when in rome…

Food for thought: how many of these characteristics are we seeing in modern-day society?  All of these different phenomena happened in Rome, and various scholars argue that most of these were principal contributors to the fall of Rome.  They’ll sound familiar, sometimes spookily so.

Some might not sound so bad at first glance, but then, if you want a sneak preview of what’s in store for us should we allow these various concepts to materialize further and perpetuate, well, just look at how it turned out for the Romans.  Ask the Romans how allowing these issues to flourish worked out for them.

Distant wars, acquiring the land of strangers.  Let’s face it; it seems as though we’re trying to serve as the world’s unsolicited police force.  OK, maybe we’re not outright turning these regions into additional states just yet, but we are definitely mettling where some might argue we should not be, and for amounts of time well beyond reasonable.

Escalating taxation.  I read somewhere that the average American pays out about 2/3 of every dollar earned toward taxes of some kind.  I’ve also heard about the horrendous tax structures in other parts of the world.  TEA parties don’t originate for no reason.  These days, TEA is not necessarily a ground plant to be thrown overboard a ship like it was in history, but rather, it’s an acronym that stands for “Taxed Enough Already”.  It’s pretty sad when the average family needs 2 wage-earners, despite lower overhead due to having fewer children than in the past.

Reliance on slaves/underclass.  Although slavery was outlawed almost 150 years ago, there have been other groups throughout recent history that have served the same purpose.  I know there are numerous ways to break the cycle of poverty out there, and lots of programs in place for those who wish to seek a better quality of life, but often, they’re easier in theory than in practice.  I hear the indignant defense of “they do the jobs that no one else wants!” but this is simply not the case.  I know people who would do plenty to feed their families.  These same indignants are usually yuppie middle-management paper pushers who are themselves expendable, who are all-too-happy to let someone else do the grunt work.

Welfare for the non-working poor (“bread and circus” or “food and entertainment”).  I’m going to say it, and it may offend some, but there is too much redistribution of income.  Far too many benefits are going to waste.  The recipients themselves sometimes squander them, or they consume them without contributing anything back to society.  Mental illness, temporary hard luck situations, and the deserving working poor aside, society should *not* be subsidizing people who are simply too lazy to work.  Any time a behavior is rewarded, it is expanded (i.e. you see more of it) and that spells doom to a workforce.  Nothing kills a workforce’s morale like watching their hard-earned money go to lazy people who won’t go bring home their own bacon.  I dare any liberal to challenge me: if you’re so bleeding heart, send ME money!  I can assure you it will not go to waste.

Exposures to heavy metals like mercury and lead.  Let’s see…lead pipes and lead paint.  And if you think we’re out of the woods on lead paint, think again.  Just because you can’t buy lead paint for your indoor walls or leaded gasoline for your truck anymore, that doesn’t mean you own children don’t come in contact with it every single day.  You know those cheap toys from Walmart you bought for your kids?  Yeah, those…

Oh, and mercury?  Now that you wave your thermometer over your child’s forehead like a magic wand and pharmaceutical companies are now starting to develop thimerosal-free vaccines, we think mercury is slowly being phased out.

But au contraire!  It’s making its way IN–to food ingredients like high fructose corn syrup (which is in everything, and often as a main ingredient!), and to those lovely light bulbs that, thanks to recent legislation, will become one of our only legal light bulb options.  Just look at the protocol for what to do if one of those things breaks…

Poor agricultural practices that drain the soil of much-needed nutrients and render food produce (and those who consume it) malnourished.  By 1938, the US government issued a report stating that our farmland soil was practically dead, devoid of nutrients.  We’ve done little to change it since; in fact, we’ve only made things much worse.  So, I don’t think I need say more.

Lost values/ethics and the “anything goes” mentality, including being soft on crime and excessive intoxication.  I understand peoples’ fear of totalitarian states, and I’ve also heard the (untrue) statement that we can’t/shouldn’t legislate morality.  As cool as this hippie state seems, and as prone as we all can be to this mindset from time to time, we shouldn’t take the “anything goes” stance too literally and start believing that it’s the default philosophy and the way to go in most cases, because it’s not.  Advanced societies have order and standards, basic agreed-upon values.  Animalistic societies do not.  “Anything goes” is a dangerous road to head down…unless you actually want to end up like the Romans.

Runaway inflation.  Inflation is now a government-engineered mechanism.  It is also destined to get us into some serious financial trouble, setting us up for an era of perpetual debt and possible implosion.  That’s cool if you don’t believe what I’m saying; do your own research.  Deflation, where people actually get less money, is actually OK, because then each dollar is worth more and those with savings actually end up having a bit more buying power. Inflation isn’t always great because once you start down that road, it’s tough to go back or slow down, and it can get away from you very quickly.

Hoarding and extreme materialism.  Wow, that’s kind of eerily on-the-mark, isn’t it?  I mean, how materialistic do we have to get before we start caring about whether or not the Nike symbol is on our sweatshirts, or thinking about getting that second flat-screen plasma TV…or when your 8-year-old has an Ipod…or a cellphone with an unlimited texting plan.  And the parents are now working 80 hour weeks, never seeing their kids, so they can buy each of them their own Wii system.  Or lease another new BMW, take your pick.  When you subconsciously tally your self-worth by the value of your house compared to the rest of your friends or family, you’ve reached a new low.  Time to get real, people.

Political corruption.  I don’t even think that needs an explanation.

Military spending.  No ‘splaining necessary here, either.

Lack of border enforcement, leading to vulnerability.  Wow, that one stung, too, huh?

Centralization of too large an area.  Rome spanned a rather large area, in its heyday.  Too large, in fact, for it to govern efficiently or effectively.  That’s why it’s called the Roman Empire.  Failing to learn from history, we’re dooming ourselves for a repeat.  Only it’s getting worse.  It’s coming, folks.  The European Union started things off–great little prototype, and largely a successful one.  The world government wanna-be powers-that-be are gleaming.  Now they’ve organized the world into 10 entities that will eventually consolidate under a single world-wide governing body.  Sounds benign, even beneficial in some respects, but your autonomy goes away.  Don’t like the way things are run?  Tough.  You have no escape, no other option at all, unless you want to go to the moon.  Don’t laugh.  Instead, Google “North American Union” and see what’s coming to a quality of life near you.

Wow, sorry to be so doom and gloom.  But, look on the bright side.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  The Constitution and Libertarian parties do look promising, don’t you think?

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