April 26, 2012

It's just an analogy: The EPA's approach to enforcement is like the way the Romans used crucifixion.

"EPA’s 'philosophy of enforcement,' said EPA’s Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz, is 'kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them.'"

Then everybody else complies.

What? Can't you handle analogies?

105 comments:

Sorun said...

If only Ben & Jerry's were in the oil business instead of ice cream. The world would be a happier place and we wouldn't even need an EPA.

Scott M said...

THE EPA KILLED OUR LORD!!!

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." - Thomas Jefferson.

Pastafarian said...

In this guy's defense: He's saying that because they don't have the resources to catch all violators, when they do catch one, they need to really make an example of him and prosecute him to the full extent of the law, in order to get other people/businesses to comply voluntarily, out of fear.

Even restated, it still sounds bad, doesn't it?

In my dealings with EPA and other similar bureaucratic agencies, it's always seemed to me as though the mid-level bureaucrats weren't as concerned with obtaining voluntary compliance by setting an example, as they were with getting a little thrill up their spine with the exercise of power.

The EPA, by the way, has an annual budget (if they still passed those) of something like $10 billion, with a b.

If they paid their bureaucrats a very generous salary of $80,000 on average, they'd be able to afford an army of 125,000 of them.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Roma vita!!

Quayle said...

Our palace guards debauching their way through countries, and tossing their used-up women out of chariots.

The emperor fiddling on Fallon while the economy burns.

Our troops far flung for no apparent reason, while our leaders back home dine sumptuously in Georgetown and talk only about process.

This EPA guy may be the most openly honest person in the administration.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'm Walter Peck, from the Environmental Protection Agency, third district.

TWM said...

Stupid anlogies aside and not defending the EPA at all, but isn't this sort of the standard approach to enforcement of any law? That is, the examples used as deterrence?

Sorun said...

A good time to contemplate the evil of oil and gas is when you're flying at 35,000 feet, and the plane is burning Exxon jet fuel.

I'm sure these EPA dudes burn a lot of fuel.

dispatches said...

The Romans and the Turks were separated by about 1000 years.

AJ Lynch said...

Is it wrong for me to guess this dweeb was bullied in school and now he has grown up, gotten a govt job and become the bully?

Balfegor said...

In this guy's defense: He's saying that because they don't have the resources to catch all violators, when they do catch one, they need to really make an example of him and prosecute him to the full extent of the law, in order to get other people/businesses to comply voluntarily, out of fear.

Key point is that "full extent of the law" has to be grossly disproportionate to the individual violation, in order to establish the appropriate deterrent effect despite spotty enforceability. That's why he used the (entirely appropriate) analogy to crucifixion. Pour encourager les autres and all that.

Nathan Alexander said...

I actually don't have much problem with it. It is an analogy based on the most effective method of behavior modification.

However, I do have a problem with how it has been carried out. For example, the recent case regarding EPA's bullying actions that was argued in front of the Supreme Court (and I can't believe no one has brought that up yet).

Michael Haz said...

What a surprise that the EPA doofus used Christianity/crucifixtion for his analogy, and not Islam/beheadings.

Balfegor said...

Re: Nathan Alexander:

I actually don't have much problem with it. It is an analogy based on the most effective method of behavior modification.

I don't disagree, but I think a lot of people have a visceral reaction against this approach, because they have a baseline expectation that the law should conform to notions of justice and fairness -- that would imply the punishments should be proportionate to crimes, that people should be punished only for their own wrongdoing, not for others' wrongdoing, etc. In fact, our law is a regulatory regime which has nothing whatsoever to do with either justice or fairness. Instead, it is concerned with, as you point out, behaviour modification. That is, our law is designed to visit grossly disproportionate punishments on individual victims in order to calibrate a deterrent effect on unrelated third parties.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Maybe they should change the title of the head if the EPA to Caesar. Then we could put anyone who violates our EPA laws into a gladiator ring with lions.

Whose with me?

edutcher said...

This guy is why the Pennsylvania Long Rifle was invented.

PS You want the analogy?

You can't handle the analogy!

(had to...)

Original Mike said...

"However, I do have a problem with how it has been carried out. For example, the recent case regarding EPA's bullying actions that was argued in front of the Supreme Court (and I can't believe no one has brought that up yet)."

First thing that came to my mind. And there are other examples. When you compare the "offense" with the EPA's actions, it's appalling.

