Sometimes, a bit of Monty Python answers all the mysteries of the universe:

– And what have they ever given us in return? 

– The aqueduct?

– What?

– The aqueduct.

– Oh. Yeah, they did give us that. That’s true, yeah.

– And the sanitation.

– Oh, yeah, the sanitation, Reg. Remember what the city used to be like?

– I’ll grant you the aqueduct and sanitation, the two things the Romans have done.

– And the roads.

– Yeah, obviously the roads. I mean the roads go without saying, don’t they? But apart from the sanitaion, the aqueduct and the roads…

– Irrigation.

– Medicine.

– Education.

– Yeah, yeah, all right, fair enough.

– And the wine.

– That’s something we’d really miss, Reg, if the Romans left.

– Public baths.

– And it’s safe to walk in the streets at night now.

– They certainly know how to keep order. Let’s face it, they’re the only ones who could in a place like this.

– All right, but apart from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Next time someone sends you one of those craptastic chain mail specials carping about how government never did anyone for anyone, send them this column from Bob Herbert along with a link to the above clip from Life of Brian.

And then ask them when the last time was that they drove on a federal interstate highway, or enjoyed the safety and defense of our national security apparatus or fine military establishment or federal law enforcement officials on the job.  Or what sort of public school system anyone in their family may have benefited from or how they enjoy their mail delivery.  And then see if they STFU.

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com