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The problems we are encountering today, as overwhelming and often lethal as they seem, are only marginally worse than those encountered by the earliest civilizations. In fact, they are only worse because there are more of us and we are able to spread both the misery and news of that misery faster and wider than ever before. We are more like our forebears than we would like to think. Hiding behind our technological advances, which can preserve life and end it with greater efficiency, we are still social barbarians. We still cheat, rob, kill, and sell fellow men and women out of sheer greed, lust, and ambition  — from the boardrooms of New York, London, Riyadh, Bahrain, and Shanghai to the streets of Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Mogadishu, Ciudad Juarez, Islamabad, and Baltimore. The methods may have changed but the plunder has not.

In order to understand our current social, political, and economic upheaval  it is enlightening and sometimes comforting to review the lessons of history. That is the purpose of this blog, to place our turmoil in historical perspective, and, in so doing, perhaps discover a way for the civilization that has produced unimaginable scientific and technological achievements to match those strides socially. To become, in a word, decent.

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