Crimes against humanity. That is a phrase much overused these days, usually to the detriment of the victims of genuine such crimes, whose tragedies are trivialized by being lumped together with lesser ones and/or mere stupid things.
But let me use a modified version of the phrase. I just read an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (h/t History News Network) that details the plundering of the Girolamini Library in Naples, Italy by the Library’s government-appointed guardian, Marino Massimo De Caro. To me, books and the knowledge they contain are humanity’s common heritage, and so I call this caper a “crime against humanity’s heritage.” As far as I am concerned, De Caro might as well driven a truck full of Semtex under the Colosseum and detonated it.
Thus the Post-Gazette:
De Caro was arrested in May when it came to light that he had been “systematically despoiling the library he had been charged with keeping safe, stealing books and selling them on the open market or directly to collectors. And sharp sleuthing on the part of a professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta has raised questions about Mr. De Caro and the sale of other, possibly forged, books.”
“So far, we’ve tracked down some 3,000 books,” including some blocked at auction, said Giovanni Melillo, the Naples prosecutor handling the Girolamini investigation, in an interview. He said that Mr. De Caro was the head of a criminal gang created to despoil the library, which had been off limits to the public — with few exceptions — for decades. “There was a lucidly conceived plan behind it all,” Mr. Melillo said.
Of note, this article also sounds an alarm on the corrosive effects of pervasive government involvement in the economy. Again, I will let the Post-Gazette and the Italians themselves speak of this directly.
In April 2011, Giancarlo Galan, then the culture minister, named Mr. De Caro as his special consultant, and he was reappointed in December by the current minister, Lorenzo Ornaghi. In June 2011, the Culture Ministry ratified his appointment to the library.
Mr. De Caro may not have had a degree in library sciences, but he had other credentials. “De Caro is the quintessential Italian fixer. In a country where the political class still controls a significant part of the national economy (emphasis mine), he connects politics with business, and vice versa,” said Claudio Gatti, a co-author of a new book, “Il Sottobosco” (“The Underworld”).
Sorry, Mr. Gatti, that isn’t so. The USA, mainly but not exclusively under the Barack Obama’s “stewardship,” has found itself in a similar predicament. American government and business are so intertwined these days that it is hard to tell them apart; and the criminality that constitutes the foundation of Obama’s – and any other – socialist/ corporatist regime has spilled over wholesale into the economy. Think Corzine, think Immelt and GE, think GM and Chrysler. This of all the unelected czars working secretly behind the scenes. Think UAW and SEIU. Think the whole “green industry” scam, and so many other things that it would be impossible to enumerate them here. Then think of the cost to the nation, and the mind boggles.
As for Italy, I can only say that De Caro deserves everything he gets – and will hopefully get it all. I could add the pious hope that Italy will finally begin to dismantle the “governmental-economic complex” that the Italian people have had to suffer under for so long. But I know better and, in any case, I don’t believe in miracles.
As regards the US, however, we still have a chance to reverse the fatal trend, and to find a definitive way to keep the political class as far away from the country’s engine of prosperity as possible.
Actually, that’s as good an argument as any for throwing the bum out, as they used to say about that other White House criminal, Nixon.