Saturday, August 18, 2012

I know that I harp on the fact that those who refuse to learn history are doomed to repeat it but if it was not so true I would not keep saying it.  I believe that we can look back on history particularly the fall of Rome and see our history today and if we do not turn ourselves around and change things we will possibly go the way of Rome.  I believe that is very possibly the intend of our government now if they are not the pawns in the game some people are playing. 
If you read the third volume Caesar and Christ 1944 of an eleven book series by Will Durant called "The Story of Civilization" you can see the parallels between the Roman empire and its fall and the United States today.  At the end of this book Mr. Durant lists the major causes why this great civilization fell apart. 
First was biological and perhaps most important such as: the limitation of families, the deferment and avoidance of marriage, men and women refusing to bear the responsibilities of parenthood.  Sexual excesses were indulged in regularly both inside and outside of marriage, contraception and abortion were common with the result of reduced fertility.  Sex was rampant with moral decay the result. 
Second was the waste of natural resources in mining, deforestation, erosion, the neglect of irrigation canals and most important the failure to teach moral principles that are so necessary to build real and lasting character in the hearts of men. 
Third the rising costs of government because of armies, doles, public works, expanding bureaucracy, a parasitic court, depreciation of currency, absorption of investment capital by confiscatory taxation. 
Does any of this sound remotely familiar to the United States today?  Today many women are deferring marriage until later to finish college and start a career and when they do have children they are having fewer children.  These numbers of course do not include the women who would like to have children but struggle to do so.  And there are many women and couples who are choosing to have no children because they will not be able to live the lifestyle they wish to live if they have to care for and provide for children who are expensive.  The murals on the walls of Pompeii so stunningly preserved verify the sexual excesses that the Romans were indulging in and the fact that pornography and other aspects of society are such a lucrative business show where Americas focus is today. 
I believe that we are doing better in realizing that we need to use our natural resources better,  when I was young the paper mills would cut down trees with no thought to replacing them however now they replant trees that they cut down so that there will be more in the future, there are also hybrid cars, etc.  The one area where we are falling behind is in teaching our young to be people of character.  It used to be that a man's word was his bond and we expected to pay our debts now however we need lengthy contracts and lawyers to make sure we are not being ripped off.  If I can steal from you and not get caught then I am successful.  Ethics of the past are a thing no more.  We do not value the elderly and we most certainly do not love our neighbors as ourselves. 
I could probably write for pages on the third issue that fell Rome and I think that we can all see how these issues are affecting America today.  We are moving toward a socialistic society to the detriment of the country.   Rome had a policy of at first handing out grain to every citizen and then bread, these handouts were expensive which led to higher taxation.  According to  Bruce Bartlett in How Excessive Government Killed Ancient Rome this taxation was more than just a war on wealth but an effort to eradicate the Senatorial (or wealthy) class they did this by illegally confiscating or taxing away all wealth and once the wealthy could no longer pay the states bills the responsibility fell to the lower classes. "The heavier the pressure of the state on the upper classes, the more intolerable became the condition of the lower" (Rostovtzeff 1957: 430). With the collapse of the money economy, the normal system of taxation also broke down. This forced the state to directly appropriate whatever resources it needed wherever they could be found. Food and cattle, for example, were requisitioned directly from farmers. We have not reached this point yet but with fifty percent of Americans receiving some sort of assistance and the government wanting to hand out more and telling us that the rich need to pony  up more and more so that things can be fair are we far from it?
The Romans also devalued their currency. At one point the denarius was widely accepted around the known world because it was known that the silver content in the coin was consistent and fair, however when the revenues in Rome began to fall the government decided to reduce the amount of silver in the coin thus devaluing it. This reducing of silver in the coin led to people hoarding the older more valuable coins and paying taxes and purchasing items with the lesser valued coin which led to reduced revenues instead of increasing them as was hoped.   We can see here in America where the rich are hoarding their money instead of creating wealth or they are just outright putting it in offshore or out of country accounts.  I believe that the co-founder of  Facebook moved to an Asian country in order to keep his hard earned money because the government here wants to take it in the interests of fairness ie "you did not build that". 
I believe as Ezra Taft Benson who served as the Secretary of Agriculture does that if the founding fathers were here today they would see that we have allowed our freedoms to be abridged and that we the people have developed a tendency to call for help from the federal government instead of relying on ourselves when times are hard.  So what would the founders have asked themselves in these times?
First for any new program they would have asked could this program be done more effectively by the government or by ourselves?  Is it the government who should be feeding our poor and needy or should we on the local level take care of that?  They believed that government is best which govern least not most, that government seems to be inherently wasteful and inefficient. 
Second how will this program affect the morale and the character of the people?  The founders believed that character, not wealth or power or position is of prime importance. 
Third how will this program affect our free institutions, the church, the school, the home and our local governments?  So many of these programs and intuitions are being governed from Washington instead of at home where they should be. 
The founders would be searching for a way to stem the tide of moral decline, they would observe the tendency for men in high places to put political expediency ahead of principle, and would be very alarmed with the something for nothing mentality. We should be like our founding fathers and search for answers, teach our neighbors that this country was based on religious principles and will only retain its greatness if we return to the principles on which this country was founded.   
As President Lincoln stated
     We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven.  We have been preserved these many years, in the peace and prosperity.  We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown; but we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to God that made us.  It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. 

Will Durant: The Story of Civilization
Ezra Taft Benson: America-What of the Future

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