Rome n' Republic

FUSION JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010

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The fault, dear Americans, is not in our stars but in ourselves!

By Pia Varma

OK, I’ll admit it. I didn’t pay much attention in high school English class. Julius Caesar? Yawn! To be honest, I didn’t really get it. I thought that Caesar was the good guy and Cassius and Brutus, the two men who led the plot to kill him, were the bad guys. But it was the ‘90s, the Cold War was over and I had prom to think about. To snap up a line from Shakespeare’s play, it was all Greek to me!

Flash forward several years to our new post-9/11 America. We are fighting two wars, a global battle against terrorism, low interest rates and cheap money have caused a credit crisis of gargantuan proportions, the Treasury has become a free-for-all, the welfare state is growing quicker than you can say Nancy Pelosi, the government is becoming more powerful and corrupt, rampant inflation is imminent, and corporate-cronyism has replaced the free markets.

Maybe it’s time for us all to re-read history.

You see, many, many years before there was the United States of America, there was a Republic called Rome. Actually, I never realized that “Ancient Rome” as we’ve come to know it existed in three phases that spanned the course of almost a thousand years. It was founded some time between 758 and 728 B.C. and existed as a monarchy for over two centuries. It then became a democratic Republic, which lasted for 460 years, and finally transitioned to an empire for the final 200 or so years.

The heroic beginnings of the Roman Republic were actually very similar to those of America. In 509 B.C., a rebellious group of rugged individuals, tired of abuses of the monarchy, overthrew King Tarquin and put into place a new system of government. In order to safeguard personal liberties and prevent another monarchy from emerging, these founding fathers replaced the monarchy with two elected magistrates who would each serve a maximum of one year. Each magistrate would check the ambition of the other and never again would one man be allowed to rule supreme over the Roman citizens.

The Roman “constitution,” known as the Twelve Tables, was completed in 449 B.C. with an emphasis on individual liberty. The legislation would come from an elected body of officials, also known as the Senate. Under this new system of government, Rome flourished as a fledgling, agrarian republic where citizens were able to vote, hold public office, engage in trade and commerce and own property. Although Roman citizenship, or civitas, was limited to adult males, it was incredibly revolutionary at the time and, therefore, became a source of great pride for the Romans. It meant you were free!

And what does freedom bring? Prosperity!

Rome became the most rockin’ place around. Toga parties, drinking, wrestling, sporting games, bathhouses, you get the idea. Everyone who was anyone wanted to be Roman.

Life was pretty good for a few centuries. Rome grew and prospered. The Romans built roads, bridges, aqueducts, buildings, apartments, stadiums and had the most powerful military in the world. And we all know it wasn’t built in a day! The Roman Republic even had a booming financial sector, with early forms of futures and equities markets. But in 49 B.C., the party finally came to an end as Julius Caesar stood at the bank of a small river in Northern Italy known as the Rubicon.

Roman law stated that no General could cross the Rubicon and enter Italy with a standing army. If Caesar crossed, he would be declared an “Enemy of the State,” plunge Rome into a civil war and turn the once shining democratic republic into an empire and himself into Emperor. The Senate was terrified of such an outcome. Even Caesar, himself, hesitated. But he was too ambitious to turn around and give up all that he had worked to achieve. He wanted power, even if it meant ending the Republic. He marched forward and, in his own words, the “die was cast.” He had crossed the point of no return and became Emperor of Rome.

Brutus and Cassius did eventually assassinate Caesar in an attempt to restore the Republic, but it was too late. By then, the problems were greater than one man and had been developing under the surface for many years. In fact, many Roman citizens were happy to have Caesar take the reigns as dictator of Rome to get things under control. I guess Sallust was right when he said, “Only a few prefer liberty—the majority seek nothing more than fair masters.”

So, what exactly led to the moment at the Rubicon? Why did Rome fall?

Perhaps the malaise began 150 years earlier when Rome’s biggest external threat, Carthage, was defeated in the Second Punic War. While most Roman citizens were ecstatic, many were concerned that, without a common enemy holding the Republic together, a sense of apathy would set in. They were right. Over time, by the consent of the masses, Rome began to destroy itself from within. The citizens ceased to care what the Senate was doing, so long as their needs were being taken care of. The Senate began a policy of expansion, conquering new lands and looting gold and silver for the Treasury. In the early days of the Republic, the tax rate was about 1-3 percent. By 167 B.C., Romans were no longer obliged to pay taxes, as the burden could be carried by others.

