Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Deep thoughts, omphaloskepsis, and other random musings.

Animal’s Daily 1984 News

National treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson has put together a piece on the upcoming 2020 election.  Go read it all.  Excerpt:

When Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and a number of Democratic presidential candidates sympathize with the New York subway jumpers who openly threaten the police, then what or who exactly is the alternative to such chaos?

When the media proves 90 percent partisan according to its own liberal watchdog institutions, or reports things as true that cannot be true but “should” be true, what are the forces behind that?

When the violence of Antifa is quietly—or sometimes loudly—condoned, who are those who empower it and excuse it?

If a late-term abortion results in a live baby exiting the birth canal only to be liquidated, who exactly would say that is amoral?

If the leading Democratic presidential candidates openly embrace the Green New Deal, reparations, abolishing the Electoral College, welfare for illegal aliens, open borders, amnesties, wealth taxes, a 70-90 percent income tax code, Medicare for all, and legal infanticide—what is the alternative vision and who stands between all that and a targeted traditional America?

In California, the nation’s largest utility preemptively shuts off power to multibillion-dollar industries and two-million customers, given its ossified grid and over-regulated operations, and the deliberate policy of the state not to clean up drought-stricken dead forests and underbrush that are ignited by wind and antiquated transmission cables. So, who or what then in 2020 would oppose all that?

Well, for 2020, I think we already know the answer.  My official prediction is that President Trump will easily survive the attempt to remove him from office, and barring any major economic or political calamity, he’ll be re-elected next year.  And no, nothing the Dems have come up with yet comprises a major political calamity.

But for 2024 and after?

I know I harp on this theme a lot, but the big-government ratchet only turns one way.  We can’t regain freedoms lost or liberties infringed, except – maybe – by violence.  And violence, nine hundred and ninety-nine times out of a thousand, won’t result in a glorious restoration of the Republic.  It will just result in the end of our Republic.

Dr. Hanson concludes:  One side advocates a complete transformation not just of the American present but of the past as well. The Left is quite eager to change our very vocabulary and monitor our private behavior to ensure we are not just guilty of incorrect behavior but thought as well.

The other side believes America is far better than the alternative, that it never had to be perfect to be good, and that, all and all, its flawed past is a story of a moral nation’s constant struggle for moral improvement.

One side will say, “Just give us more power and we will create heaven on earth.” The other says “Why would anyone wish to take their road to an Orwellian nightmare?” The 2020 election is that simple.

And so will the 2024 election be that simple.  And the 2028 election.

Rule Five Civil War Friday

The American Conservative’s Michael Vlahos, earlier this week, had some interesting thoughts on the possibility of a second Civil War.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow.

A Georgetown Institute poll finds that two-thirds of us believe we are edging closer “to the brink of a civil war.” Yet Americans cannot properly analyze this “gathering storm.” We lack a framework, a lexicon, and the historical data (from other civil wars) to see clearly what is happening to us.

Here is a quick template for how we might more usefully decipher how this nation gets to another civil war. It is arranged as a short series of questions: 1) What is civil war? 2) Why do political-constitutional orders sometimes breakdown, rather than simply transform in response to change? 3) How is violence essential to constitutional and political resolution? 4) How close is the U.S. to such a break down, and its consequences?

My thoughts:  1) A civil war is two factions fighting for control of one nation; and yes, I’m aware that what we call the Civil War, wasn’t.  2) I think it’s likely inevitable, when you have two factions (we call them parties) competing for control, that eventually friction will build to the point of open hostility.  3) I don’t know that it’s essential, but Thomas Jefferson thought so.  4) I suspect something bad will happen in the next 50 years.

Now, the article on these four points; I’ll just give you a few words and let you read the rest:

What is civil war? 

Civil war is, at root, a contest over legitimacy. Legitimacy—literally the right to make law — is shorthand for the consent of the citizens and political parties to abide by the authority of a constitutional order. Civil war begins when this larger political compact breaks down. 

Why do some constitutional orders breakdown rather than transform?

Our political stability has depended on the tenure of periodic “party systems.” Legitimacy flows from the give and take of a two-party relationship. American party systems have had dominant parties or states.

How is violence essential to constitutional and political resolution?

Violence is the magical substance of civil war. If, by definition, political groups in opposition have also abandoned the legitimacy of the old order, then a successor constitutional order with working politics cannot be birthed without violence. Hence violence is the only force that can bring about a new order. This is why all memorable civil wars, and all parties, enthusiastically embrace violence.

