This week's column:
"Upon the mount that highest o’er the wave / Rises was I, in life or pure or sinful,
From the first hour to that which is the second, / As the sun changes quadrant, to the sixth." – Dante, Paradiso: Canto XXVI
As Dante makes his way through heaven, he meets Adam, the first man, who thus recounts that he remained in the earthly paradise until his sin caused him to be expelled forever. Thereafter, man was cursed to labor by the sweat of his brow, woman, to bring forth children in pain; humanity cursed Adam and Eve for the frailty they evinced and which we all share.
The frailty was on display on Wednesday, when the new Congress, including triumphant tea party candidates, took the house floor. As Karl Denniger points out, just as, in Dante’s telling, it took Adam from dawn to noon to commit his first sin, so the tea party capitulated in precisely six hours. This is nothing more than a coincidence, of course, but it is an amusing one. As Adam’s fall provides the archetype for human frailty, the great tea party betrayal demonstrates the untrustworthiness of politicians.