“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana
Rome at its height had conquered most of the known world. Part of the spoils of these wars of conquest were an unlimited number of conquered people who became slaves in Rome and throughout the Roman empire.
Rome was built by its citizens who were hard working and productive. As the slaves took over the jobs that Roman citizens had been doing, Romans became unemployed and wards of the State. These once productive citizens were turned into nonproductive drags on the Roman economy. Thus, the first welfare class was born.
Over time and generations they lost their skills and even their desire to better themselves; they became the Roman mob that was manipulated by politicians for their personal gain rather than the advancement of Rome. Emperors used the Colosseum to placate the mob with displays of gladiatorial combat, executions of criminals and mock Naval battles. Spectacles, which over time degenerated into blood baths of Christians and anyone who spoke against, or annoyed the Emperors.
America was at its height of power in the 20th Century and declared a War on Poverty in 1964. President Lyndon Johnson said the welfare programs he proposed were to give people in need a hand up not a hand out. Unfortunately, politicians discovered that they could buy votes with taxpayer money.
Inevitably, welfare became more and more like a hand out than a hand up. Generations later in the 21st Century we are seeing America channeling Rome. We have a welfare underclass that relies totally on government for their subsistence. Ever increasing taxes on the productive sector to pay for government’s largess decreases the tax base while increasing the costs of policies that accomplish little besides impoverishing the middle class.
Will America’s political class slide us down the road to Rome’s oblivion? Will all Parties to Maine’s political class be the vanguard of a Constitutional resurgence or will they follow the Roman road to socialist corruption and misery?