Many have often compared our future to Rome's past and for good reason. History is once again repeating itself as the human race never seems to learn from past mistakes. This is perhaps due to the fact that most spend more time in their pursuit of pleasure and their own self interests than in seeking knowledge of where we have been, and associating that with where we are going. In past writings I have often invoked the forest and the trees analogy as that seems to be one of our major stumbling blocks. Our citizens, by and large, cannot see beyond their most immediate concerns leaving them unable to grasp the big picture. Most people are far more concerned with the cost of gasoline and beef than the fact that Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear nation and that we are living under a daily threat of yet another 911.
The Romans were unconcerned about the price of gasoline and had no idea of nuclear weaponry, but other than that their story and our's are much the same. Both the Romans and the people of our modern cultures are far more interested in what politicians promise to do for them than understanding what those same politicians are doing to them.
Prosperity is the ideal for all, be they individuals or nations, and yet prosperity once achieved become an almost certain guarantee of a future failure. All great nations and empires at one point in history were but a small village and its people were concerned with two primary issues ... staying alive and getting enough to eat. So it was with Athens, Sparta, Rome and Jamestown. Those are the formative years in which nothing is guaranteed. Guaranteed or not, some do survive, prosper, and develop a state of stability, thus launching themselves onto the road to fame, power, the abuse of power, and eventual ruin.
Bread and circus, as the emperors called it, became the ideal in Rome, and so it is in America. When people no longer are worried about whether or not they will have enough to eat and that concern is replaced by an assurance that someone is going to provide that food, the line has been crossed and the future, dismal though it be, is written in stone.
Ah yes, wealth; wealth for all of the people of Rome. Gold, silver, wheat and barley were extracted by force from the conquered provinces of the Roman empire and spread among the citizens of Rome. All they had to do in turn was to abandon their old ways, become apathetic, and leave all of the choices to their leaders who became more powerful and abusive with each passing year.
Food, clean water, the Roman baths, and Circus Maximus; now who could ask for more? But such luxuries are paid for by all after one fashion or the other. For the Romans their personal cost was abandoning all that they had once held dear, starting with their freedoms and self esteem.
And what do we have today that will compare with the grandeur of Rome?
Those who grew up during the Great Depression went on to defeat the Nazis and the Japanese empire and are hailed as our greatest generation. What then of those subsequent generations that enjoyed the glory, and the wealth brought about by those who came before? What especially of the generation we see about us today?
Romans, in their greatest moment of self worship, concluded that it was no longer proper for a people such as they to march a thousand miles and die in a foreign land for the Senate and the people of Rome. Mercenaries were hired to not only wage war on foreign nations but also to protect the self indulgent Romans from the dangers beyond their own borders. They chose to ignore the fact that mercenaries will never go into battle with the zeal of a citizen soldier. They fight only for monetary gain while the citizen soldier fights for his homeland and family.
Today we hear the rallying cry of "No boots on the ground" as we look to Iran and Iraq to confront the dangers of ISIS instead of us. Meanwhile the Iranians have a battle cry of their own and it is "Death to America!".
Perhaps the use of mercenaries is an unavoidable situation as most young Americans are no longer qualified, either mentally or physically, to serve as citizen soldiers. Sad but true!
Washington Times ... February 16, 2015
Tattoos, prescription drugs, obesity hinder Army Reserves recruitment effort
The problem affects the broader service as well. According to Army Recruiting Command statistics compiled last year, 71 percent of young people wanting to join the military would fail to pass service tests because of their physical, moral or cognitive shortcomings.
Look at those numbers. Seven out of ten who want to join the military are not qualified due to their built in failings, and this only applies to those who wish to enlist. Imagine for yourself the intellectual, physical, and moral attributes of the Americans who choose to remain civilians and live off the wealth of others. Oh America; how far you have fallen.
Allen B. West ... July 21, 2014
"The military deems many youngsters ineligible due to obesity, lack of a high-school diploma, felony convictions and prescription-drug use for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “But others are now also running afoul of standards for appearance amid the growing popularity of large-scale tattoos and devices called ear gauges that create large holes in earlobes.”
As for the Romans and Circus Maximus, we do not get to watch chariot races but have our technology as a form of entertainment. Movies and TV are the modern way and both double as forms of brainwashing and propaganda. Then we have computer games and texting to replace the moral fiber that our people have allowed to slip away. Another quote from the Allen West link above he refers to our youth as having their strongest muscles in their texting thumbs, and no character at all.
"But today, it seems the strongest muscles on some kids are their thumbs and popular culture has done nothing to strengthen their character."
Yes, the Romans finally achieved their every goal ... fame, glory, power, and wealth. Then it destroyed them. Due to the fact that few study and understand the lessons that should be learned from history, we are following in the footprints of the Romans. Our leaders are doing as did the Roman leaders, asking the masses to give them the reins of power, promising evermore to those masses in the process.
Regarding the aforementioned masses, people never change. They follow, they listen, they vote, and the day always comes when they wonder what went wrong? Thus turns another page of history.