When Alaric heard that the people were trained and ready to fight, he said that thicker grass was easier to mow than thinner and laughed broadly at the ambassadors, but when they turned to discuss peace he used expressions excessive even for an arrogant barbarian: he declared that he would not give up the siege unless he got all the gold and silver in the city, as well as all movable property and the barbarian slaves. When one of the ambassadors asked what he would leave for the citizens if he took these, he replied: 'Their lives.'
- Zosimus, Historia Nova
It seemed like the world had ended. In a sense, it had.
The Progressive vision has been ascendent for a century, which is a long, long time in modern political terms. This year will be for Progressives what 410 was for Romans: not the end, but the point after which it will be impossible to foresee not just the victory of their vision, but even its survival. Even in true blue Wisconsin, a rage-fueled recall election has resulted in a vote confirming the utter lack of public support for public employee unions. Five months from now will see the humiliating defeat of Obama, and the Republican capture of the Senate. As with the Roman Ambassadors of old, they too will wonder what they were left with.
But perhaps most traumatic of all, they will know that their day is past. The Western Empire staggered on for another sixty years. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither did it turn to ruins in a day. So with the Progressive movement, which will stagger on for some unknown time, gut shot by a public that is decisively rejecting it.
What will come next is a mystery, and likely will not be to my liking either. The Roman Imperial administrators became administrators in the new barbarian kingdoms. Latin remained the language of the known world, and Roman Law was still enforced. But everyone knew that everything had changed. Soon, it was gone, leaving nothing but colossal ruins.
I remain hopeful. The Internet has made it impossible for the old top-down command structures to keep control of information flow. The Press and the public schools have destroyed their credibility by an all too plain orgy of greed. People know that they are not alone in rejecting the Progressive vision; they now know that many others - indeed, perhaps a majority of the populace - do as well. We'll see what happens, but one thing is certain: there will never be another Imperial Triumph like the coronation of Barack Obama in January 2009. That vision is hollow, the guard posts deserted.
Sic transit Gloria Mundi, and good damn riddance.
A long period of distress and anarchy, in which empire, and arts, and riches, had migrated from the banks of the Tiber, was incapable of restoring or adorning the city; and, as all that is human must retrograde if it do not advance, every successive age must have hastened the ruin of the works of antiquity.
- Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
What is best? To crush your enemy's ideology, to see it driven from the airwaves, and to hear the lamentation of his Professors.