Results for 2017-09

Crassus the libertarian

23.9.2017 kl. 17:08 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

Something tells me Crassus was a libertarian.

One of the most successful politicians of the first century before the Christian era was Marcus Licinius Crassus, who was reputedly not only the richest man in Rome but also, by one accounting, the eighth-richest man who has ever lived. His fortune was pegged (by Pliny the Elder) at upward of two hundred million sesterces. Most of those millions were in real estate, some of it acquired in a manner strikingly like the operations of health-insurance companies a couple of millennia later. Crassus had his own private fire department, and if your house caught fire his representatives would offer to buy it on the spot, at a one-time-only, fire-sale price that would fall rapidly as the flames climbed. If you said yes, you’d get a few sesterces, after which Crassus’ firefighters would do their thing. If you said no, you’d end up with a pile of ashes. (No public option being available, few owners were in a position to quibble.)

Separator

Self-preservation

18.9.2017 kl. 17:13 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

We automatically mounted the machine gun for action. Then like animals we burrowed into the earth as if trying to find protection deep in its bosom. Something struck my back where I carried my gas mask, but I did not pay attention to it. A steel splinter broke the handle of my spade and another knocked the remains out of my hand. I kept digging with my bare hands, ducking my head every time a shell exploded nearby. A boy to my side was hit in the arm and cried out for help. I crawled over to him, ripped the sleeves of his coat and shirt open and started to bind the bleeding part. The gas was so thick now I could hardly discern what I was doing. My eyes began to water and I felt as if I would choke. I reached for my gas mask, pulled it out of its container – then noticed to my horror that a splinter had gone through it leaving a large hole. I had seen death thousands of times, stared it in the face, but never experienced the fear I felt then. Immediately I reverted to the primitive. I felt like an animal cornered by hunters. With the instinct of self-preservation uppermost, my eyes fell on the boy whose arm I had bandaged. Somehow he had managed to put the gas mask on his face with his one good arm. I leapt at him and in the next moment had ripped the gas mask from his face. With a feeble gesture he tried to wrench it from my grasp; then fell back exhausted. The last thing I saw before putting on the mask were his pleading eyes.

Corporal Frederick Meisel,
371 Infantry Regiment, 43rd Ersatz Brigade, 10th Ersatz Division, German Army

Separator