12 May

In his 35th episode of the Hardcore History podcast, Dan Carlin suggests that if the Roman politicians who lynched the Gracchii had had a time machine and had traveled forward in time a generation or two to see where Rome was headed, they would have strongly favored the very reforms they killed the Gracchus brothers for trying to institute since the Gracchus brothers were trying to address serious problems in the Roman system, problems which were ultimately at the root of failure of the Republic and its replacement by the Empire. It was the short term interests of the politicians that led them to oppose the Gracchi reforms. If they had taken a longer term view of the needs of Rome, as, indeed, the brothers Tiberius and Gaius did, they would have understood and supported the need for reform.

This parsing of the story sounds to me frighteningly like what is currently going on in Western “developed” society. We are faced with serious issues — global warming, terrorism, and global poverty and hunger among them — which we could address if we had effective political leadership with a long term view of events and a measure of intestinal fortitude. Instead, the political leadership of most modern countries are mainly concerned with achieving and preserving their own power while the world system wobbles toward disaster.

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Posted by on 2011/05/12 in history


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