I woke up one morning not long ago, and noticed that the world that I was born into no longer exists. It was as if I had once lived in Republican Italy, took a nap, and awoke to the Roman Empire, AD 200.
Let me explain. All the farms in these environs that I grew up with — 40-80 acres with a farmhouse and family — have simply vanished.
Where did they go?
I suppose when I meet someone with 5,000 acres that I am supposed to think that spread represents the old, and now recombined, 100 50-acre farms under new management. Yet where did the 100 farm households go — and what replaced them?
When I ride around the rural landscape, I see the old skeletons of farmhouses; but they are mostly rented to farm workers. Are the social circumstances of renting a house and working on a 5,000-acre farm different from 100 agrarian households doing it — in terms of local PTA, Little League, the regional hospital board, or city council?
I leave it to you to decide. I can attest only that in terms of agricultural productivity, today’s 8,000-acre almond operations look far more efficient, up to date, and savvy than what 100 80-acre almond orchards used to seem like: old barn, clunky tractors in the yard, kids out in the orchard not up on the latest scientific approaches to fertilization, mom doing the books in a way the computerized corporate whiz kid would laugh at, tight-fisted gramps hobbling about looking for loose tire-popping nails in the alleyway while giving sermons about avoiding a mortgage. Continue reading “The World of the Coliseum”→
As it fragments into various camps, the country is being held together by a common popular culture.
by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online
By a.d. 200, the Roman Republic was a distant memory. Few citizens of the global Roman Empire even knew of their illustrious ancestors like Scipio or Cicero. Millions no longer spoke Latin. Italian emperors were a rarity. There were no national elections. Continue reading “The Glue Holding America Together”→
In ancient Rome, when the emperor or an especially distasteful elite died, his image on stone and in bronze was removed. And by decree there arose adamnatio memoriae, a holistic effort to erase away his entire prior existence. Continue reading “Strangers in a Stranger Land”→
Rome — If Americans think fuel and food prices are high, they should try Europe, where both can be nearly double those in the United States, while salaries are often lower. Continue reading “Europe is Warning Us”→
The world is a better place because Adolf Hitler did not preserve his conquest of the European continent, and because the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere of Hideki Tojo and his militarists imploded at Midway, Guadalcanal, and Okinawa. Continue reading “What We Might Remember This Memorial Day”→