American politicians learned nothing from the collapse of the Roman Republic

❝ If you were a Roman citizen around, say, 200 BC, you probably would have assumed Rome was going to last forever.

At the time, Rome was the greatest republic in human history, and its institutions had proven resilient through invasions and all kinds of disasters. But the foundations of Rome started to weaken less than a century later, and by 27 BC the republic had collapsed entirely.

❝ The story of Rome’s fall is both complicated and relatively straightforward: The state became too big and chaotic; the influence of money and private interests corrupted public institutions; and social and economic inequalities became so large that citizens lost faith in the system altogether and gradually fell into the arms of tyrants and demagogues.

This is more than a deja vu moment. The article confronts American greed, corruption, ignorance, bigotry and – did I mention – greed. Read it, please. If your favorite Congress-critter or President is a Trumpublican, you know that they won’t.

The Welcome Cat


Click to enlargePHOTO: Guilhem Vellut

❝ In the Tokyo suburb of Setagaya, there is a quiet park home to the Gōtoku-ji “Welcome Cat” Temple

The temple is covered in thousands of Maneki Neko, with more being added on a daily basis. While it’s an arresting visual, the alter is essentially a retirement home for the sculptures. After the waving cat has helped its owners’ wishes come true, tradition dictates it’s then returned to the temple for a much-needed rest.

Cultural quaintness includes cultural luck. But, the intent is positive even if the quantum mechanics can’t be relied upon.