Posted tagged ‘Gibbon’

Moderation and Its Discontents — Edward Gibbon edition

May 21, 2008

In the no-matter-how-much-things-change-they-remain-the-same department … in my insomnia last night I hit upon the following quote in Vol. V of Edward Gibbons’ The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

In the field of controversy I always pity the moderate party, who stand on the open middle ground exposed to the fire of both sides.

As ever, the thought is elegantly and economically phrased by Mr. Gibbon. But what caught my sleep dazed eye was the degree to which, in the current environment, I do not share Edward’s sympathy.

I mean, consider this…or this…or this. My inclination is to remain on the barricades; it’s hard for me to see how the moderate middle holds.

Update: Forgot to title the damn thing.

Image: John Leech “Horatius Cocles defending the bridge” from The Comic History of Rome, c. 1850. Source: Wikimedia Commons.