By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Livy on America Today

Representation of the lupercal: Romulus and Re...
Image via Wikipedia
Curiously, the Roman historian Livy, who lived in the first century A.D., wrote about the USA today:


"The subjects to which I would ask each of my readers to devote his earnest attention are these - the life and morals of the community; the men and the qualities by which, through domestic policy and foreign war, dominion was won and extended. Then as the standard of morality gradually lowers, let him follow the decay of the national character, observing how at first it slowly sinks, then slips downward more and more rapidly, and finally begins to plunge into headlong ruin, until he reaches these days, in which we can bear neither our diseases nor their remedies.


There is this exceptionally beneficial and fruitful advantage to be derived from the study of the past, that you see, set in the clear light of historical truth, examples of every possible type. From these you may select for yourself and your country what to imitate, and also what, as being mischievous in its inception and disastrous in its issues, you are to avoid. Unless, however, I am misled by affection for my undertaking, there has never existed any commonwealth greater in power, with a purer morality, or more fertile in good examples; or any state in which avarice and luxury have been so late in making their inroads, or poverty and frugality so highly and continuously honoured, showing so clearly that the less wealth men possessed the less they coveted. In these latter years wealth has brought avarice in its train, and the unlimited command of pleasure has created in men a passion for ruining themselves and everything else through self-indulgence and licentiousness." 


Livy, excerpt from Preface to Book I of his History of Rome, available at this link (emphasis added).


Today, in America, you can find the disease everywhere: from elite self-righteous liberal Democrats to highly conservative self-righteous Republicans--they are virtually all besotted with love of money and money and money and what money can buy. And, so it all comes tumbling down.






Enhanced by Zemanta