This agency really needs to be reigned in. I think Romney could profitably make this a central plank of his campaign. And Mr. Armendariz's little analogy would make a great campaign ad.

Chuck66 said...

Any government that can give you everything, can also take everything away from you.

This gets back to crony capitalism. The gov't picks winners and losers.

Winners.....GE and Solyndra

Losers....small oil producers in the US. And politically unconnected utilities.

edutcher said...
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edutcher said...

PPS A very Sun Tzu attitude toward dissent ("Kill one, impress a thousand").

Obviously one of Van Jones' hires.

But, yes, this is emblematic of the sense of entitlement Dictator Zero has cultivated among the Feds the last 4 years, as much as the GSA party or the Secret Service orgy.

Hunter Clarke said...

The regional administrators now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local businesses in line.

Now, witness the power of this fully armed and operational bureaucracy.

rehajm said...
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Dave D said...

The realy problem with this analogy is that they took the first 5 GUYS they find when entering a town and crucify them. Not "dissidents". Not "possible suspects". Just the first 5 "citizens". The resulting fear obviously brought (temporary) compliance for "Pax Romania"? If this is in any way similar to how the EPA enforces compliance, then they should be put out of the regulatory business!

rehajm said...

Crucifixion? Good. Out of the door, line on the left, one cross each...

Original Mike said...

Remind me again what happened to the Roman Empire.

rehajm said...

" Men in shorts and comfortable attire forever fail to achieve a position of stature or authority where they would be capable of screwing the world..."

Al Armendariz is wearing a suit. Just sayin'.

Chuck66 said...

Good Paul Ryan item in NRO today. Read if you wish to be better informed than your neighbors.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/297023/ryan-shrugged-robert-costa

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Rome was a slave state based on conquest.
The slaves punished as wrong doers is
unimportant.
slaves punished for doing nothing wrong send ceasars messages
Czars are ceasars.

Rome wants its province back.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... The regional administrators now havedirect control over their territories. Fear will keep the local businesses in line.

Now, witness the power of this fully armed and operational bureaucracy..."

Nerd

EDH said...

"...they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them."

Let me guess.

None of the five chosen for crucifixion donated to the Roman Emperor's reelection campaign.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Remind me again what happened to the Roman Empire..."

In fairness, we should be lucky to last as long.

bridgecross said...

But that's the strategy behind all enforcement. Of any law. The authorities don't have to punish everybody who MIGHT transgress, when each punishment meted out also serves as an example to others.
Which is separate, of course, from your take on EPA thugs. Or worse, obtuse minor officials with crass analogies.

J Scott said...

I'm more offended by this guys lack of history. Whoever the Romans were oppressing, they certainly weren't oppressing "turks".

ricpic said...

Anyone still doesn't see that our rulers are brutal statist thugs?

sydney said...

The thing is, their regulations are so byzantine that it's practically impossible not to violate them somehow, no matter how careful you are. Not just the EPA, but OSHA, CMS, FTC, and all the various acronym departments, as well. Used to be, they would investigate based on a complaint. Now they do random investigations. Even when you do your best to comply, it often isn't enough. So the analogy of grabbing the first five random guys is very apt.

And yeah, they are armed. Here in Ohio, even the Pharmacy Board can bring a weapon into your office while they investigate you.

Nora said...

Only there were not Turkish villages at the time of the Romans.

If they make mistake of over thousand years on this one, what else they get wrong?

Chef Mojo said...

It's not the analogy that bothers me. It's the arrogance. The arrogance that it takes to feel comfortable using such an analogy in the first place, being a statement on the power this one individual wields.

Original Mike said...

"In fairness, we should be lucky to last as long."

At the rate we're going ...

Original Mike said...

We've had it all wrong. Those weren't Greek columns at Obama's acceptance speech. They were Roman.

X said...

I'm OK with it as long as when government malfeasance is found every 10th bureaucrat is killed.

MadisonMan said...

What do you expect from a ChemE?

Original Mike said...

The EPA should resurrect the slave galley. It could row from town to town, so all could see the wages of harming a snail darter.

bagoh20 said...

If this methodology was ever needed it would be in crucifying bureaucrats for the jobs, raises and prosperity they have stolen from the American people. We'll just do 5 of them at random to send a message.

Methadras said...

An agency that neither does it's job nor does it well when forced to. They are another useless appendage on the body of the citizenry.

