Quote of the Day
I've had a very strong interest in history lately, centering around the Roman empire. Along these lines I've recently been re-reading Isabel Paterson's excellent book The God of the Machine
where I came across this fascinating quote. Like so much of the book, it is at once simple and profound, and to me quite enlightening.
It struck me specifically in light of the presidential election. Bush (and many pundits on the right) are pointing out that John Kerry is a "tax and spend liberal". While this is true, it seems to imply that Bush is a fiscal conservative. Unfortunately, nothing could be farther from the truth; if Kerry is a "tax and spend liberal", Bush should be called a "charge
and spend conservative" for the massive deficit he has presided over. The implications of either policy for our civilization are horrendous; Ms. Paterson knew this, and described how the same policy led to the decline and fall of the Roman empire:
The exactions of the bureaucracy increased, and the number of officials multiplied. More and more of the flow was diverted from production into the political mechanism. Whatever elements in motion compose a stream of energy, enough must go through to complete the circuit and renew production. Water running in an aqueduct to turn a millwheel is a stream of energy; or electricity going through insulated wires; or goods in process from raw materials to finished product and conveyed by a system of transport. If the water channel is pierced with many small openings en route; or electricity taken off by more and more outlets; or the goods expropriated piecemeal at each stage of the process, finally not enough will go through for maintenance of the system. In the energy system comprised in an exchange of goods, the producers and processors have to get back enough to enable them to keep on producing and working up the raw materials and to provide transport. In the later Roman empire, the bureaucrats took such a large cut, at length scarcely anything went through the complete circuit.
POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 1:29 PM