I wish the Roman Empire never fell. There. I said it. I’m one of “those” people.
I won’t deny it, I’m one of those god-awful Roman empire fanboys. In every real-world strategy game I play, I always look for the most Rome-like civilization I can pick, and immediately play the crap out of them. In Civilization 5, I spent my first dozen games playing as Augustus Caesar, and I never picked America until months after playing. If I’m playing a historically based game, I almost immediately search up the Roman or Byzantine empires to see if there are available to play.
In some ways, I am loyal to the idea of Rome, and I adamantly believe that the fall of Rome was the single biggest misstep in all of history, bar only the Bronze Age collapse. I believe I would have been loyal to Rome until the end.s
My appreciation of the Roman empire, however, is not insanity. I would have been one of the defectors, most likely. I would be unloyal to my favorite empire in history.
I would be unloyal because the Roman empire betrayed itself. Rome fell due to massive corruption and economically unsustainable land grants, forcing the empire into massive debt. In response to this, the politicians of Rome sought to create stability by creating a sense of loyalty to the state, for the state’s sake.
Loyalty is a failed ideal. More specifically, loyalty is a failed ideal when one’s loyalty is placed in ephemerals. Loyalty to men and women overlooks the idea that they could become corrupted, and being that the state, even the Roman state, is comprised of human beings, loyalty to human beings overlooks their fallibility.
I resent the idea of an original sin, or that humanity is inherently imperfect. The idea of perfection may just as soon be a flawed, as the idea that humanity is inherently flawed. That said, the investment of loyalty should not overlook the possibility of a default. When giving loyalty, you should never cast a blind eye to one’s vices whilst focusing solely on their virtues.
I would be disloyal to Rome in that sense because Rome was disloyal to Rome. The discipline, strength, glory, honor, ambition, and governance that once marked the greatest civilization of the west would have been twisted into debauchery, weakness, corruption, stagnancy, and chaos. I remain true to the ideal of Rome, a civilization of strength, prowess, ambition, and achievement. Rome was not true to Rome.
Thus, loyalty is best invested in virtues and no such thing as can carry a vice. Loyalty is for ideas, which exists outside a realm of defilement, and for ideals, which exist as things we might strive for. I would never be loyal to a state, but I would always be loyal to the principles of the state. I object to the actions of the United States in many cases, both domestic and abroad. I believe (with a few exceptions) that the constitution upon which this nation was founded on is one of the best documents in all of history. I am loyal to the idea of an honorable state, not the facade of one.
Until next time,