John Derbyshire’s pessimism is clouding his vision of history

John Derbyshire writes:

Some libertarians and hard-right conservatives subscribe to a kind of millennialism: soon, they dream, the contradictions inherent in the statist system—its demographic pressures and out-of-control fiat currency—will bring the whole thing crashing down. Then the proles will inherit the earth, and freedom will prevail by default. But there is another, likelier possibility: consider what happened to Rome or the British Empire once they passed the point where they were “too big to fail.” Whether the Inner Party maintains its grip on the nation even as it loses the world or the rule of law itself falls to barbarism, some boot will continue stamping on the human face.

Derbyshire’s pessimism is obscuring his view of history.

Western Rome did in fact fall. Wolves howled in what had been marketplaces. The sandaled foot (boots were Germanic, not Roman) stopped stomping on the human face in those parts of Western Rome, at least.


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