“In his wonderfully humane book The Lily: Evolution, Play, and the Power of a Free Society, Daniel Cloud makes the following so-obvious-nobody-ever-quite-said-it observation about the role of ships in the ancient world: “Once you own a ship, you, like a honeybee, are wherever you are voluntarily. If you choose to, you can sail away. You’re in a position to negotiate with the king. He may put you in a ghetto, but the joke is on him, because you can fly; he’s the one that’s rooted in one place like a shrub. In fact, if you can find such a crazy place, you can base yourself where there is no king, where everything is up for negotiation, someplace across the sea like Attica or America. Classical civilization as a whole died a very long and gruesome physical death once there was no longer any place you could sail to if you wanted to get away from Caesar.” At its apex—which is just about now—the realm of politics is very much like the world-girding empire Augustus inherited . We even call our most unaccountable government functionaries czars, which is a corruption of the word Caesar. There are some places you can go—the penumbras of the shadow banking system, the cash economy, or small, narrow-purpose safe havens—but for the broadly law-abiding middle class in the early years of this century, Caesar is everywhere.”
Excerpt From: Kevin D. Williamson. “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome.” HarperCollins, 2013-05-01. iBooks.
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