That’s me; I haven’t been posting much the last few days, mostly because the law business has been keeping me awfully busy.
One thing I almost never do is read left-wing web sites. Life is too short; I might only live to be 100 or 110, so there is no time to waste. But my pal Bob Cunningham has a strong enough stomach for the Huffington Post, and he pointed out this astonishing piece by one-time Democratic Presidential front-runner Gary Hart. Hart compares the United States in the early 21st century with ancient Rome, and argues that the Bush administration represents the end of the American republic, just as the accession of Augustus as Emperor of Rome signaled the end of the Roman republic. Here is Hart’s extremely subtle analysis:
So much for the dates and names. The question is how Augustus became emperor. How did he go about finally ending a republic founded in 510 BC? ***
The army, the courts, and religion. The keys to the creation of the Roman Empire.
Surely you can see it coming: George W. Bush has taken command of the U.S. Army and used it to assassinate his political opponents, like John Kerry, Howard Dean and Ned Lamont. (Just kidding about Lamont. And, by the way, “Augustus waged no major wars.”) Just like President Bush has taken over the churches and required that all citizens worship his ancestors–Bush 41!–as gods. What really cracks me up, though, is Hart’s reference to the courts:
Second, [Augustus] took control of the system of laws and justice. Little could happen with the magistrates and judges that did not meet his approval and conform to his policies. To control the legal system was to control the entire nation.
Hart likens this, absurdly, to President Bush’s appointments of federal judges. But Hart is apparently unaware that Augustus’s administration of Rome’s legal system was, by all accounts, one of his great virtues. In fact, Augustus is one of the seminal figures in the development of the law, along with Moses, Hammurabi, Blackstone and others, who are depicted on the freize that adorns the United States Supreme Court building. One of the most liberal Supreme Court Justices of recent times, John Paul Stevens, has described Augustus as a “great lawgiver.”
Gary Hart is sadly typical of the Democrat Party: an ignoramus masquerading as an intellectual.
For what it’s worth, if a neutral observer were looking for a parallel to the Roman Empire, he might well find it in Hart’s famous sex-booze-and-rock-and-roll debauchery aboard the Monkey Business, which led to his salutary retirement from public life.