Thomas HobbesBooker T. Washington was born on this day in 1856. Food safety scientist and advocate Samuel Cate Prescott was born in 1872. We have a bunch of actors: Walter Huston (1883); Spencer Tracy (1900); Melvyn Douglas (1901); Bette Davis (1908); Gregory Peck (1916); Nigel Hawthorne (1929); and Frank Gorshin (1933). And the great lecturer Lord Buckley was born in 1906.

The great independent filmmaker Roger Corman is 87 today. Colin Powell is 76. Just a note about the general: I will have difficulty ever forgiving him for Iraq, but I certainly will never forgive him if he continues to not admit his sins. The director of The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, Peter Greenaway is 71. And Max Gail, Wojciehowicz on Barney Miller, is 70.

The day, however, belongs to Thomas Hobbes who was born this day in 1588. He was not exactly a modern liberal, but he was far ahead of his time. What's more, 200 years before the founding of the United States, he was working out a lot of the basics of liberal political philosophy. He helped make us what we are today—I mean that in a good way.

Happy birthday Thomas Hobbes!