Quayle said...

Is there any way to chain our so-called leaders to the ship of state - to the legislation they pass and sign?

They should be personally responsible, jointly, for the incorrect overruns and unexpected costs, and go down with the ship if it was faulty.

Row well and stay financially viable, my public servant! Row well!

Paul said...

I wonder how the ATF, FBI, CIA, DIA, Secret Service, Homeland Security, etc.. view citizens.

I be not much different than the EPA.

But then, it all goes back to the top right. How Obama views it.

MadisonMan said...

Is there any way to chain our so-called leaders to the ship of state - to the legislation they pass and sign?

That's the real problem. Who passed and signed the legislation that Dr. EPA is helping to enforce? Is this what they actually had in mind, and if not, then why was it passed? (If it was what they meant, well, then, mission Accomplished, I guess?)

It seems to me he's trying to be an efficient bureaucrat -- I can't fault him for that.

The real problem, I think, is the overwhelming number of rules and regulations the Govt inflicts on its citizenry.

chickenlittle said...

Notice how he smirks right before he makes his analogy?

Fugly shmuck

Beorn said...

The new civility...same as the old.

bagoh20 said...

I've been regulated by the EPA for decades. I've just learned to kiss their ass without thinking about it. I simply imagine them all to be Jennifer Aniston and act accordingly.

Over the years I have been forced to waste tons of money, time, and even do things that were obviously bad for the environment or dangerous to my employees, because there is no arguing with these people. They have their policies and they often can't even explain why they have them. But, if you get one little toady pissed off, you will simply end up laying off people to pay for it. It's just not worth it.

I'm a rational environmentalist. My undergraduate degree which I almost finished before changing direction was Environmental Science & Engineering. I was on a career path to hopefully work for the EPA. Reagan's rhetoric and expected budget cuts helped me decide otherwise, and I am eternally grateful.

Sorry I voted against you Ronnie. I was young and stupid, and you were right.

ndspinelli said...

EPA's Chuck Colson.

Original Mike said...

"Sorry I voted against you Ronnie. I was young and stupid, and you were right."

I'm sure he forgives you.

cubanbob said...

The EPA needs to be disbanded and all of it's employees fired. The congress creates a new agency with a much more narrowed scope and hires new employees, none of which were former EPA employees. Pour encourager les autres.

Too bad President Romney and the next Republican Congress won't do this along with host of other agencies that also need to be purged of Little Eichmann's.

LarsPorsena said...
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prairie wind said...

But then, it all goes back to the top right. How Obama views it.

Maybe. I think it more likely that bureaucracy ends up like this inevitably, even with an honorable man as president. The problem isn't the guy at the top; the problem is that the bureaucracy is answerable to no one.

tim maguire said...

INteresting that so many of the people here trying to put this in p[erspective, defend the EPA or otherwise be the voice of reason keep talking about "behavior modification" and "punishment fits the crime."

What does any of that have to do with this video? He's talking about the brutal murder of innocents ("first 5 guys they find").

Sure, it's brutal murder of innocents for a purpose (setting aside for the moment the value of that purpose), but it's still about killing innocents, not punishing law breaking.

n.n said...

The authority granted to certain civil servants needs to be withdrawn. They have suffered progressive corruption and assumed the role of tyrants.

Larry J said...

sydney said...
The thing is, their regulations are so byzantine that it's practically impossible not to violate them somehow, no matter how careful you are. Not just the EPA, but OSHA, CMS, FTC, and all the various acronym departments, as well. Used to be, they would investigate based on a complaint. Now they do random investigations. Even when you do your best to comply, it often isn't enough.


This is likely a feature, not a bug. Airline pilots used to complain that the Federal Air Regulations were so contradictory that it was impossible to make a flight without breaking at least one regulation. If anything happened, the FAA always had something to charge the pilot with. Likewise, there's a book by a civil liberties lawyer who says that the average American commits 3 felonies a day (that the title of the book). According to the author, there are thousands of federal felonies on the books. Any prosecutor can find something to charge anyone with if sufficiently motivated. Why should the bureaucracies be any different?

This isn't likely to end well.

Roger J. said...

Will give the douchebag credit for honesty; less so for judgment.

Shoot him. As an example of course for other EPA regional administrators.

Balfegor said...

Re: tim maguire:

What does any of that have to do with this video? He's talking about the brutal murder of innocents ("first 5 guys they find").