How close is the U.S. to such a breakdown—and its consequences?

American constitutional order has not broken down, yet. Constitutional legitimacy still rules. Recent tests of legitimacy confirm this. A presidential impeachment in the 1990s did not lead to conviction in a trial, nor did anyone expect it to. The Supreme Court decided a contested presidential election in 2000, and the decision was everywhere accepted. 2016, in contrast, was bitterly accepted. Yet even the relentless force to depose the president that followed, through a special prosecutor, was spent by the spring of 2019. 

Yet if these are tests of robust legitimacy they are hardly reassuring.  A daily torrent of unfiltered evidence suggests that our constitutional order is fissuring before our eyes. That we have skirted constitutional crisis for the past quarter century is no reassurance, but rather an alarm of continuing erosion. Each new test is yet more bitterly contested, and still less resolved.

So, not too different than my preliminary thoughts.  But here’s the part that I find worrisome:

The issue here is not “What if?” but rather, “What then?” It is not about the authenticity of conflict scenarios, but rather about how contingencies we cannot now predict might bring us to a breaking point, and the breakdown of legitimacy.

Already, warring sides have hardened their hearts so that they will do almost anything in order to prevail. The great irony is that their mutual drive to win—either to preserve their way of life, or make their way of life the law of the land—means that the battle has already become a perverse alliance. Today they refuse to work together in the rusting carapace of old constitutional order. Yet nonetheless they work shoulder-to-shoulder, together, to overthrow it. For both sides, the old order is the major obstacle to victory. Hence victory is through overthrow. Only when constitutional obstacles are toppled can the battle for light and truth begin.

Here’s where I part ways with Mr. Vlahos.  I don’t see any “battle for light and truth” resulting from such a conflict.  I can see only the end of my country, the end of a nation that has been a beacon of freedom.  Some kind of tyranny or dictatorship will be the likely result; either that, or utter anarchy.  The best we can hope for is a balkanization, with several smaller countries arising where a superpower once stood.  This will result in a global power vacuum – and who will step into the void?  Russia?  Not likely; they are a dying giant.  China, perhaps?

Any civil war will be fought among us, in the fields, the streets, on the highways and in the neighborhoods of our country.  It will be brutal and deadly, and it will be the end of the United States.  Some folks on the right and on the left seem to think it would be a rebirth; it won’t.  It will be a death.  The death of our nation, and the death of a world of peace and order.

Animal’s Daily Rights or No Rights News

Before we start, check out my 2019 Hunt Report (abbreviated) over at Glibertarians.

Can something be a “right” if one person’s exercising of that right forces another person to surrender some of their property to pay for it?  I say no, and so does our good friend Jillian Becker.  Excerpt:

There cannot be a “right” for one person that puts an obligation on another person.

There cannot be a “right” for everyone that puts an obligation on some people.

A “right” to health care imposes an obligation on medical practitioners.

Yet the Democratic candidates for the November 2020 presidential election believe that medical treatment is a “human right”.

That old Communist from way back, Bernie Sanders – elected to the Senate as an Independent but running for the presidency as a Democrat – explicitly insists that it is.

Dr. Kevin Pham writes at the Daily Signal:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was recently on comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show to discuss … his vision for health care in America.

He calls his plan “Medicare for All”.

In one interesting statement, Sanders described the rollout of his plan: “I want to expand Medicare to include dental care, hearing aids, and eyeglasses, and then what I want to do is lower the eligibility age the first year from 65 down to 55, then to 45, then to 35, then we cover everybody.”

Cover? Covered by insurance? No. “Free” health care for all would not be paid for through a system of insurance. It would be paid for through taxes. Doctors, nurses, paramedics, all health care workers would be employees of the government.

The plan, Dr. Pham points out, is more accurately called “Medicaid for All”.

I call it horseshit.

Just yesterday afternoon, on my commute from the work site back to my temporary New Jersey lodgings, I heard Princess Spreading Bull Warren repeating her claim that the middle class wouldn’t be taxed to pay for her statist horseshit.  What’s more, she claimed “only billionaires” would pay more.

What unmitigated bullshit.

Ms. Becker concludes:

Under Bernie Sanders’s scheme (and Elizabeth Warren’s vague and colossally expensive plan), there would no private insurance and “the whole system would crumble”.

Providers who participate in Medicaid must accept the government-mandated prices for services and deal with oftentimes long delays in receiving reimbursement that is below the cost of practice. 

