February 06, 2012

For the last several years, El Cabrero has been painstakingly crawling through several volumes of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I'm now within 200 pages of the end.

 It's been kind of a chore, the literary equivalent of heavy lifting, but it has been rewarded by flashes of brilliance, wit and that great 18th century turn of a phrase. Here's an example of the latter. The occasion is his contemplation of the speed with which the discovery of gunpowder increased the destructiveness of war:

If we contrast the rapid progress of this  mischievous discovery with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind.

Roger that.

BETTER BUT NOT GOOD. Here's Krugman on the latest jobs report.

CITIZENS (NOT) UNITED. E.J. Dionne writes about a really bad court decision here.

DITTO THIS. Here's the Charleston Gazette calling on the legislature to create a mineral tax trust fund for the future.


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