We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
(forward apology for long quote of apropos-to-this-post opening of latest Nyquist colyum)
A couple of years ago Cullen Murphy wrote an elegant little book titled with the question, "Are We Rome?" He was not specifically referring to the Roman republic, but to the late Roman Empire. It is a distinction worth making, because Rome lost its freedom and its greatness long before the barbarian incursions of the fifth century. It was the virtue of the republic that built the empire; and, as Murphy noted in his book, the educated elite of Britain's thirteen colonies in the 1770s "were steeped in the Roman code of *virtus*." Here was a code very different from that of our present era. "The Founders did not cherish therapeutic notions of self-actualization or self-esteem or 'the real me,'" noted Murphy. "What mattered was adherence to duty as expressed in outward behavior." America's Founding fathers also looked back to Rome for a workable republican system of checks and balances. Murphy quotes the Roman Statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero: "I consider the most effective constitution to be that which is a reasonably blended combination of three forms -- kingship, aristocracy, and democracy." Such were the "simple forms of the state," subject to decay into despotism, oligarchy and mob rule (respectively). When placed together, under a system of power sharing, the corruption of the simple forms is prevented by mixing them together. When America adopted a republican Constitution, every educated person knew what had happened to the Roman republic. They also knew that the Roman republic had lasted more than 400 years before it was subverted by Gaius Julius Caesar.