Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hey Egypt; Rome wasn't built in a day!

Rome wasn't built in a day. We can take that to mean a few different things. Obviously it was a few hundred years from the time the legendary founding fathers were raised by wolves to the time Rome became a contender. But the mythology is not what people are really referring to when they talk about building Rome.

Rome was a city state blessed with citizens who had the simple moral courage of soldiers and an admiration for what is today called education but back then was called Greek Philosophy. Greek philosophy and learning meant studying everything from science to warfare to the virtues to happiness and the meaning and purpose of life.

We are sometimes shocked at the things they held that we have dismissed, but we should also be shocked at the things that the Romans and Greeks as Pre-Christian peoples were able to figure out about the natural law without divine revelation.

I suppose the reason Rome is great has as much to do with her fall as her rise. The government of Rome had become so large and so centralized that just as we see today in our centralized government and our centralized corporate structures the corruption, fraud and abuse kept growing until the Roman government became weak and the peoples had to look to themselves for defense and regulation.

The Roman empire came into existence through a series of military conquests that were essentially nationalistic in nature.Rome was able to stay an empire for hundreds of years because their young men were taught duty and service. As the ideal of nationalism became exposed the Roman empire weakened. It would have broken up completely except that the average citizens had rediscovered virtue, service and meaning and purpose in life in a way that the Greeks and Romans could only theorize must exist.

Basically they had discovered Christianity; or at least many of them were beginning to discover it. Many moderns point to the American Revolution as the beginning of freedom and then they point to the French Revolution as the next step and so on, but the truth is that Christendom, or what is now called Europe, was from her beginning more free than her contemporaries. It is a modern conceit that we are sure that we today are more free than those old Catholic countries.

Our First problem is our idea that freedom can only happen in a democracy. Actually freedom can happen under most forms of government, and moral peoples who live under a good King actually have more freedom than we in a democracy. Another problem moderns have is our idea that voting makes people free and that a democracy is always better than a dictatorship.

Dictatorships can be horrible; that is not the question. The real question is if the dictator is overthrown who will be the new dictator? Chances are usually pretty good that if a people are ready for freedom tomorrow they wouldn't be living under a dictator today.Next time you take your dog for a walk notice that he stays in front of you by watching your ques as to which direction you want to go. An alien for another solar system might think that the dog is leading you, but that is rarely the case.

The European civilization that rose out of the ashes of the Roman Empire wasn't built in a day or even a century. If you want to replicate European civilization first you have to look at the rock it was built on; you can't buld a civilization on sand.