"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
Location: Sacramento, California, United States

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Friday, October 01, 2004
  Great Quote on "Decline"
I've started reading Edward Gibbon's magnum opus The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. It's a wonderful read so far, and I thought I'd throw out a quote that expresses my own disheartened feelings regarding the intellectual atmosphere of today's youth. We've fallen quite far from where our founding fathers left off, a fact that lament every day. The anti-intellectuality of many young people is especially frightening - what will become of this country? Are we currently in the throes of our own "Decline and Fall". I have to conclude yes on the whole, things seem to get worse every year. Hopefully we can turn the tide, and rise back up to the heights we have known. Here's the quote:
The sublime Longinus, who in somewhat a later period, and in the court of a Syrian queen, preserved the spirit of ancient Athens, observes and laments this degeneracy of his contemporaries, which debased their sentiments, enervated their courage, and depressed their talents. "In the same manner," says he, "as some children always remain pygmies, whose infant limbs have been too closely confined; thus our tender minds, fettered by the prejudices and habits of a just servitude, are unable to expand themselves, or to attain that well-proportioned greatness which we admire in the ancients; who living under a popular government, wrote with the same freedom as they acted." This diminutive stature of mankind, if we pursue the metaphor, was daily sinking below the old standard, and the Roman world was indeed peopled by a race of pygmies; when the fierce giants of the north broke in, and mended the puny breed. They restored a manly spirit of freedom; and after the revolution of ten centuries, freedom became the happy parent of taste and science.

For those interested in perusing this book, there is a good version available online here.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 6:50 AM


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