For as long as I can remember, there has been talk of America, like ancient Rome, destroying itself from within. Little wonder, considering that most Americans, like their Roman predecessors, show little concern for their country’s demise. They are simply too busy enjoying the good life to think about it.
In addition, politicians and the media keep them distracted with a steady stream of manure-coated “news” — from the Benghazi cover-up to North Korea’s incessant huffing and puffing … from Weiner’s wiener to Iran’s nuclear ambitions … from Fast and Furious to immigration “reform” (i.e., amnesty) … from the record Powerball lottery jackpot to the IRS’ targeting policies … the stream of manure-coated “news” has no end.
Admittedly, manure-coated news is a rather harsh term, which is why I prefer to use the street parlance version, crap. It’s true that every now and then we have a Pearl Harbor or 9/11, but, in between, 99 percent of the stuff politicians and the media feeds us is pure, unadulterated crap. And, make no mistake about it, the empty brain cavities wandering the streets of America are addicted to crap.
While these nonstop distractions have been going on for the past hundred years, America has continued to follow the paths taken by ancient Greece and Rome. By the standards of the day, Greek citizens once lived very well and enjoyed a great deal of freedom. Imagine the greatness of a republic that could produce the likes of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. But today Greece, long ago stripped of its greatness, is not much better off than your average third-world country.
Rome, too, was a great republic. Roman citizenship was so prized that some people actually purchased it. But Rome, like the U.S. today, allowed itself to become mired in politics and the allure of ever-higher taxes. Which, as today, led to more and more government employees — ultimately reaching one-third of the adult population.
The result was a total collapse of the once great Roman Empire and the establishment of a dictatorship. Which in turn led to the intellectual and economic decline of the Dark Ages. Imagine, nearly a thousand years of human stagnation brought about by coddled Roman citizens who chose security and a comfortable lifestyle over freedom. In the end, of course, they lost all three.
Right now, as a result of fake money, maxing out of our Chinese Express credit card, and massive redistribution-of-wealth policies, most Americans are still able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle and harbor a false sense of freedom and security. But thanks to our crumbling entitlement system and the advent of Obamacare, Americans, like the Romans before them, are on the verge of losing all three — freedom, security, and a comfortable lifestyle.
History tells us that there is a natural evolution to democracies. In the early stages, people are hardworking, honest, and independent. Paradoxically, these characteristics bring about prosperity, which tends to lead to decadence, laziness, and dependence on government, which is a surefire formula for the emergence of a dictatorship.
The hard fact that most people are unwilling to think about is that individual initiative and productivity are the keystones to freedom and prosperity. They cannot be replaced by collectivism or wealth transfer. On the contrary, the latter two will always destroy them. Without individual initiative and productivity, you cannot have a free or prosperous nation.
Paper-tiger countries like North Korea and Iran are not threats to America. Nor are powerful countries like Russia and China. The threats from these countries are synthetically created by politicians and the media to distract Americans from the real enemy — themselves!
The greatest president of the last hundred years, Calvin Coolidge, summed up America’s true problems when he said:
We do not need more material development, we need more spiritual development. We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen. It is on that side of life that it is desirable to put the emphasis at the present time. If that side is strengthened, the other side will take care of itself. It is that side which is the foundation of all else. If the foundation be firm, the superstructure will stand.
Given that Coolidge spoke these words nearly a century ago, is it any wonder that America has finally succeeded in destroying itself? Our nation was fundamentally transformed long before the current presidential imposter was hustled into the White House through a side door by the media. Of course, America, as a nation, still exists, but its culture perished long ago.
Why did Americans abandon their puritanical ideals for lives of decadence and sloth? Why did they embrace a flawed system like socialism to replace individualism and self-sufficiency? Why did they allow the evolution of a complete role reversal whereby politicians give the orders and they, the citizens, obey them?
The answers to these questions, I believe, are to be found in Edward Gibbons’ 1787 classic, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in which he sums up Rome’s demise:
- The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
- Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and circuses for the populace.
- The mad craze for pleasure, sports becoming every year more and more exciting and more brutal.
- The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy was within the decadence of the people.
- The decay of religion — faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people.
Is there any wonder why students of history have long compared America’s road to serfdom to that of ancient Rome’s? Now, the question is, will our decline be the catalyst for a new dark ages? My guess is no, because other countries, most notably China and India, are moving toward becoming what we once were. The saving grace of modern civilization is that someone is always going in the right direction. Unfortunately for you and me, someone is always going in the wrong direction as well.
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Copyright © 2019 Robert Ringer
ROBERT RINGER is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and host of the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, which features interviews with top political, economic, and social leaders. He has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business, The Tonight Show, Today, The Dennis Miller Show, Good Morning America, The Lars Larson Show, ABC Nightline, and The Charlie Rose Show, and has been the subject of feature articles in such major publications as Time, People, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Barron's, and The New York Times.