Above is the Robert Taft statue beneath his carillon, whose bells can still be heard hourly from the Capitol. A fine way to kick off what will be a recurring feature on this blog.
Here’s Russell Kirk on Taft:
From the Second World War, as from the First, no increase of liberty and democracy would come: on the contrary, in most of the world a host of squalid oligarchs must be the principal beneficiaries, whatever side might win. For the United States, then, war was preferable to conquest or to economic ruin; but if those calamities were not in prospect, America should remain aloof. The blood of man should be shed only to redeem the blood of man, Taft might of said with Burke: “the rest is vanity; the rest is crime.”
Taft’s prejudice in favor of peace was equaled in strength by his prejudice against empire. Quite as the Romans had acquired an empire in a fit of absence of mind, he feared that America might make herself an imperial power with the best of intentions—and the worst of results. He foresaw the grim possibility of American garrisons in distant corners of the world, a vast permanent military establishment, and intolerant “democratism” imposed in the name of the American way of life, neglect of America’s domestic concerns in the pursuit of transoceanic power, squandering of American resources upon amorphous international designs, the decay of liberty at home in proportion as America presumed to govern the world: that is, the “garrison state,” a term he employed more than once. The record of the United States as administrator of territories overseas had not been heartening, and the American constitution made no provision for a widespread and enduring imperial government. Aspiring to redeem the world from all the ills to which flesh is heir, Americans might descend, instead, into a leaden imperial domination and corruption.
It should take no pointing out that all of this has come to pass. And we would like your help, dear readers, especially those of you residing in the DC area, in providing evidence of our lapse into “leaden imperial domination and corruption.”
I’ve long been an admirer of Richard Anderson‘s “Scenes from the Imperial Capital” blog feature, which refers, of course, to Ottawa. And I’ve contributed one lunch to Rod’s View from Your Table series. Then of course there’s the ur-version of this sort of thing over at The Dish. Scenes from the Fourth Rome will be something of a combination of the two types; mostly reader-generated photos, but with a focus on DC.
Anything germane to imperial decadence and decline is fair game; forgotten statues, derelict old homes, drunk interns puking on government buildings, whatever. The sky’s the limit; get creative. Submissions will be screened for quality, but I hope to be able to keep a light touch.
Here are a few ground rules for guidance:
- Photographs must be reasonably clear and well-composed, with an accompanying description if you wish.
- Anonymous submissions are allowed, or if you would like a particular site/blog/flickr/instagram credited, we are happy to help promote local photographers.
- If you do not reside in DC, fear not! We expect to have submissions mostly from here, but Fourth Rome could be construed in multiple ways and we’re happy to consider those from elsewhere.
- For god’s sake don’t be touristy, but don’t feel the need to stay out of your photos either. For example, there’s probably a lot you could do with a basketball and Edmund Burke’s statue down on Mass Ave.
Send your photos to [email protected], and you may see them published here. Two more after the jump.