VICTOR DAVIS HANSON
"The Corrections," National Review (Online) 7/18/03:
The Greeks were fascinated with the need to adhere to the mean (to meson). The idea became commonplace that there was a sort of natural equilibrium in things that tended to pull events, emotions, and people themselves back to the center, away from both hubris and inaction."Our Gordian Knot," National Review (Online) 11/15/02
I think such a classical concept of the need for balance can explain (though in ways many it would not appreciate) many of the crises of the last two years — at least far better than does the caricature of Mr. Bush and his administration as shoot-from-the-hip cowboys unfamiliar with the unnecessary requisites of polite diplomacy.
See the Classicists in the News page for more on VDH
...has a fairly regularly appearing column entitled "Classics Corner" in Real Change ("Puget Sound's Newspaper of the Poor and Homeless"). Archived articles (1999-2000) are available here; or search for "Classics Corner" on their search page; current articles should appear here
...writes a weekly column for the Spectator, called "Ancient and Modern." For his columns at the Spectator website, click here. This briefly became inaccessible when it became a pay site, but his columns seem to be available for the time being. They are also collected in an archive at the Friends of Classics website.
Republic to Empire
According to Franz Schurmann of the Pacific News Service (5/9/03), the USA is going through the same transition as did Ancient Rome...and see another article by Schurmann on the "Pax Americana" (3/21/03)...Hmm...but the arguments might make more sense if his grasp of the Roman system was better...as it is, egads:
At that time, Octavian, a nephew of Caesar, held the office of "First Consul" (similar to the American president who is both the civil "chief executive" and the military "commander in chief"). Octavian had held the office of First Consul since 33 B.C. and was entrusted with the Imperium, that is, making war against enemies and administering the vast empire. But in 28 B.C., Octavian decided to make his rule of the Imperium legitimate by asking the Roman Senate to give him the title "Augustus," which elevated him to the status of a god.More by Schurmann: "Delenda est Iraq--Why US is on Warpath against Saddam" (2/16/98); "The Lesson's of Caesar's Rome--America's Electoral Divisions on the Eve of Imperial Age" (01/02/96); "It's the O's that Make the Millenium Special" (01/04/99); "Believe It--A Religious Vision Powers Terror War" (6/7/02); "As The Pax Americana Makes Big Wars Less Likely More Little Wars Will Erupt" (Prediction, 6/20/00); "Sometime during the next U.S. presidential term...revisions in the Constitution..." (Prediction, 2/29/00)--and with that, I'll end with another excerpt, from this last "Prediction":
Since the old gods no longer moved the 50 million inhabitants of the Empire, Octavian felt he couldn't lose by inaugurating a new religious cult centered on himself as a god and rooted in his uncle Julius Caesar. That move created a "Julian" dynasty that ruled for the rest of the first century.
But there is a final reason America's Constitution will come up for renewed scrutiny. Hints of this reason are evident in the increasing number of films, books, fantasies and so on that are about galactic empires or real historic ones like those of Rome and China. America is an empire and there is no point in denying it. Romans were great road builders and the Chinese were great canal diggers. America's roads and canals are now melded into one huge transportation system: global aeronautic travel and commerce.