Well, les autres will be just as encouraged by punishment of the innocent as by punishment of the guilty, so long as they are made to believe there is some connection between guilt and punishment.

bagoh20 said...

I don't like the EPA, but I have to admit that without it, our air and water would be in much worse shape, and it was very bad when the agency started. Here in Los Angeles the air is astoundingly cleaner compared to when I first came here 30 years ago, despite a much larger population and many more cars now. I just don't see how that would have been possible without it and it's draconian regulations.

The cost was more expensive cars and everything else as well as a great exodus of certain manufacturing jobs to the far east. Much of the pollution went there with them. Now Los Angeles gets a lot of stuff from China, it's air filtered by thousands of miles of ocean, and surviving companies are much cleaner. All things considered, I'm mostly happy with that trade off.

The thing about such an agency, is that it was formed to solve a problem, and it's success should shrink it, but it grows instead and then needs to look for, or even invent, problems to work on. That's where we are now, and the costs are far outstripping the benefits that were low hanging fruit a in the past. The agency should have the same inflation adjusted budget it did 25 years ago.

bagoh20 said...

The point in killing the first 5 guys who have done nothing wrong is to send the message that we are brutal and uncompromising, so just do whatever we tell you without question.

That is the attitude of many, but not all EPA people. It's just simple bullying, and the Romans are a good role model for that.

Pogo said...

" they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them.'""

"So when Obama washed his hands before the EPA, saying, “I am innocent of this firm's blood; see to it yourselves.”

Everyone in the gubmint is acting like Al Capone in their little corner of Chicagoland USA.

Obama set the tone (“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” ... "If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard."), and lets it happen.

Face it: we're subjects and serfs; citizens no longer. We must kiss the ring -if not the ass- of our lords and superiors.

This is less metaphor than you'd think.

Original Mike said...

"The thing about such an agency, is that it was formed to solve a problem, and it's success should shrink it, but it grows instead and then needs to look for, or even invent, problems to work on."

Yep. This appears to be the trajectory for all organizations.

lemondog said...

Stalin.

Show trials.

gerry said...
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Rocketeer said...

Well, les autres will be just as encouraged by punishment of the innocent as by punishment of the guilty, so long as they are made to believe there is some connection between guilt and punishment.

Actually, I think this is 180 degrees opposed from the intent. They are killed, though they are innocent, so that the others will think "My God, if they will do this to an innocent man, what will they do to the guilty" The terror, and intended effect, is magnified by the very deliberate arbitrariness of the act.

Which is why his little ugly anaology is apt: that's precisely the reaction the EPA is after.

Roger J. said...

It will be interesting to see if this scuzz ball survives his comments--I see a bus in his future, and he will be underneath, looking up. (Its a great clip for a Romney campaign ad)

Original Mike said...

Surely Obama can figure out a way to blame Bush.

garage mahal said...

Enforcing laws is like the holocaust.

Scott M said...

Cntrian Crucfiction.
Mathias Oh.
Centurian: Nasty, eh?
Mathias: Hm. Could be worse.
Centurian: What do you mean 'could be worse'?
Mathias: Well, you could be stabbed.
Centurian: Stabbed? Takes a second. Crucifixion lasts hours. It's a slow,'orrible death.
Mathias: Well, at lest it gets you out in the open air.

Alex said...

expecting intelligent comments from garage is like praying for the Sun to switch off.

Roger J. said...

Alex--wouldnt that help reduce global warming?

Original Mike said...

"I apologize to those I have offended and regret my poor choice of words,” Region 6 EPA Administrator Al Armendariz said in a statement provided to The Daily Caller. “It was an offensive and inaccurate way to portray our efforts to address potential violations of our nation’s environmental laws. I am and have always been committed to fair and vigorous enforcement of those laws. ”

Sure you are, Al. Sure you are.

Scott M said...

Alex--wouldnt that help reduce global warming?

No. The sun has nothing to do with it. It's the human-generated CO2 that's the culprit. Keep your narrative's straight.

MadisonMan said...

The thing about such an agency, is that it was formed to solve a problem, and it's success should shrink it, but it grows instead and then needs to look for, or even invent, problems to work on.

This is exactly the problem, with this agency and any other bureaucracy. You have to justify your existence, meaning you have to find "problems" to solve, or expand your core mission.

Pogo said...

"I am and have always been committed to fair and vigorous enforcement of those laws."

