Thursday, April 20, 2006

At Least They Got Pyramids

I was discussing my anti-statist views with one of my fellow parishioners a while back, and she remarked that states were a positive development in the ascent of mankind. By way of illustrating her point, she surmised that, without states, the pyramids would not have been built. She had me there. I had to concede that a state was a prerequisite to pyramid building. I started to say that anyone who wanted a pyramid could hire people and buy materials and build one through purely voluntary means, but I realized that there was probably no good way to amass enough wealth to build a decent pyramid without subjecting a population to your will and taxing the crap out of it.

Were the pyramids worth subjection to a succession of dictators? Did Egyptian peasants under the yoke of their tyrannical rulers look up at the monuments and decide that their subjection was a small price to pay for having pyramids? Maybe knowing that posterity would look in wonder at the accomplishments of their civilization was sufficient consolation.

Think of all the advances in architecture and engineering that pyramid building accelerated! Surely every Egyptian benefited from vastly improved royal tomb construction and corpse preservation technology. Oh, and don’t forget the national pride and tourism revenue that Egypt enjoys today. Think of the pyramids as a shrewd investment in the future, an example of long term planning by a farsighted government. Cheops and Khufu knew that their projects would pay off big time in just a few millennia.

And think of all the jobs that were created by the pyramid projects! The Great Pyramid supposedly employed 20,000 people for twenty years. Think of the boost to the economy! This makes me wonder why the US doesn’t build some enormous pyramids out in the desert to house the remains of its dead officeholders. The grander and costlier the better so as to create enough jobs to eliminate unemployment and stimulate the economy significantly. Best of all, the US will impress posterity thousands of years in the future rather than be forgotten. If that’s not worth some extra taxes, I don’t know what is.


Vaughn said...

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Thoreau:

"Most of the stone a nation hammers goes toward its tomb only. It buries itself alive. As for the Pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs. I might possibly invent some excuse for them and him, but I have no time for it."

freeman said...

Weren't the Pyramids built by slave labor? If so, does that justify slavery?

Steve Scott said...

I'm sure there are a few politicians buried in the Hoover Dam. But that being said, the one thing bigger than the pyramids is the mentality we face when we talk about the state.

jomama said...

Border wall to come.

Amurika's Great Wall, it's last "greatest" monument.