Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Historical inaccuracy

I'd heard some years ago about the dispute between the United Way and the Boy Scouts of America, and while researching I discovered this article.

Jack Kime, a supporter of the Boy Scouts said:

I register my refusal to passively sit and watch my America go the way of a Roman Empire, drowning in decadency and politically correct insanity.

The author, Austin Cline, responds:

Ironically, the Roman Empire was transformed into a Christian Empire where church and state were deeply intertwined.

For this discussion I'm going to avoid the clear bias on both sides, as well as any possible historical inaccuracy in the second statement, and comment on what the author was trying to say. Essentially, the author says that it wasn't decadency and politically correct insanity that caused the downfall of the Roman Empire, it was Christianity. Furthermore, the author asserts that decadency and political correctness are the opposite of Christianity. The illogic here is quite clear, the person who doesn't want America to become like Rome is actually trying to make sure America becomes like Rome! If a person says, "I want to live longer, so I'm going to smoke a cigarette", is that ironic? I would argue no. Stupid, certainly, ignorant and naive, but not ironic, it's just wrong. If I say, "I need 4 of something, so I'm going to add 2 and 3", is that irony? Well obviously not, everyone should agree. What is the difference between this and the blog post above? Not very much.