Literally Rome

To Repeat:

In actuality, the acquisition of the right to vote by those outside the city had little meaning to all but the wealthy. Membership in the Roman assemblies was not done by election – it was a direct democracy. Voting was done by tribes, and all citizens were assigned to a particular tribe (often based on wealth) where each tribe voted as one. However, to vote a person had to appear in person which was something only the wealthy could afford to do. But citizenship was not eternal. If necessary, an individual’s citizenship could be revoked; this latter condition was mostly reserved for criminals.

Every five years a citizen had to register himself at the Villa Publica for the census, declaring the name of his wife, the number of children, and all of his property and possessions (even his wife’s clothes and jewels were declared). Every Roman citizen believed the government had a right to know this information. All of this data was reviewed and evaluated by the city’s magistrates (censors) who could “promote or demote each citizen according to his worth.” Tom Holland wrote on the value of the census, “Classes, centuries, and tribes, everything that enabled a citizen to be placed by his fellows, were all defined by the census.”

Juxtaposed to discussions at the Supreme Court today:

Multiple times during Tuesday’s hearing on the Trump administration’s move to add a citizenship question to the census, Gorsuch returned to vague allusions to an unsuccessful 2016 Supreme Court case that dealt with that possibility.

Gorsuch’s lines of inquiry didn’t get too much traction at Tuesday’s arguments, which mostly focused on the technical considerations of Secretary Wilbur Ross’ decision to include the question. But, in a way, they were appropriate, given that overhauling how legislative districts are drawn — a massive voting rights change that would diminish the political power of urban and diverse communities — appears to be the endgame of the current push to add the question.

Getting your wish

Haven’t read the Obama interview in Rolling Stone yet, but the teaser at Grist puts an interesting gloss on the climate change debate getting injected into the fall presidential campaign:

He made some remarkable statements, including his belief that the millions of dollars pouring into the anti-science disinformation campaign will drive climate change into the presidential campaign.

Really hard to say about that, but fun to speculate. I would suspect that, as much as the objectively pro-warming crowd prides itself on being aggressive, this is one issue they probably would rather not talk about.

But they won’t be able to help themselves. And so they will call out all the scientists trying to pull the wool over the eyes and get more funding for their research… I actually can’t follow the logic of corruption they project onto scientists. But at some point, if AGW does get some play in the campaign – and it’s more than just about Romney lying about what he used to say (because he will be lying) – will the question become why are hippies trying to stifle job creation? Or will it be why does the government want to force every last American into Manhattan and onto subway trains to get to work? The window is still way, way over on the side of ‘you hippies are crazy.’

This is the level of discourse we’ve come to expect, and to a great extent, deserve. Until the window moves and/or the debate is framed in a way that puts big business on the defensive. Who know; it might be something Romney is able to accomplish all on his own. I would not being above reserving a special place in the history of the survival of the planet for Willard. Would you?

Just think: hippie children might one day be named for the candidate who inadvertently rendered climate change denial inoperative.