In 79AD near on the coast of Western Italy near the city of Naples, the Roman diplomat Shimkusius was walking with his friend Pliny (the Elder), a philosopher. They were discussing the recent increase in smoke emanating from Mt. Vesuvius.
"We should consider closing the port and moving the people further from the mountain" stated Pliny.
"Ha! That's absurd my good friend, why should we take such action? If we close the port, ships will simply go to Salernum or Misenum. Senator Gaius would love to get the trade and may entice the traders to continue using their ports. We cannot risk the loss in economic development." responded Shimkusius.
"But, my lord, what if the mountain bursts forth with noxious gases and molten earth? The risk to the people and city is too great!" Implored Pliny.
"You spend too much time with your epistles and lectures Pliny. The people of the town need to see strength of conviction. Have you seen the worried looks on the farmers and farriers? The people want to see from their leaders that there is nothing to fear from a little smoke." Explained Shimkusius.
"Besides my friend, have we not sacrificed our requisite virgins to Vulcan, god of the mountain? And you know we have already found a lovely virgin for the sacrifice in three days. We have been dutiful with rituals, Vulcan is pleased."
Pliny looked Shimkusius in the eye. "You are quick to look to old rituals and trivial gods to ignore real problems. You are supposed to be a leader, lead for once!"
Shimkusius placed an arm around his friend shoulder "Pliny you are a delight. You need to get down on the ground with real people. If the docks are not being used, people won't have jobs loading and unloading them. The merchants, many of whom pay you to tutor their children, will not be making the money necessary to keep the town growing. The people of Pompeii, the real people, believe Vulcan is happy. Why is that so difficult for you to accept? It is rather off-putting for you to discount their ancient beliefs."
"Sigh, I think you're making a mistake Shimkusius, but maybe you're right and as you say another sacrifice is coming up."
Pliny and Shimkusius stroll off to Shimkusius' home and split a jug of wine....
Several days later, Shimkusius and Pliny are on the docks. Shimkusius is beseeching his friend to get on a boat. "Damnit man, we must flee!" roared Shimkusius.
"My wife and sister are back in town, I must try and save them!" screamed Pliny. "Why didn't you listen to me you arrogant bastard." Pliny was livid with anger. "You said the sacrifice would keep Vulcan happy, admit it you were wrong and now the city is destroyed!"
Shimkusius shook his head in self-righteous pity. "Pliny my friend, you must realize, the girl was clearly not a virgin. The whore doomed us, all of us. Well, not us, but the others in the city. Vulcan obviously is full of wrath because of our tainted sacrifice."
Pliny stared at his friend a moment and pulled away running back towards town never to be seen again.
Shimkusius boarded the ship as it cast off and headed towards his winter home in Syracuse thinking all the while that the citizens of Pompeii, like Pliny, must have lacked the faith in the gods to protect them. It must have been their own undoing, because Vulcan would not destroy a city because a senator simply entertained a young woman prior to the celebration.
Of course, its totally different when its global warming and ignoring it because of an extremely suspect interpretation (justification) of a couple of lines from the Bible.
Of course when everything goes to shit, billions are starving, fresh water is virtually non-existant, and war suffering and disease are the norm, this jackass can righteously conclude that indeed the world wasn't destroyed. You know because it still exists.
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