The Independent Voice for Conservative Values
and the Conscience of the Conservative Movement
Less Government is the Best Government
Victims of Success
Who is to Blame for America’s Downfall?
by Scott Rohter, January 2011
"Just like ancient Rome, a thousand years of irrelevance are waiting for us
if we don't change our ways."– Scott Rohter
Who is responsible for America's declining position in the world and the downfall of our economy? I don’t mean just the latest recession.
I mean the nearly total disintegration of our industrial manufacturing base over the course of the last 50 years since the end of the Korean War. That was when the downfall of our industrial economy began. It has paralleled the simultaneous rise of the Asian “tiger economies" of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and China.
So who is actually to blame for the predicament that America is in today? Is it Big Business who has moved their manufacturing plants and facilities overseas? Is it Big Unions who have driven up the cost of production in America to the point where it is no longer economically viable for American corporations to manufacture products here at home? These American businesses have no other choice but to relocate their factories to third-world countries just in order to survive... or is it Big Government which is to blame for the entire fiasco by tying American companies up in knots of excessive government regulations and bureaucratic red tape so they just can’t compete in the world marketplace anymore if they remain in our own country? I’d like to know who is to blame for America’s downfall.
“Big Government” wants more of your money. “Big Unions” want more of your money, and “Big Business” wants more of your money. They all want exactly the same thing, MORE OF YOUR MONEY, but just where is all of this money going to come from if we stop producing things in America and eliminate many of our manufacturing jobs? We have become primarily a service sector economy, merely transferring money around from Peter to Paul. We don’t generate new wealth the way that we once used to. So just where is all of this money going to come from?
Furthermore is money the only thing that really matters to anyone anymore? After all it is the same thing that is driving Big Business, Big Unions and Big Government to do the things they are all doing. The love of money is driving all of them to sell out our country. Greater profits for Big Business, higher taxes for Bigger Government, and more income and better benefits for Big Unions. The sad truth is that there is not enough money in the whole wide world to satisfy such greed or give everybody everything that they want. That is why the Federal Reserve Board keeps printing more money to try to satisfy everybody's expectations, but unfortunately that has serious consequences too. The sad truth is that Big Business, Big Unions, and Big Government are all responsible for outsourcing much of our manufacturing, exporting many of our jobs, and importing a lot of cheap, illegal labor to do the rest of the work that either can’t be outsourced or that Americans won't do.
Can I tell you a story about a once great nation that fell from a position of great power and authority in the world? This is the story of the ancient Romans. They were victims of success, victims of their own prosperity. Their story, which is the rise and fall of the Roman Empire takes about 1230 years to explain. It occurred between 753 BC and 476 AD. But if I may, I’d like to boil it down and sum it up for you. Basically a small tribe in central Italy started out with nothing but their own personal ambitions and they ended up with everything. In the process they lost the only thing that distinguished them from the other nations in the world which was their tremendous desire to succeed. That's their story in a nut shell.
Rome became the undisputed conquerors of the western world. Then they became prosperous and after a few hundred years they became so lazy that they wouldn't even pick the olives in their own vineyards or serve in their military. That contradiction of being prosperous yet lazy at the same time was their eventual undoing. Rome's prosperity attracted eager rivals. Rome's prosperity was the envy of the entire world, but their laziness and self complacency could not protect them from their enemies. That’s why the Roman Republic dissolved into an Empire, and why their empire eventually disintegrated and disappeared in 476 AD. Even the rise of an authoritarian Roman emperor wasn't enough to protect Rome from its enemies. After Rome fell it took another 1385 years before Italy was ever reunited again under King Victor Emmanuel in 1861. And it took another 85 more years before the Republic of Italy would rise up from the ashes of the old Roman Republic in 1946. That's a long time to pay for such a foolish mistake.