So that's what you call random crucifixions.

he accidentally provided an excellent example of government bullshit, whose real meaning is entirely the opposite.

Alex said...

garage must be feeling very giddy these days. He thinks that either Walker is about to be indicted or recalled. Also garage thinks that the people of WI are going to throw the GOP majority out and institute socialist/progressive utopia in Jan 2013 and everything will be fine. All the private sectory manufacturing jobs will magically come back!

Roger J. said...

Madison Man--I think, in general, you are correct--but I would recommend to you the late James Q Wilson's book on bureaucracy. Some bureaucratic agencies survive by maintaining a tight hold on their mission without involving expansion. Its a great read (Wilson's book) and explains much about modern bureaucracy--

Roger J. said...

One suspects this douchebag administrator is now getting a lot of "guidance" from senior administration officials. And the press people in EPA are scramblig to create a narrative. One can only imagine what his email queue looks like. Yet another unforced error by the administration.

Original Mike said...

I don't know who he thinks he's apologizing to. The one owed an "apology" is this guy's boss, not the public.

David said...

I think he should analogize to anyone who might have been offended by his analogy.

David said...

Hoosier Daddy said...
I'm Walter Peck, from the Environmental Protection Agency, third district.


It's true. Peck has no pecker."

Quaestor said...

bagoh20 wrote:
We'll just do 5 [EPA bureaucrats] at random to send a message.

Give 'em the slow crucifixion. No nails, just string 'em up and let 'em starve.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"The thing about such an agency, is that it was formed to solve a problem, and it's success should shrink it, but it grows instead and then needs to look for, or even invent, problems to work on.""The agency should have the same inflation adjusted budget it did 25 years ago."

Well, yes, symptoms identified.

"The agency should have the same inflation adjusted budget it did 25 years ago."

Not so fast - the symptoms are apparent and have been ID'd...the only way to forever rid ourselves of these symptoms is to take the scalpel to them. There will always be hangers-on that make the case for the continuation thereof; fact is, the agencies become increasingly parasitic. There is no justification from an ROI standpoint. Beyond that they are grand political and social engineering schemes coming and going.

David said...

Roger J. said...
It will be interesting to see if this scuzz ball survives his comments--I see a bus in his future, and he will be underneath, looking up.


Think again, Roger. He's civil service, among other things. You might have trouble firing him if he actually crucified actual Turks.

He may have apologized. He may even mean the apology. But you can bet that he's a hero to many within the agency.

In short, he was telling the truth.

Karnival said...

And we are the Barbarians at his gate. See you in Nov.

EMD said...

These people are neither civil nor servants.

Kirk Parker said...

Good grief, crucifixion is so ancient!

Let's move up a millenium, and impale the EPA guy who said this.

Or maybe one millenium isn't enough--let's make it two, and hang him from a lamp post.

(Wow, this analogy stuff is really fun!)

William said...

And they say Marines lack negotiating skills in their dealings with prosttutes....Point of order: It was the Turks (Ottomans) who conquered Byzantium (the eastern Roman capital), not other way around. This administrator will soon be evaluating the tread on Washington buses and making sure that they conform to EPA guidelines.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

bagoh is right, here in southern California the air pollution situation has improved amazingly since I was a kid, when we occasionally had football practice cancelled on account of smog. But I, too, have had to deal with our own version of the Jacobins known as the California Air Resources Board, or CARB. There used to be a saying, "Those who can't do, teach." In the engineering field, it is, "Those who can't do, regulate." The sickness that has got hold of California is our need to always be one step ahead of the rest of the country. For example, I need to put a new catalytic converter in my car. I will buy the cat online and do all the work myself. There are two essentially identical versions available for my car, one for California and one for the other forty-nine states. The first is $250, the second $99. Gas stations are required to pump a special blend for my state which adds about 30 cents per gallon. Now, I am not against catalytic converters, and I am not against clean-burning fuel, but why in God's name must California have standards that are just an eensy bit higher than the benighted other forty-nine? No wonder businesses and private citizens are fleeing this state in droves, and no wonder California's finances are in the toilet.

Christy said...

There was a reason we called the Chief Environmental Officer at our corporation the "designated inmate."

BTW, when the Roman Governor of Britannia, Agricola, took over he marched troops up to York and Chester, terrorizing Britons as he went. Once they fell into line he did deal with them fairly. Thus sayeth Tacitus, Agricola's son-in-law.

