alive, represent everything for which I stand. And they represent it in a way, under circumstances, under insanity, which I will never know.

Stop the Killing

These men decided to stop killing each other. They decided to cross over lines and exchange gifts. To tell each other about themselves. To share common ground beyond the vile Nation State. Beyond the politicians who would have them hate and kill one another. To find that which they shared.

And that is everything I attempt to discuss in my blogs and my novels. Why do Republicans hate Democrats? Why do Christians hate Muslims? I don’t think it’s about politics. About religion. It’s about those who fear people of like interests enjoying each other’s company despite artificial divides. It’s about two people who share an interest. Dungeons and Dragons. Model Trains. Nothing else matters.

Worry less about your nation. Concern yourself less with your religion. Don’t get hung up on your political party. Spend time with those who enjoy doing the same thing as you. That is all. That is the Libertarian Utopia.

Frightened Leaders

After the Christmas Truce of 1914 the powers that were forbade it. They issued strict orders that it should not occur again. The powers that be are your enemy. Those who share your interests are your allies. It matters nothing nation, religion, political party.

Those who tell you differently are manipulating you. Using you. Twisting you to their own ends. Be free, my brothers and sisters. Become free.

Stay free. Be a Libertarian.

December 25th. Christmas to you. Freedom to me.

Tom Liberman

Great Pyramid of Giza and Critical Thinking

Great_Pyramid_DiagramThe pyramids of Egypt are in the news lately for a couple of reasons and it gives me the opportunity to discuss the nature of critical thinking. Of course I’ll take it!

The first story involves a new chamber being found in the tomb of Tutankahmun.

The second story involves presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson’s assertion that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built as a grain silo.

Another group of stories involves how it is impossible for the pyramids to have been built with the technology of the time. I addressed this issue in another blog so I’ll leave it alone today.

Finally is the twenty year timeline for building the pyramids themselves which is based upon certain assumptions.

The first story proudly declares that a new, hidden region was found in the burial chamber of Tutankahmun.

When I finally got around to reading the story I discovered that no such new chamber has been found at all. What they do is scan the region for temperature. An area where the temperature is slightly cooler might indicate a draft from a room. It could also indicate some damage to the structure that is letting in air. No one has gone into these areas because to do so would potential destroy them. It’s a lot of speculation and, frankly, I’m not convinced. It seems more likely to me that the cool areas are caused by structural flaws than hidden chambers, particularly because any number of these were found in the analysis.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there are many hidden passages in the burial region. It just seems to me that it’s best to go with the most logical explanation before leaping to the most sensational conclusion. That’s critical thinking.

This, naturally, leads me to the rather bizarre assertion by Carson that the Great Pyramid of Giza was a grain silo. I’ve included a diagram of the pyramid to illustrate why this conclusion is so unlikely. The grain silo explanation has to do with a biblical story about Joseph warning Pharoah (Genesis 41 ESV) that seven good years would be followed by seven lean years and thus grain should be stored away.

What is called the main shaft of the pyramid, which leads to the burial chambers, is basically equivalent in dimensions to a silo. However, building a grain silo of those dimensions would have been trivial to the people that built the Great Pyramid. One look at the diagram above makes it obvious that it was not designed to store grain. Only someone who desperately wanted to come to the grain silo conclusion could possibly think otherwise. This is called a Cherry Picking fallacy. From what I’ve seen of Carson this fallacy seems to largely determine his entire thought process.

Finally, as to the twenty year time scale on the Great Pyramid of Giza. This is based on three facts.

  1. Workers left a mark in an interior chamber with their name on it and the name of Pharaoh Khufu.
  2. Khufu reigned for 23 years. This is disputed.
  3. The mummification process took some 70 days to complete.

From these three facts Egyptologists assume Khufu started the Great Pyramid upon ascending to the throne and that the completion of the pyramid coincided with his death.

I find these conclusion dubious. Khufu could have died long before the Great Pyramid was completed and been stored away until then. His reign could have been much longer than twenty years, some sources put it at over sixty.

The most logical conclusion I can draw is that some other Pharaoh started the pyramid but it was finished during Khufu’s reign and he simply usurped its use for himself.

Do we know for certain? No. But why not go with the most apparent conclusion first? Why leap to an unlikely scenario?

Tell me where my critical thinking skills have failed me in the comments!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn