I have a post coming on statolatry but I ran across this in my research last night and given augger’s Jamie Foxx post, it seemed timely to promote it. I wanted to write something similar but when I tried I kept saying exactly the same thing in far less elegant and efficient prose. One can’t improve upon perfection.
May I introduce Victor Aguilar, Mr. Aguilar is a free-lance writer in Santa Barbara, California.
“People frequently call socialism a religion,” said Mises. “It is indeed the religion of self-deification.” Ozymandias of Percy Shelley’s famous poem exemplifies this self-deification. “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” Clearly he was a man who believed in his own omnipotence: such power that even the Mighty would despair. Yet the Mighty did not despair, as the poem states, “Nothing beside remains . . . boundless and bare the lone and level sands stretch far away.” All that remains is the wreckage of his statue, a monument no longer to his greatness but merely to his vanity.
Ozymandias was unique only for his audacity and not for his subsequent failure. His fate is shared by anyone who would put himself above the rule of God. As surely as the engineer is limited by the laws of physics, so the politician is limited by the laws of human action. It is not the “frown, and wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command” which directs people to thrive and create the monuments we see; rather it is their regard for their own self-interest. And these are monuments to the human spirit, not to the “cold command” of some ruler, no more endowed than his subjects.
“The market economy needs no apologists and propagandists. It can apply to itself the words of Sir Christopher Wren’s epitaph in St. Paul’s: Si monumentum requiris, circumspice. (If you seek his monument, look around.)”
Ozymandias was mocked by his sculptor, his monument shattered, and whatever works he refers to in his epitaph are long ago buried by the endless sand. There could be no more fitting end for a man who would put himself above God. His monument should stand as a warning to whoever would espouse as progressive the dogma of this king of kings from an antique land.
Clearly stated and succinctly written.
Percy Blythe Shelley’s full poem:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.