Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Big government. (A screed on American politics.)

Visiting Rome it's hard not to think of the anti-government, tea-partiers and "libertarians" (as if anyone is against liberty) as the ancient equivalents of the Goths, Ostrogoths and Visigoths.

All over Rome are evidence of the works of Big Government. The Appian Way, the best and perhaps most important road ever built. The Colosseum. The Baths of Caracalla. All these works were civilizing. They brought trade, entertainment and social 'intercourse' and refinement to a busy and bustling world.

By the time the 6th Century AD rolled around, Rome's armies were extended around the world and the various Goths decided these things were no longer needed. The people were exhausted. Exhausted by taxes, venal politicians and perpetual wars for perpetual peace.

They didn't see it coming but the linchpins of civilization as noted above, were dismantled. Marble was carted away. Buildings great and small fell into disrepair and ruin.

Of course this is a simplification. But the next time you hear a Palin or a Paul or a Pawlenty talk about dismantling the Federal control of money, or return to the gold standard, or dismantling our social-welfare system (whatever remains of it) think of unibrowed invaders, in Palin's case from the untamed north.

These are people who don't understand art, beauty, improvement and liberal ideas like helping your neighbor. They are -oths.


Sean Peake said...

I love reading about your travels. I must, however, disagree with your assessment of big government in Rome. Who actually built all those magnificent structures?
It's one thing to marvel at all the marble, but perhaps you should compare the lives of those who lived under the Coliseum with those who sat in it. Life was certainly good if you were a free citizen. If you weren't well...

Anonymous said...

The fall of Rome just goes to show you what happens when government abandons the principles that made the country great to overextend itself, succumbing eventually to the conceits of its chauvinism.

Eric said...

“And nobody yet has, nobody yet has explained to the American public what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak and no, not, not real enthused about what it is that that’s being done on a national level and from DC in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt. And, in these areas that are so volatile right now, because obviously it’s not just Egypt but the other countries too where we are seeing uprisings, we know that now more than ever, we need strength and sound mind there in the White House. We need to know what it is that America stands for so we know who it is that America will stand with. And, we do not have all that information yet.” -- Sarah Palin