Study hard for years at great expense only to earn a pittance? (Oh, I nearly forgot – higher education will also be “free” in that it will be paid for by taxation. Your pathetic little income will be taxed at so high a rate that you’ll be left with nothing but a little pocket-money.)

You would have to be a fanatical philanthropist, or even a masochist, to enter the medical profession under such conditions.

Amen and amen.

Were I to handicap the Dem’s nominees right now, I’d have to say Liawatha is the one who seems to be gaining some traction.  And that’s a good thing, because given her math-challenged moonbattery, she’s a walking talking gift to the Trump re-election campaign.

All the Democrats had to do to win in 2020 was to not be crazy.  They’ve failed.

Animal’s Daily Dark Ages News

The other day national treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson brought us this gem:  Is America Entering a Dark Age?  Excerpt:

Does anyone believe that contemporary Americans could build another transcontinental railroad in six years?

Californians tried to build a high-speed rail line. But after more than a decade of government incompetence, lawsuits, cost overruns and constant bureaucratic squabbling, they have all but given up. The result is a half-built overpass over the skyline of Fresno — and not yet a foot of track laid.

Who were those giants of the 1960s responsible for building our interstate highway system?

California’s roads now are mostly the same as we inherited them, although the state population has tripled. We have added little to our freeway network, either because we forgot how to build good roads or would prefer to spend the money on redistributive entitlements.

When California had to replace a quarter section of the earthquake-damaged San Francisco Bay Bridge, it turned into a near-disaster, with 11 years of acrimony, fighting, cost overruns — and a commentary on our decline into Dark Ages primitivism. Yet 82 years ago, our ancestors built four times the length of our singe replacement span in less than four years. It took them just two years to design the entire Bay Bridge and award the contracts.

Our generation required five years just to plan to replace a single section. In inflation-adjusted dollars, we spent six times the money on one quarter of the length of the bridge and required 13 agencies to grant approval. In 1936, just one agency oversaw the entire bridge project.

Dr. Hanson writes about his own California, but the rot has taken hold almost everywhere.  National power grids and generation capacity are below par.  In our own Colorado, the roads are in worse shape every year.  In New York the Empire State Building was put up in the middle of the Great Depression in a matter of months, but replacing the destroyed World Trade Center took over a decade.

It’s not a pretty picture.  We used to a nation, a society, a people that built things.  In a span of two hundred years we went from a couple of million people huddled along the east coast, having just broken away from the most powerful empire in (then) world history at great cost, to a great shining city on a hill, the arsenal of democracy in World War 2, the rebuilder of the global economy after that war.

Now, to get a few miles of track for an ill-advised “high speed” rail line laid, it takes decades of agonizing by sixteen layers of bureaucrats before a single shovel can move.

My Dad (born 1923) always said that he an my Mom (born 1928) saw America’s best years.  He was likely right.  I’m just hoping I won’t live to see America come apart.

Rule Five Oblivious Friday

Oblivious  (adjective)

  • unmindful; unconscious; unaware (usually followed by of or to): She was oblivious of his admiration.
  • forgetful; without remembrance or memory: oblivious of my former failure.
  • inducing forgetfulness.

There’s a disturbing trend among the everyday Americans you meet in your daily doings, one that you may have noticed.  That is the trend among people to be oblivious as to how their behavior affects those around them.

I’m not talking about those people who are deliberately rude; that’s a topic for another day, and to be honest, those kinds of people have always been around.  We call them “assholes.”  I’m not talking about stupid people; that’s likewise a topic for another day, and besides, a lack of capacity is something we pity, not something we grow angry over – unless the stupid people are in Congress.

And let’s be honest, the list of Congress-critters who aren’t stupid would be shorter than the ones that are.

What I am talking about are people who are so clueless, or maybe self-absorbed, or both, that they simply have no clue how annoying their behavior is to others.

A few examples I’ve observed recently:

Last Sunday Mrs. Animal and I attended the Raritan, NJ annual John Basilone Day parade.  Now a parade honoring a military hero is always punctuated by the various color guards of the organizations marching in the parade, and I was already mildly annoyed by the fact that Mrs. A and I were the only ones who made a point of standing when the color guards went by – Mrs. A leveraging herself up off of her walker to do so – and I was the only man to remove his headgear at that time, even though there were several self-professed veterans in our immediate vicinity.

