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Eunuchs Have A Long History In Government—Though Jackson Is Wrong To Suggest It For Obama

 

The Reverend Jesse Jackson has suggested in the past few days that Senator Barack Obama be castrated.

While I’ve written that I’m standing by Reverend Jackson in the broader sense, I oppose this specific suggestion.

I will say though that eunuchs have long played a role in government. In his classic three-volume work entitled The History of Government From Earliest Times, the late political scientist S.E. Finer made many references to eunuchs. 

( Above is 18th-century eunuch in some type of eunuch robe.)  

I count a total of 14 eunuch references in the index to the three volumes. They served in Rome, China, Persia and in other places.

From Finer—….Eunuchs, wherever we find them–in the late Roman and the Byzantine empires, in the Caliphate and Ottoman Empire, and in Imperial China—are humble menials, but some, more educated and talented then the rest rise to positions of influence….The Assyrian monarchs may have employed eunuchs extensively….If Herodotus is to be believed…Babylonia and Assyria had to supply the court with 500 boy-eunuchs a year….At first the ones mentioned by name are confidential emissaries, but from the time of Artaxerxes I the eunuchs appear in highly influential positions.

Why and how eunuchs could attain such importance is explained by Xenophon…”They are not made any less efficient horsemen…or less ambitious men…rather the contrary, and even if physically weaker ( which he doubts), steel makes the weak equal to the strong.”

Finer continues–“Men would put children, wives, and sweethearts first–Not so the eunuchs, whose chief affection would go to those who could make them rich, protect them, and give them high office. Furthermore, eunuchs were despised by the rest of mankind, hence they were dependant on a patron for protection.”  

Of course, it is also true that slaves throughout history were sometimes punished with castration.

Bottom line—While eunuchs have often held great power, they have not generally reached the top spot. Also, most eunuchs have been slaves or servants of one kind or another. If Reverend Jackson is angry at Senator Obama, I feel that some other expression of that anger would be more appropriate.

July 11, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Democrats, Republicans, Texans & All People Like Earmarks—Because Earmarks Are Good

Here is a link to a Houston Chronicle story about the widespread good done by federal earmarks in the Houston-area and in Texas.  

Our government has the right and the responsibility to promote the general welfare.  

Earmarks return taxpayer money back to the people in form of help for needed projects that would otherwise go undone, and in the form of the jobs these projects create. 

Here is some of what the story says–

•Earmarks are bipartisan. Sen. Hutchison was the state’s most successful proponent of such spending in 2007, bringing home $254 million in projects. Every other Texas lawmaker in Congress except one, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, sought them.

•Military and water projects accounted for nearly 85 percent of the funding of Texas’ earmarks. The military projects included the construction of barracks and other facilities designed to improve the lives of the troops. The water projects included flood-control and dredging programs….

The state won 18 earmarks worth about $6 million for a variety of cultural projects, including the Pearl Fincher Arts Museum in Spring, the Audie Murphy American Cotton Museum in the North Texas town of Greenville and a museum marking the site of a World War II prisoner-of-war camp in the Central Texas community of Hearne.

Other earmarks included agricultural research programs, such as a $242,000 project for bee studies at the Agriculture Research Service in Weslaco in Central Texas and a $111,000 grant for dairy and goat research at Prairie View A&M University.

Don’t be ashamed to tell friends and family that you support earmarks. Earmarks help people in all walks of life and all across the United States.

March 25, 2008 Posted by | Houston, Politics, Taxes---Yes!, Texas | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Holiday Gift Of A Pen Makes For Good Blog Notekeeping

 

My longtime friend, T.R.B, who lives in Ohio, sent me a pen for Christmas.

It is a nice leather pen with a printed pattern on it. 

She said in her note—“You are probably doing more typing than hand written text, but always nice to have a pen handy.”

While it’s true I type the blog on a computer, I do use a pen to write down notes and ideas for the blog. I keep a notebook near the computer for that purpose.

I will now use the pen I got from T.R.B for my blog notekeeping.

This is most helpful because up until now I’ve been using the above pictured bucket of sidewalk chalk for my notetaking.

Below is a picture of Reed Pens from ancient Egypt as seen at the Louvre.

In the government of Ancient Egypt, according to S.E. Finer in the first volume of his History of Government From Earliest Times, well-trained official scribes  were a cornerstone of Egyptian administration.

From the book—In short, everything in the administration revolves around writing. In the Egyptian view, administration and writing documents are one and the same and a ‘scribe’ in an official….there are scribes who are personally assigned to overseers of the individual administrative departments….the well-known principle that what cannot be verified through documents does not exist applies to the Egyptian administration…. Because of this, business letters often include the observation, ‘And you should keep my letter so it can serve as evidence for us on another occasion’.    

Both longtime friends, such as T.R.B, and the study of history, provide the context we need in our lives to help understand what is taking place around us.

   

December 28, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Books, History, Relationships | , , , , , , | 1 Comment