Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
I learned in school that King Canute (990 – 1035 AD) was the most stupid King in English history (Figure 1). He was so ignorant and arrogant he believed he could stop the tide. World leaders in Paris led by President Obama, who promised to stop sea level rise in his election campaign, are the modern day equivalent of Canute’s mentality.
Later historical research discovered documents that changed the entire story. People believed Canute was the greatest King and capable of doing anything. He obviously was a great King because he realized the limitations of his power and the need to lower people’s expectations. He staged an event to show there were things he could not control. He sat on his throne by the ocean and ordered the tide to stop rising. It is great leaders who know the limits of their power…
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