But that wasn’t what got me.  What got me was the young man who parked himself just to Mrs. A’s right front and stood there, through the whole parade, in the exact middle of the sidewalk, forcing families and groups of onlookers to wedge around him to proceed down the sidewalk.

Now this dumb son of a bitch could have taken one long step to his front or rear where there was plenty of room and left ample space for passerby.  But despite some very pointed looks and remarks, he didn’t bother.  He stood in the middle of the damn way throughout.

Another:  While here in our temporary New Jersey lodgings, Mrs. A and I generally set aside an hour or so on Friday afternoon to hit the grocery store and do our trading for the week.  It’s usually a good time to go; I can set aside time early enough in the day when most folks are still at work, and the store isn’t too crowded.

But on Friday last, one week ago today, we ran into another oblivious person.  This one was in the baking aisle; she was standing to one side, comparing labels on two or three different brands of olive oil.  That would have been fine, except…  that she left her overloaded shopping cart exactly in the middle, blocking the entire aisle.

We waited a few moments.  She ignored us.  I finally said, “excuse me, but we need to get by,” and moved her cart myself, at which point she gave me a mildly annoyed look (who dare I presume the aisle should be left clear for others to navigate!) but said nothing.

For what may be the best one I have to take you back to about 1978.  This example is a case study in obliviousness and stupidity, which makes it even more befuddling.

It was a Friday night; I had just gotten off work and was on the prowl for a bit of adventure.  As I needed gas and had just gotten paid, I want to the nearest Quick-Trip, which had two gas pumps, to fuel up for the weekend.

Just ahead of me was an old Chevrolet, who had pulled up to the pump just ahead of me.  The driver got out of his car, took the nozzle off the holder, flipped the lever to turn the pump on – and then tucked the nozzle under his arm to light a cigarette.

I hit Reverse, punched it, shot into the street, did a reverse bootlegger spin that would not have been out of place in a Hal Needham/Burt Reynolds movie, and got the hell out of there.

I’m not sure why this is becoming a more noticeable trend.  Airports are one of the worst places to see oblivious people.  On almost any given flight you can see some jackass parked in the Handicapped seating nearest the gate, with his ass on one seat, his suitcase on another and his backpack on a third.  And driving – don’t get me started!  Coloradans, I will say, are a little better than New Jersey or California folks about remembering that their vehicles have turn signals, but only just.

It’s not necessarily stupidity.  I’ve known, personally, people who were frequently oblivious but not necessarily stupid.  It’s not necessarily meanness.  I’ve known, personally, people who were good-natured and even fun, but still were frequently unaware of how their behavior affected people.

The problem is, oblivious people may be even more dangerous than morons or assholes.  Stupid people and assholes are a different beast.  We know them, we can predict their assholery/stupidity and deal with it.

Oblivious people?  There’s no telling what they may screw up next.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Some random links to stuff I found interesting over the last day or so:

Robert Stacy McCain skewers the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Not that they don’t need skewering – they do, every day and twice on Sunday.

Bill de Blasio is an idiot.

Jerry Nadler is an idiot.

Joe Biden is possibly senile, and an idiot.

Rahm Emanuel finds an acorn.  Rahm went on record saying that “Medicare for all” is a losing campaign issue for Dems – and you know, he’s not wrong.

Baltimore continues to deteriorate.  No surprises.

Mad Dog Mattis slaps down MSNBC.  Eh heh heh heh.

All is not well in Palin-land.  Having been divorced myself, all I can say is no matter the reason, that’s never an easy decision for anyone.

Illegal immigrant apprehensions at the southern border are way down.  Now, who was it that has been making immigration policy lately?

Meanwhile, the “migrants” find other destinations.  Go figure.

Our good friend Jillian Becker weighs in on recycling.

Violence for Thee But Not for Me.  Excerpt:

The domestic rise of various violent groups is a symptom of ideology taking precedence over authentic and rational thought. A recent example of this rather disturbing trend was the attack on the journalist Andy Ngo. Ngo was reporting from Portland, Oregon on a series of protests and counter-protests in the city when he was accosted and attacked by a far-left group, Antifa (which has been responsible for many acts of violence at other events). Ngo sustained injuries to the head, which landed him in a hospital. 

Go read.

Just because, here is some windy Rule Five imagery from the archives.

On that breezy note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.

