AMERICAN ROME?

AMERICAN ROME?
by Robert Williams

According to Fox News on August 4, 2013,  a group of libertarians gathered in Las Vegas recently for an event called “FreedomFest” at which they debated whether America will soon fall as Rome did.  Here is a synopsis I made of their conclusions.  The comparisons to Rome are quite interesting.

Rome had a constitution that was often ignored.  “Elected” Roman leaders often legislated by “executive order”.

Romans started out as a frugal and hardworking.  After they gained power and prosperity they suffered moral, economic, and national collapse because of overspending, overborrowing, overtaxing, and devaluing the currency.” (sound familiar?)

Late in Rome’s days Nero took trips with 1,000 carriages.  (which of our presidents does that remind you of?).

Roman Emperor Tiberius gathered “beautiful boys and girls”,  so as Tacitus wrote, the emperor “could defile them.”  Illicit sex in the Oval Office anyone?

Emperor Commodus held a show in the Colosseum at which he personally killed animals while well protected by his guards.  Which well protected American president strutted about his role in the killing of Osama Bin Laden?

To pay for their excesses and buying votes with “bread and circuses”,  Roman emperors devalued the currency. Our Fed does that by buying trillions of government debt.

Nero reduced the silver content of coins. Trajan reduced it even more.  According to history,  in the year 300, wheat that once cost eight Roman dollars  required 120,000 Roman dollars.  American inflation seems headed likewise.

The president of the Foundation for Economic Education, Lawrence Reed, is reported to have warned that Rome, like America, had a continuously expanding welfare state which started with “subsidized” grain at half price.  That was so wildly popular and resulted in so many votes that Roman leaders could not stop.  A man named Claudius ran for office on a platform of entirely free wheat for the masses.  He won hands down.  Greed for power made sure it was downhill from there. Free olive oil, free salt and pork, etc. etc. People lined up to get free stuff and the government paid little attention to making sure these generous subsidies went only to the truly disabled poor.  Everyone could get in the game, so incentive for producing things dropped to a state of bankruptcy.  Detroit anyone?

As inflation increased, Rome imposed wage and price controls.  Romans rioted and Emperor Diocletian denounced their “greed,” saying, “Shared humanity urges us to set a limit.”  Sounds a lot like today’s anti-capitalist politicians,  doesn’t it?

It got so bad that Rome even punished those who tried to reverse the corrupt and failed policies.  Remind you of IRS targeting?

Rome did finally utterly collapse and was sacked and raped by the Goths.  But there is today at least one difference. We have movements like the Tea Party and the Internet to alert people about the real danger of an increasingly imperial Washington.  Because of the addictive human greed for power,  the blessings of liberty are fragile and not guaranteed.  We barely still have the means to fight.  The only question is — with half the population on the government side,  will the other half fight?

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Posted September 12, 2013 by Candidus in America, Culture, Politics

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