Monday, February 13, 2006

Clarksophilia or Johnsonitis? Which is Worse?

For my sins, mea culpa, I watch three programs on the BBC. These are Match of the Day, Doctor Who, and Top Gear. Unfortunately, my usual Sunday night Top Gear slot was recently filled, to borrow a phrase, by my local MP, Bonson Jorris (aka Boris Johnson); he was banging on about how good the Roman Empire was. What utter drivel, Bonson.


I'm sorry, but the Roman Empire was pure evil, particularly once Cicero’s Republic collapsed. Taxation, slavery, inflation, welfare, counterfeiting, massacre, compulsory state religion, mob rule, serfdom, death, war, and continual life and property destruction; thank you the Roman Empire. Ok, so in the immortal words of John Cleese there were the bleedin' roads. But only to help get the Roman armies of tax collectors nearer to your home to help crucify you more efficiently if you failed to cough up enough gelt on a regular basis.

Bollocks to the Romans. We were much better off without them, which is why the free peoples of Europe finally cast them off in the west without even much of a final whimper. I don't think it's any coincidence that the one European group which did manage to resist the earlier encroachment of the mighty Augustus was the Germanic Horde, heavily comprised of Beowulfian proto-Angles and proto-Saxons, who later founded both England and America; this Anglo-Saxon group is still continually associated with a bloody defiance of tyranny, albeit a defiance tempered by the patriotic misdirection of their own miserable empire-aspiring governments.

Speaking of which, I once had an excruciating evening out with some High Wampum Chiefs from HM Treasury. They banged on too, in the style of Jorris, about how the Roman Empire was the greatest thing before the invention of crumpets and how it was the seat of all modern civilization, a tradition which HM Treasury felt morally obliged to continue (for without our masters in Whitehall, all would collapse into a terrifying wode-painted blue whooping anarchy).

And just what was Bonson Jorris whittling on about? Was he saying we should leave the EU? Was he saying we should stay in the EU? Was he saying we should modify the EU? Or was he just enjoying an extended European holiday courtesy of the UK television license fee payer?

What a load of old cobbolds. Perhaps it was some huge joke, at my expense, based upon Saturnalian confusion? And to think he's my representative in the House of Commons!

I think my own impression of the Roman Empire is summed up by the reported speech of Caledonian chieftain, Calgacus, in A.D. 84:
We, the most distant dwellers upon the earth, the last of the free, have been shielded until now by our remoteness and by the obscurity which has shrouded our name. Now, the farthest bounds of Britain lie open to our enemies. There are no more nations beyond us – only waves, and rocks, and the Romans. Pillagers of the world, they have exhausted the land by their indiscriminate plunder. East and west alike have failed to satisfy them. To robbery, butchery and rapine, they give the lying name 'government'. They create a desert and call it peace. Which will you choose – to follow me into battle, or to submit to taxation, labour in the mines and all the other tribulations of slavery? Whether you are to endure these forever or take a quick revenge, this battle must decide.
That is the truth of Rome, Bonson; a monstrous regiment of tax collectors and other human offal, paying for their marble pillars in Rome with other people's blood. And that is the truth of our current EU masters, as they too seek to create an empire, which you would appear to sanction, based upon the sweat-shopping of their pusillanimous citizen serfs. Yes, it is no wonder that the EU came into being in the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, in Rome, in 1954, right next to the temple of Juno Moneta, the Goddess of Central Banking and Inflation. Where else could such a horror come into being?

But it would seem Bonson is enjoying these regular pillar-gazing junkets on the back of the license payer as much as the hundred grand a year he lifts in salary and expenses from the Commons (give or take, know what I mean guv). It would seem his nice little taxation earner has addled his once fine free market brain. If I have it right, at one point he was agreeing with some government-paid professor that Roman taxation was good because it stimulated the European economy.

Come on Jorris, you can do better than this? Or are you now simply bought and paid for by the state? That it should come to this. Surely there are more morally defensible ways of getting your children through the expense of private education?

In future I shall stick to my golden rule; if I see anything other than my three usual programs I shall switch immediately to Top Gear on UK People, UK Gold, or any of the other TV satellite stations where you can get Jeremy Clarkson 24 hours a day, God bless him; yes, Clarkson is a man with his own faults, but at least he has little aspiration to tell me how to live my life.

Oh, and by the way. While Bonson was swanning around on his Grand Tour of Europe, paid for with a combination of taxation salary and taxation license fee, he found enough spare time, despite the enormous pressures of being my MP, to write a book-of-the-series. No doubt all the profits will be going to charity. Ho hum.

Bonson Jorris, tax parasite. What a shower.

2 comments:

Julius Blumfeld said...

Yup. Good post. I agree. Johnson has lost it.

p.s. I seem to recall that Terence Kealey made a similar point about the gross statism of the Roman Empire and the forces that led to its collapse, in his wonderful book The Economic Laws of Scientific Research (well worth reading if you haven't already)

Julius

Jack Maturin said...

Too busy flogging through about six different books, at the moment. I pretend to read the five worthy ones, but always end up turning back to the Flashman; which is sad really, but far more entertaining! :-)

I'll look out for it though, next time I'm in a London bookstore.