3003 Northeast Weidler St.
Portland OR 97232
13 October 2005
Dear Benson Colleague,
“There is nothing new under the sun,” says the 9th verse of the first chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes, perhaps written by King Solomon of the Kingdom of Israel around 1000 B.C.
Along those lines let me bring to your attention the fact that our Republic is in the course of succumbing to a social mechanism of decay which has been seen before. I make no claim to originality here; only to having found quotations which outline the prevalence of the mechanism in a striking manner.
The outstanding ancient historian of the generation before our own, a man blacklisted during the McCarthy era in our own country but who when he moved to England succeeded so brilliantly in his scholarly endeavors that he was knighted by the Queen, writes in 1972, concerning the decline of the Roman Empire :
“A political organism which requires the permanent, forcible subjection of large groups of its population is likely to end by totally brutalizing and stultifying itself. I am not saying that it will therefore destroy itself physically, only that it may destroy itself morally and culturally, which is not the same thing. The question-mark rests largely (though not solely) with the submerged people. Will they just grumble, and accept their fate, or not? Aldous Huxley once said that ‘the abject patience of the oppressed is perhaps the most inexplicable, as it is also the most important, fact in all history.’ In Roman history it was virtually a universal fact.”
M. I. Finley, Aspects of Antiquity. Discoveries and Controversies, Penguin, 1972, p. 145