Leave it to the BBC

To give us historical perspective and quote Monty Python. And, yes, you have to click the link and read the thing to see the Python quote. Geeze, do I have file your taxes, too? I’m just quoting the cerebral part by my man Ed Gibbon here.

“Edward Gibbon, in his great book Decline and Fall, famously blamed the collapse not only on the barbarians, but on Christianity. He thought it had undermined society with its focus on another, better world.

“Modern historians, though, see it differently, and some of their ideas seem startlingly relevant to us now.

“First was the widening gulf between the social classes, rich and poor. When rich and poor start to live completely different lives this leads (then as now) to the poor opting out of the state. All studies today show that society is happier when the gap between rich and poor is reduced.

“Widen it and you affect the group ethos of society, and also the ability to get things done through tax.”
Viewpoint: The time Britain slid into chaos, BBC.com, May 25, 2012

Just when I didn’t think I could feel worse, this makes feel warm and fuzzy about the IRS. Ick.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day and it didn’t fall in a day either. Its shadow still falls on us, a memory imprinted almost like genetic information, a memory to which we all belong.

“And is its fall also a distant mirror of our present crises?

“Well, the fall of Rome serves to remind us that complex societies can, and do, break down. There is rarely one reason. Rather, there are multiple causes that come together in a perfect storm, as they did around 400AD.”

Yeah, and to some extent in the 14th century as well. Where’s Barbara W. Tuchman when you need her? Oh, dead? Still?

“But in time society recovers, for societies after all are made by people, and one guesses that the ones that recover quickest are the ones which are most adaptive, and perhaps too the ones with the strongest sense of identity and history – the strongest sense of ‘group feeling’.”

Okay, everybody, a-one a-two a-one two three four “Always look on the bright si-ide of life” und zo on.

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