Friday, November 4, 2016

Looking for a "time out"................

Through it all, through every century so far as I can see, the apocalyptic sense has been active. We are always, and reasonably, thinking “things can’t get worse,” but things can and often do, and any apparent relief from the long disaster of human self-government is, at best, a quick and confusing “time out.”
The American Republic was (rather ostentatiously) founded in the image of the Roman, and to my mind had already mutated into something more like the Empire, by the time of Andrew Jackson. History is too grubby to form neat parallel lines, but we should not be surprised to find by now that leadership is in the hands of men (and women!) who are (on the analogy of alcoholics) “functioning insane.” And as all the more decadent emperors of the past, their power depends on their supporters, many of whom justify their loyalty because, well, the alternative is worse, and must be avoided at any cost. In the end, some Sardanapalus pulls them all down — spiritually, but also materially.
-David Warren, as extracted from here
Painting by Eugene Delacroix, The Death of Sardanapalus,  Oil c. 1826

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