Lessons from the past

Most young folks think history can’t teach us much. However, today’s news headlines beg us to consider otherwise.

For example, because some communities in California have implemented outside watering bans until next spring, households are turning to rainwater collection systems. Turns out these kinds of systems were well developed some 2,000 years ago in arid climates. Could old technology be the salvation of draught-afflicted areas in the digital age?

Many folks suspect virus technology only came into use recently, so development of a COVID vaccine is a dangerously new phenomenon. But, alas, a vaccine for polio saved the nation in the 1950s; a vaccine for smallpox came into use about the time our nation was born in the late 1700s; and, in truth, inoculation was used in India and documented in the ancient Hindu Veda scriptures more than a thousand years ago.

And what of the dead democracies of the world? Can the likes of ancient Rome instruct us in enlightened policies for our government today? The Roman historian Livy, writing about the time of Caesar, tells of the heavily progressive taxation system used in his nation hundreds of years earlier. It was considered a badge of honor, a sacred public duty and also a legal requirement for the rich to dig deeply into their pockets to support the government.

Where are such public-spirited people to be found in our democracy today? Certainly not in the Republican Party.

Kimball Shinkoskey 

Woods Cross, Utah