Rule Five Cato’s Letters Friday

I’ve been re-reading Cato’s Letters, or Essays on Liberty Civil and Religious and Other Important Subjects (Complete), a series of essays  published by “The Library of Alexandria” and compiled by two characters using the nom de plumes John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon.  The essays were first published from 1720 to 1723 and formed a strong influence on the thinking of many of our Founding Fathers.

Named for the famous Roman statesman Marcus Porcius Cato, he of the staunch republican opinions, the notorious Stoic who opposed the tyranny of Caesar unto his last breath, the Letters are a pioneering set of statements in favor of the principles of liberty, and of limits on and accountability of government.

From Wikipedia:  The Letters are considered a seminal work in the tradition of the Commonwealth men. The 144 essays were published originally in the London Journal, later in the British Journal, condemning corruption and lack of morality within the British political system and warning against tyranny.

I can’t recommend this work strongly enough.  A statement you’ll see just over to the right, one of the two founding sentiments of this blog, is from the Letters:  Nisi forte non de serveitute, sed de conditione serviendi, recusandum est a nobis or, in English, “We do not dispute about the qualifications of a master, for we will have no master.”

Damn right.

A few interesting excerpts follow.

From No. 11, The Justice and Necessity of punishing great Crimes, though committed against no subsisting Law of the State. 

Laws, for the most part, do not make crimes, but suit and adapt punishments to such actions as all mankind knew to be crimes before. And though national governments should never enact any positive laws, never annex particular penalties to known offences; yet they would have a right, and it would be their duty to punish those offences according to their best discretion; much more so, if the crimes committed are so great, that no human wisdom could foresee that any man could be wicked and desperate enough to commit them.

In other words, one of the few legitimate roles of government is protecting citizens from being deprived of their property by force or by fraud; but, should government fail in that task, the citizen has a moral right to redress by other means.

From No. 15, Of Freedom of Speech:  That the same is inseparable from publick Liberty.

Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as publick liberty, without freedom of speech: Which is the right of every man, as far as by it he does not hurt and control the right of another; and this is the only check which it ought to suffer, the only bounds which it ought to know.

The only limits to freedom of speech, then, are that one may not cause physical or financial harm to another.  Thus incitements to violence are not protected, nor is slander or libel.  But “hate speech,” by which term many today choose to define as “speech I don’t agree with” not only is protected, but must be protected, else the very concept of freedom of speech is meaningless.

From No. 33, Cautions against the natural Encroachments of Power.

It is nothing strange, that men, who think themselves unaccountable, should act unaccountably, and that all men would be unaccountable if they could: Even those who have done nothing to displease, do not know but some time or other they may; and no man cares to be at the entire mercy of another. Hence it is, that if every man had his will, all men would exercise dominion, and no man would suffer it. It is therefore owing more to the necessities of men, than to their inclinations, that they have put themselves at last that he might do what he would, he let loose his appetite for blood, and committed such mighty, such monstrous, such unnatural slaughters and outrages, as none but a heart bent on the study of cruelty could have devised.

To simplify:  Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It’s important to remember the context of the times in which these essays were written.  The early 18th century was a time when slavery was broadly accepted, when pirates were hanged without trials, when women were excluded from government altogether.  But the Letters are nonetheless an opening shot in the battle which continues today, here in the United States, where encroachments on liberty are daily proposed.

Go, then, and read these works.  You can get a free Kindle app for a PC and the Kindle version (linked above) is only four bucks.  You could hardly find a better way to spend four bucks.

Animal’s Daily Random Notes News

Be sure to check out my latest at Glibertarians, Profiles in Toxic Masculinity IV: Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis.

Some random notes from this (early) morning’s news crawl:

This just in from the New York Times – bedbugs.  It would be funny if it wasn’t so ironic.

There’s a new Star Wars Episode something-or-other trailer.  I’m not sure what to think.  Check it out for yourself:

Robert Stacy McCain’s linkage compiler and our good friend Wombat-socho has some thoughts on protecting the conservative and libertarian blogosphere.

Duck.

Duck.

Goose.

Crazy Eyes opines on the Electoral College, once more proving Abraham Lincoln’s thesis that “…it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

Remind me again, who is the party of peace and tolerance?

Not my monkey, not my zoo.

Not my pig, not my farm.

America’s poor:  Some of the richest people in human history.

The two young ladies pictured below have nothing to do with any of the stories above.  Their appearance here is purely gratuitous.

On that watery note, we return you to your Tuesday, already in progress.

Animal’s Daily Bad Advice News

Check out my latest article on Glibertarians, Guns For The Country Home. 

