Madness in High Places
I am just back from a pilgrimage to Machiavelli's town, San Casciano, and I'm happy to report that the sort of "virile Christianity" he favored is still alive and active in that lovely little town in the Pesa Valley. On the walls of a small church I read an announcement of an upcoming celebration, and the text read "This is not folklore, it is a religious celebration. The body of Christ will pass through the city..." and so on.
In other words, "get serious!"
Then I read the newspapers, and found that world leaders have taken leave of common sense. Four items pretty much clinch the case:
- First, the appointment of Robert Mugabe, the well-known lunatic and mass murderer who has destroyed Zimbabwe, to the post of chief of tourism for the United Nations.
- Second, the pronouncements of Italy's prime minister, Mario Monti, on the latest soccer scandal.
- Third, the expulsions of Syrian ambassadors from Western capitals.
- Fourth, the stern lecture from the Poles in response to Obama's reference to "Polish death camps."
Mugabe should be hung, not honored, and an organization that gives him a symbolic medal should be shut down in disgrace. It's long past time to throw the UN out of the U.S. If they like Mugabe so much, let them rent space in Harare and let us rent out the buildings on the East River. I have often referred to the UN as "the world's greatest organized crime organization," and the choice of the Zimbabwian criminal-in-chief provides further evidence (as if we needed any).
Monti, a man I have long admired and respected, let loose with a long diatribe against corruption, in the course of which he proposed shutting down the Italian soccer league for 2-3 years. That's political folly, and he was quickly turned into a laughing-stock. If that's the way to respond to scandal, the wags wrote, why not shut down the government? Or, with reference to the "Vatileaks" scandal, why not close all the churches? Or all the banks?
You'd think an Italian prime minister had enough to do, without gratuitously angering the country's soccer fans (that is, most Italians). He does, but he, too, is a fan, so he thought he should do something. Wrong. He should stick to his core business of saving the country, which has now become complicated by ongoing earthquakes very near my current location in the Florence suburbs.