Cedarford said...

Nathan Alexander said...
I actually don't have much problem with it. It is an analogy based on the most effective method of behavior modification.

However, I do have a problem with how it has been carried out. For example, the recent case regarding EPA's bullying actions that was argued in front of the Supreme Court (and I can't believe no one has brought that up yet).

=====================
Just as cutting the heads off imperialist EPA agents and sending them back to DC EPA HQ in a box with a threat to send more heads back would be a most effective act of "behavior modification".

Somehow, I think this crucifixion quote will live on in the conservative movement. And be a nice quote to dredge up when or if Republicans get power again and wish to roll back draconian EPA powers that are destroying theeconomy or property rights of owners with little or no environmental gain.

drozz said...

so...why is it that to be crucified you have to be innocent"

PatCA said...

His philosophy permeates government. It explains a lot of TSA behavior, which more and more seems like a criminal third world enterprise.

Yes, our air is somewhat cleaner, as are our rivers and lakes.

That does not mean, however, that any government edict is good. It's gone too far, but how do we stop it?

Leora said...

For many years I had a xerox of the first page of the first chapter of my Human Resources text book that began "In ancient times personnel practices were often crude and barbarous." I guess government procedures have not progressed.

Revenant said...

Just an analogy, but an apt one.

Michael McNeil said...

Remind me again what happened to the Roman Empire.

What happened to the Roman Empire is that from the foundation of the Republic in 509 BC to the fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD (a total of 1,961 years) it was the longest lived state in history.

Rome was a slave state based on conquest. The slaves punished as wrong doers is unimportant. slaves punished for doing nothing wrong send ceasars messages Czars are ceasars.

Hardly. If Rome were nothing but brutal tyranny it would have speedily collapsed — as even the Athenian Empire collapsed — because Athens, despite (or perhaps because of) its democracy, couldn't resist tampering in the internal affairs of its subject peoples. Instead, as noted before, Rome lasted for ages — and it did so by, for a long, long time, allowing its constituent city-states (the fundamental elements of the Empire) a very large amount of autonomy.

As historian Edward Togo Salmon put it (in Encyclopaedia Britannica's article “Rome, Ancient”):

“In the empire at large, Flavians and Antonines, like the better Julio-Claudians, aimed at stability in order that its inhabitants might live in security and self-respect. In this they largely succeeded. Gibbon's famous description of the 2nd century as the period when men were happiest and most prosperous is not entirely false. […]

“The empire was a vast congeries of peoples and races with differing religions, customs, and languages, and the emperors were content to let them live their own lives. Imperial policy favoured a veneer of common culture transcending ethnic differences, but there was no deliberate denationalization. Ambitious men striving for a career naturally found it helpful, if not necessary, to become Roman in bearing and conduct and perhaps even in language as well (although speakers of Greek often rose to exalted positions). But local self-government was the general rule, and neither Latin nor Roman ways were imposed on the communities composing the empire. […]

“Where possible, the emperors kept direct administration from Rome to a minimum (except perhaps in Egypt), and the 2nd century was the most flourishing period of urban civilization that the empire ever knew. […]

“It is impossible not to be impressed by the spectacle of the Roman Empire in its 2nd-century heyday, with its panorama of splendid and autonomous communities.”

SGT Ted said...

Hey, maybe a group of us can crucify 5 or so Federal EPA Administrators, or maybe 5 Democrat Party Congressman, to send them a message.

SGT Ted said...

But local self-government was the general rule, and neither Latin nor Roman ways were imposed on the communities composing the empire.

Nope, just the sword. And taxes. And self determination.

Anthony said...

Ignoring the Romans/Turks problem, is the rest of his statement even true? The Romans could certainly be cruel, but I don't ever remember reading about them summarily executing the first five citizens of a village.

Michael McNeil said...

Nope, just the sword.

The sword came out only if the locals had the temerity to revolt against Roman suzerainty.

It's also worth noting that, though the Republic and the Empire were not democratic in structure, and the Empire not even really republican (though it pretended to be so), the provincial city-states (civitates) in addition to local autonomy were free to choose their own constitutional arrangements, and though the highest prestige went to constitutions similar to that of Republican Rome, there was no compulsion for the local cities to set themselves up that way, and some chose to be highly democratic.

Michael McNeil said...

Anthony: I agree. That's apocryphal.