Moving right along:  These days, you can count on the New York Times to dispense horseshit, and that’s too bad, coming from a publication that used to be known as the “paper of record.”  Here’s a piece from their “advice” column.  Excerpt:

My 12-year-old daughter had a sticker on her water bottle with a quote from Dr. Seuss: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” A classmate told her the sticker was racist because many people can’t choose what they want to do because of structural racism. My daughter peeled off the sticker and threw it away. When she told me about it, I was at a loss. I believe structural racism is real and pernicious, but I also think we should teach children that they have agency. And my daughter and I like the sticker’s message. Help!

Here’s the first paragraph of the Times’ response:

Twelve-year-olds are not famous for nuance. (Their greater claim may be making classmates feel bad about their water bottles.) But you are an adult. Start a conversation with your daughter that goes beyond slogans and stickers to a more thoughtful consideration of race.

What utter horseshit.

In the first place, I consider this a prime example of “I’ll take Shit That Never Happened for $500, Alex.”  I don’t believe this event ever actually took place.  Most of these “My X-year-old came to me the other day and asked why the United Nations aren’t doing more to reduce the developed world’s carbon emissions!” are fake.  Again, this is horseshit; kids just aren’t concerned with these things.

But that’s not the point I want to make.  Instead, here is what my response to this probably non-existent child would be:

“Here, honey, here is another sticker exactly like the one you tore off.  Put it back on your water bottle and leave it there.  Your friend is an idiot.  The message from Dr. Seuss is a great one, and applies to all children and adults of any color.  The truth is, there is no institutional racism in the United States.  We have a black man sitting on the Supreme Court alongside a Latina woman.  We recently had an Indian-American woman as our Ambassador to the UN.  We’ve had a black woman serve as Secretary of State.  We’ve even had a black man elected President of the United States – twice.  The very idea that the melanin content of one’s skin somehow defines their determination or their abilities is not only ridiculous, it is actually racist, by the strict definition of the word.  If your friend complains that she is being somehow held back by “racism,” tell her, “well, then, get out there and prove the racists wrong – millions of people have.”

But then, that message doesn’t fit the New York Time’s editorial agenda, does it?  Of course it doesn’t.  Too hopeful.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Here’s a really neat model of Imperial Rome, circa 4th century AD.  Excerpt:

Rome was not built in a day and the ‘most accurate’ model of Ancient Rome is testament to this as it took archaeologist Italo Gismondi 35 years to build.

The Plastico di Roma imperiale (model of imperial Rome) was actually commissioned by Mussolini in 1933 and is so realistic that a few shots of it were used in the film Gladiator.

The model can be viewed today in the Museum of Roman Civilisation in Rome, Italy.The Roman Empire began shortly after the founding of the Roman Republic in the 6th century BC and reigned for thousands of years until the fall of the last Western emperor in 476 AD

It is so useful because it helps a lot of academics visualise Rome to aid their studies and gives a lot more context to famous structures, like the Colosseum, which we are used to seeing as stand alone buildings.

Roman cities were laid out so efficiently that it can also teach us more and inspire us about infrastructure in modern society.

But here are a few things the article gets wrong:

The Roman Empire began shortly after the founding of the Roman Republic in the 6th century BC and reigned for thousands of years until the fall of the last Western emperor in 476 AD.

From the 6th century BC until 27 BC, when Julius Caesar’s adopted son Octavian became effectively the first Emperor, is hardly “shortly after.”  And even then, Octavian, later Caesar Augustus, never called himself Emperor, only princeps, or First Citizen.

It evolved from a monarchy to a democratic republic and finally to a military dictatorship.

Rome was never a “democratic” republic.  While it did claim republican principles, in fact, the Roman Senate was selected from the nobility; the common people had very little say in affairs of state.

One of the most well-known Roman emperors is Julius Caesar, famously assassinated in 44BC, who is largely credited for his military mind and laying the foundations for the Roman Empire.

Caesar was never emperor.  He never used the title himself and never was referred to as such by his contemporaries.  He was Dictator, a position spelled out in and legal under Roman law.  While he was largely responsible for the fall of the Republic and the descent of Rome into tyranny, the title should not be applied to Julius Caesar.

But none of that should detract from the wonder that it took Italo Gismondi 35 years to build.  It was an amazing feat, this gifted man’s life’s work, and I’ve added it to my bucket list of items I must see when one day I visit Rome, that wellspring of Western civilization.