In the waning days of the Roman Empire even the children were so lazy that they wouldn’t go out into the fields to harvest the olives in their family's olive yards or the grapes in their family's vineyards. Rome had to import foreign workers in order to harvest their own food. That’s why there were barbarians living in Rome... to do the work that Romans wouldn’t do. Does that sound familiar? By the way it wasn’t only farm work that young Romans didn’t like doing. They didn’t like serving in the military either. So Romans hired barbarians to serve as soldiers in the Roman legions. And the barbarians kept coming as long as the Romans weren’t willing to work or serve in the military. They kept coming for all of those "good paying jobs" on the farms and in the fields and in the military. Does that sound strangely familiar today? They came for all of the wonderful opportunities that Rome provided. The Bible says, “There is nothing new under the sun. That which is, has already been, and that which has already been, shall one day be again.” Eccl 1:9-10 / 3:15
In time the lazy and quarrelsome Romans were no match for all of those ambitious, hard working, and also very resentful barbarians who lived in Rome. By the way, the ambitious barbarians that destroyed Rome were more like the earlier Romans who actually built the city than the later Romans who lived there at the time of Rome's demise! These later day citizens of Rome were no match for the determined barbarians under the capable leadership of Odoacer. Fifth century A.D. Romans would not have been a match for their own ancestors who laid the foundations of Rome in 753 BC.
So what does all of this mean for Americans today? Certainly there are lessons to be learned from Roman history. If we don’t learn from the Romans we are going to repeat their mistakes, “If we don’t know our history we are doomed to repeat it.” So let’s try to understand the historical lessons we can learn from Rome. Let’s learn them so that we don’t repeat Rome's mistakes.
Lesson #1: Success is a double edged sword. It’s great to be successful and prosperous, but we shouldn’t allow it to weaken our character or diminish our desire to succeed. Prosperity shouldn't make us lazy. Success must not become our downfall. “Consider the [lowly] ant. Consider their ways and be wise. They provide meat in the summer and they gather their food in the Fall.” – Proverbs 6:8. Victory doesn't determine who we are. It’s the struggle that should mold us and shape our character, both trying our hearts and testing our minds. We are refined in the furnace not in the squelching pot.
Lesson #2: There is always someone ready and willing to take our place if we ever decide that we don’t want to keep our place or position in the world. It’s probably someone that we would least expect. The famous last words, “E-Tu-Brute" attributed to Julius Caesar as he lay dying are a perfect testimony of that. He uttered those famous words to his friend Brutus who participated in the coup that killed him. “You too Brutus?” That sense of betrayal and disbelief still echoes down through the ages and the pages of history. He was stabbed in the back by his own friend! He wasn't the first and he won't be the last. It’s such a common phrase, it has even become a metaphor. "He stabbed me in the back. "
For the Romans, it was their olive pickers, the immigrant workers they hired that stabbed them in the back, the simple barbarians who they trusted, who they thought were just coming to pick the olives and work in their fields, to do the work that their children and their own poor wouldn’t do. The Romans probably believed that they could civilize these poor barbarians and assimilate them into Roman society into a sort of permanent underclass. Today we believe that we can absorb and assimilate millions of illegal immigrants coming here from Mexico. The Romans sincerely believed that the barbarians would learn to love and support Rome, but if not then they would just discard them when they were done using them and simply send them back across the border.
That's not what actually happened and the Romans were foolish to believe that either of these scenarios was even possible. They paid dearly for their mistake with the lost of their their culture, their country, and some even paid with the loss of their lives. The barbarians had other plans. They didn’t like the idea of becoming a permanent underclass. They probably valued their own culture and traditions just as much as illegal immigrants coming to the United States today value theirs. And so the barbarians inside Rome became a fifth column. They grew stronger as they became more numerous. (What do we hear in America today? The Hispanic community is the fastest single growing segment of our population. Politicians pander to them saying that they are a political force to be reckoned with)… When the barbarians inside Rome were sufficient in numbers and the time was right then together with other barbarians from outside of Rome’s borders, these non Romans brought Rome to its knees! Can this happen to America today? Of course it can.
The Manchu once ruled China. They were far more wise than the ancient Romans were. They realized that they would always be outnumbered by the Han Chinese people whom they had conquered and knowing much better than the Romans did, they realized who would eventually be assimilated. So they required all Chinese people to cut their hair and wear it in a certain fashion which would distinguish them from their Manchu overlords. This was in order to preserve their own unique Manchu culture and identity. The Romans thought that they could assimilate the more numerous barbarians around them, and preserve their Roman culture and civilization too, but the numbers were not in their favor. There were far too many non-Romans to assimilate without drastically changing Roman society.
