Friday, June 8, 2007

Are We Rome? Tell Me: What If We Are.

You know, there are so many issues that are worthy of discussion tonight: the Republican debate that I have yet to analyze, on-going situations in Iraq or the National Geographic documentary Inside the Green Berets which I have finally gotten the opportunity to watch. And there are those issues that have already received more attention then they deserve and Miss Hilton, I am referring to you. So, for the sake of keeping my digesting dinner heading downward and not keyboard-bound, we are going to skip all the above-mentioned and focus on something just a little more obscure.

I want to discuss Stephen Colbert’s guest last night on his Colbert Report.

And that guest was a gentleman named Cullen Murphy. Mr. Murphy has penned a book titled Are We Rome. From what I understand and, admittedly, I am only going to thumb though his book after writing this, Mr. Murphy presents evidence that America is quite similar to ancient Rome. From what I saw during the interview with Stephen Colbert, the author found this to be troublesome. This thesis is not what caused me concern. If my education serves me correctly, between the Roman Republic and its Empire, there existed on this Earth a Roman state of superior authority for about 1,000 years. If only our United States could be so lucky. However, what bothered me was a single anecdotal comment voiced by Cullen Murphy.

Mr. Murphy claimed that one of the downfalls of the Roman Republic was the privatization of the market place. Equating “downfall” with negativity, I immediately disagreed with the author’s assessment. While it may be true that the privatized marketplace led to the end for Rome, it does not necessarily mean the same for the United States.

Let me remind the author that the world has attempted the alternative method. This was called “socialism.” In all its forms, no matter how large scale or small, the name remains the same. And sometimes, Mr. Murphy, socialism wasn’t exactly "in your face" in its manifestation. Sometimes it hid behind the words of leading economists. Sometimes, it was being led by peaceful-seeming fellows like John Maynard Keynes. Sometimes, it seemed innocent when not being professed by hell-bent government dictators. Ask Europeans, they surely remember the days of state-owned industry. Ask them about the quality of life that such a marketplace ultimately brought upon them.

Let me tell you, Mr. Murphy, your negativity is misdirected. The privatization of the market is the key to capitalism’s very success. And capitalism’s success is vital to the world’s monetary survival. And, alas, I am not an authority on this issue. In fact, maybe you have my number because, after all, you have written a book- I have only a handful of blogs under my belt. But I am pretty sure that Milton Friedman would have agreed with my assessment. And those that award the Nobel Prize seemed to think pretty highly of Mr. Friedman’s economic knowledge. You know who else might have had beef with your analysis, Mr. Murphy? Try Friedrich Hayek. His influence might have been even stronger then Friedman’s. After all, both President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher thought enough of his opinions that they used them as basis to their financial policies: policies that rejuvenated markets. And, in this case, the markets being rejuvenated were global in scope.

So Mr. Murphy, I hope your book sells well. In fact, I am sure that you present many valid arguments that are worth reading and considering. However, don’t assume that you can go on a show such as the Colbert Report and hope that its tongue-in-cheek nature will save your comments from the wrath of the public. There are watchdogs out there, buddy, and you will not trample on my free-market, capital-driven, democratic happiness.

Thank you.

In other news, I would love to assess Fred Thompson’s interview on Hannity and Colmes the other night. I would also like to speak of a very gracious note that I received a few days ago concerning one of my blogs. However, I think I just blew off enough literary steam for one night. Thanks for sticking around. More to come tomorrow.

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