It all comes down to the so-far, fruitless search for an authenticaly conservative alternative to Romney.

Cain is the latest, and, perhaps. last one. It’s possible he’ll stick, but Republicans are prone to nominate candidates who they’ve seen in prior elections/offices.

If true, then Republicans are like a guy who goes to a dance with a girl he kind of likes. He searches around the entire night for a better looking one, but in the end he leaves with his date.

I must not be as cynical as I thought.

Less than two years ago the Class Act was advertised to reduce the budget deficit by $70 billion. But now it turns out the law was so badly conceived the Obama administration can’t even pretend to implement it.

Conservatives got there pretty quickly by studying the provisions of the bill. Had they read the bill Liberals would have found the math confusing.

I wished I had written the line below:

“In other words, the United States Congress passed, and the president of the United States signed, a piece of politically convenient legislation that was essentially—that is, mathematically, logically—unworkable, and were either too foolish to realize it, or too cynical to care.”


October 12, 2011

Leaving aside the question of whether something like “nation-building” is possible, is it the right objective? Should the objective instead be to build an allied nation or at least an allied entity of some sort? If we built a nation that subsequently opposed us in the world stage would we consider that a success?

Okay, a friend came up with some very interesting theories on how long it took to build Rome. That and my reply:

He wrote:

I think you covered all the main possibilities, but let me suggest a couple other possibilities.

1. Rome could really be understood as Rome when it became distinct from every other concentrated population that enjoyed division of labor. The distinguishing features – that which allowed the Romans to believe they were superior — were the Cloaca Maxima (Greatest Sewer) and the aqueducts. With abundant clean water running in for drinking and bathing and flushing the sewerage out, the Romans could not only sustain greater populations than anywhere else, but they believed in the own exceptionality. Kinda like New Yorkers. The Cloaca Maxima may have been finished in 600 BC, but that was really just to drain the lowlands among the hills (the Suburra). The first aqueduct (Aqua Appia) was finished in 312 BC, and so, but that measure, Rome was built in 441 years.

2. I once took a multi-disciplinary course combining literature, geography, history, and probably some other things I didn’t even notice. A theory of imagined landscapes was introduced. To summarize it to the point of disservice, the theory suggests that locations become places when people begin to agree on their identities. So Chicago might have become Chicago when Carl Sandburg called it the City of Broad Shoulders and Hog Butcher to the World. If this is so, I would say the Rome became Rome when Vergil wrote the Aeneid, grafting it onto the Greco-Ilian tradition. Rome was no longer just the conqueror and exploiter of Greece; it was the offspring of the Greek & Trojan tradition, the exponent of the whole Mediterranean. As Zeus/Jupiter and Hera/Juno made finally made their peace following the fall of Troy and then the death of Dido (Queen of Carthage), so Rome could bring peace (Pax Romana) to the whole human world (albeit by subjugation). Vergil died in 19 BC, intending to continue revisions on the poem. He left orders for it to be burned, but they were disregarded as the poem was good enough for everyone else, if not him. (Frankly, I think the last scene sucks, but I know there’s much debate about that). So if we take the imagined literary landscape theory, Rome took 734 years to build.

Si valetis, valeo.

I replied:

If it is true locations become places when people begin to agree on their identities, then is it also true when people begin to disagree on their identities the locations cease to exist? If so, then you may have identified the Occam’s razor argument for why multiculturalism is self-destructive.

If one of its goal is to promote multiple identities within a society, then won’t the fulfillment of that goal entail the destruction of the society?

Recently, a colleague concluded an email with the statement, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” This led me to ponder how long it took to build Rome.

According to legend the city itself was found in 753 BC by the twins Romulus and Remus. Both raised by a wolf, Romulus became Rome’s first ruler after he prematurely introduced his brother to the Elysian Fields. Had Remus dispatched Romulus, then the City would perhaps, have been named “Reme,” which to my ear doesn’t sound half as good as “Rome.”

The Roman Republic began in 509 BC. So that would be 244 years.

But the founding of the Republic doesn’t really talk about the construction of the city. I’d say Rome could be considered as “built” the day the City Center (Roman Forum) assumed its final shape. This occurred in 29 BC as the Emperor Augustus proclaimed Rome transformed from a city of brick to a city of marble. So, that would be 724 years.

On the other hand the “construction” of Rome could refer to the Empire itself. In that case its “completion” could relate to the time it achieved its maximum extent in terms of territory under its control. This was achieved toward the end of the reign of the Emperor Trajan in 117 AD, or about 869 (adjusting for there not being a year zero) years after the City was founded. See the map below:

And, finally, as I’m sure you all know, the last vestige of the Roman Empire perished on Tuesday, May 29, 1453 when Constantinople was occupied, and the Byzantine Empire ceased to exist, This ultimately doomed my countrymen to live off the money of their more prosperous neighbors to the north; the Northerners having been sufficiently stalwart to later defeat the marauding Turks at the gates of Vienna after having held off the Mongol Horde a few centuries prior.

Thus, the alpha and omega of the empire can be said to have been separated by 2,205 years.

For me I’m going with the empire definition or 869 years.

We are all Individuals!

October 7, 2011