One thing that Romans could have done differently to ensure their survival which we can also do in America today is to teach our children the values which have made our country great. The successful Romans should have taught their lazy children the value of hard work and the skills necessary to ensure their survival in a hostile world. Instead of doting on them and coddling them they should have taught them through tough love what it actually takes to succeed and prevail in a dangerous world, but for too long the Romans thought they were invincible and the mighty Empire they built would never fall. That's what they continued to believe until it was too late to do anything to keep it from falling. They were victims of success... victims of their own prosperity! They should have had more reasonable expectations of secure and defensible borders which could have been more easily defended by their own citizens.
In the United States of America we are blessed with secure natural borders on two sides that are easily defendable. We have plenty of loyal American citizens who are willing and able to defend them. We also have a very good neighbor to the north in Canada with whom we are at peace and with whom we share a common language and culture. No nation has ever been more blessed or more fortunate than the United States of America. Yet we seem so willing to squander it all. The only border that we have to worry about is our southern border with Mexico. That border is about 1700 miles long. It could easily be secured, but we are not permitted to defend it. We are allowing drugs and criminal gangs and illegal migrant workers to spill over our southern border and into our country under the politically correct illusion of multi-culturalism or cultural diversity.. We are prevented from defending our own border by globalists and internationalists inside of our governmentand by traitors like Brutus who don’t believe in borders at all.
As I said, the enemy is probably someone we would least expect. For Julius Caesar, it was his friends, the same people who ate at his table. For the ancient Romans who discovered too late what they wished they would have known earlier,... it was their vine dressers and olive pickers... those immigrant workers and neighbors who lived among them. I wrote this article so that we in America would wake up to the threats around us before it is to late. We are just as complacent as the Romans were. I hope we don’t go down the same path as the ancient Romans, and find out to our own misfortune after it’s too late, just how foolish we have been.
So just how foolish are we? Well, we already have to import migrant laborers to work on the farms and in the fields to harvest our food. We already are trying to cajole them into enlisting in the military with promises of American citizenship. Remember the Dream Act, the legislation that failed to pass Congress in 2010? That was going to provide a college education and citizenship, for any illegal alien who managed to avoid getting caught for five years. We reward illegal migrants who serve in the military with automatic citizenship. Can anybody say still think of Rome and the barbarians that destroyed Rome in the same light? There is already a permanent underclass in our society composed of non-English speaking migrant workers. Many of whom are very resentful much like the barbarians of Rome were. Many of these migrant workers openly complain about America and Americans. Many of them say that this country belongs to them. Do you remember the May Day demonstrations that occur every 5th of May? We never used to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States. People in our country never used to fly the Mexican flag, or other flags and threaten to take over our country, but that’s exactly what La Raza openly says they would like to do. We should take them at their word.
Furthermore these immigrants are engaging in criminal activities of all kinds against Americans ranging from entering the country illegally using falsified documents, to taking our jobs and overusing our social services, over-crowding our hospital emergency rooms, over-running our courts, and filling up our jails. They are trafficking in dope, meth., cocaine and other hard drugs that are harming our citizens. We are already a long way down the beaten path of the ancient Romans and we are squandering a good deal of our nation's wealth and resources on endless foreign wars just like the Romans did. Foreign wars wasted much of ancient Rome's resources just as it does ours.
The increased military expenditures and the fact that the Roman army was filled with hirelings who were paid to serve (as ours is), plus the growing power and size of the government bureaucracy and the Roman civil service caused an economic crisis of major proportions in ancient Rome. There was inflation. Prices rose and people left the city for the simpler life of the country. The Roman government tried to fix wages and prices in an attempt to stop the exodus from the city but it was largely in vein. All of this sounds eerily familiar to what is happening in our own country today, and if we don’t get a handle on it soon and purge all of the many Brutus’es from our government then the outcome we face won’t be very much different then that of the ancient Romans. There will be disintegration and destruction, and over a thousand years of irrelevance waiting for us if we don't change our ways.
"The truth, the political truth, and nothing but the political truth.
A journalist has no better friend than the truth." - Scott Rohter