The Roman Virtues

As the pomp rolled on and on at the peaceful transition of the head of the government, I was reminded of my grade school days and the lessons (taught by very mean nuns btw) of the Roman Virtues. Dignitas, was a concept of worthiness. Pietas was duty and virtue. Virtus implied an excellence of character. And then, my favorite, Gravitas, or substance. A man of gravitas had “weight”, depth and seriousness. Unlike the fawning reporters and tear filled onlookers, I did not see gravitas in our President or our citizenry yesterday.

Social and economic “justice” are not handed down from ornate scaffolding in free nations. Men of gravitas cannot focus on the plight of some rare minority called “the gay climatologist.” A pledge to halt the changing weather rings hollow to me when simultaneously, on the other side of the planet, Chinese coal soaked skies hide ghost town skylines and Greeks clear cut olive farms and government land for wood fuel.

Stacking the rotunda with American Idols, ex-junkies, hip-hop moguls and pop divas can clog a ton of bandwidth. But where’s the weight? A belt on a coat gets an “octo-box” of analysis. The choice of a dress garners 90 minutes of reflection. The President of the greatest economic and military power in the world, we hear, is “on fire.”

Meanwhile, asset markets ascend from Herculean amounts of monetary buttressing. Equity indexes flirt with all time highs associated with sub-5% unemployment and Lance Armstrong like credit juicing. The United States is in a bubble. Its President, its people and its capital markets are a big beautiful substance-less globule. Take a load off Annie, things can get ugly when markets learn about weight.

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