There was enough revenue coming in from conquered lands to pay for everyone. As a result, a new brand of crony-corporatist, known as the publicani, emerged. The publicani were also known as tax farmers, who were in the business of collecting taxes abroad for a profit. The tax rate was progressive, with the publicani deciding who would pay what taxes. Corruption ran rampant.

To make matters worse, in the middle of the Second Century B.C., two brothers with great political ambition came to power. The Gracci brothers emerged from the Populares Party. They understood that they could gain enormous amounts of political power by making grand promises and using propaganda and charisma to woo the Roman citizens. They promised grain at prices below market and, eventually, for free. They promised to redistribute land, and they put into place sweeping “New Deal” like social reforms, which increased the welfare state. Essentially, you name it, they probably promised it. As a result of these progressive reforms, farmers rushed to live in the cities for their free grain and slaves were freed in order to qualify for the dole.

It didn’t help that there was also lots of money floating around the Roman economy from the conquests abroad. Since money was cheap and interest rates were kept very low (and, at one point, even forbidden), individual Roman citizens racked up considerable amounts of debt. The publicani were also in the money lending business but eventually cracked down on borrowers so they could invest their money into new markets opening up in Asia. This led to a huge credit crisis in 88 B.C.

The economy continued to crumble as debt increased and more and more hands grasped at the treasury. By the time Caesar came along, more than 300,000 Roman citizens were on the dole and an increasing number were making greater demands on the government. In fact, more legislation was passed during the end of First Century B.C. than any other time in the Republic’s history. Politicians were becoming increasingly corrupt and self-interested. By the time Rome became an empire, there were so many obligations that taxes began to rise to crippling levels and emperors began to adopt a policy of devaluing the currency. Rampant inflation ensued. In fact, during the 200 years of the Roman Empire, the Denarius (Rome’s coinage at the time) went from containing 95% silver to containing .02% silver. It became virtually value-less!

Roman Emperors, such as Diocletian, began grasping at straws: regulating industry and trade, nationalizing businesses and fixing prices and wages. However, despite all the concerns from the more rational members of the Senate, Rome continued to collapse. Cicero had even warned, “The budget should be balanced. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered, and assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome becomes bankrupt.”

So there you have it, the breakdown of the Roman Republic (and maybe the breakdown of the American Republic) in a nutshell. We’ve modeled our government after Rome, we looked at the writings of Roman philosophers like Cicero and Cato to create our Constitution, we got terms like “senate” and “citizen” from Latin. We even designed our nation’s capital after Roman architecture. And, in a way, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and others gave us the ultimate “mulligan” when they founded America. But they also warned us of what happened to Rome and urged us not to go in the same direction. And what did we do? Like sheep and cowards, we didn’t listen, didn’t learn from past mistakes and, eager for security and temporary quick fixes, have been voting ourselves back into bondage ever since.

American, wake up! We don’t want to be Rome! Let’s not forget that this shining city on a hill ultimately burned down with Nero fiddling away!

As our leaders in Washington stand at the bank of the Rubicon, ready to cross, we must remember Cassius’s wise words in Julius Caesar when he said, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings.”

I hope my high school English teacher is impressed.

Straight from the Marxist con of critical race theory are three big lies about "systemic racism" in America that are debilitating to our nation: the lie that policing in the U.S. is thoroughly racist, the lie of voter suppression, and the lie of equity as the solution to solve "racism." Despite the evidence disproving these lies, they grow stronger, thanks to Democrats and activists with selfish interest in these narratives, who, along with their media partners, spread the sinister message that everything in America is racist by default and only massive government intervention can save us from ourselves. President Biden, Vice President Harris, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi – every Democrat on the national stage sees racism in literally everything at this point.

In this precarious time for America, Glenn Beck and North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson join together with data and the truth to fight back against the race-baiters ripping us apart.

Watch the full episode below:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

America has always been the land of the free. But as the line fades between the socialist, woke Left, and the Democratic Party that controls our government, are we diving headfirst into Marxism?

On his BlazeTV exclusive show, Glenn Beck spoke with Li Schoolland, who grew up under Mao's cultural revolution in China, and never did she think she would see the same warning signs in America. But now, she has a horrifying warning for us all.

Watch the video clip below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola became the poster child for how a corporation could shove leftist ideologies onto its consumers. The company suspended advertising on Facebook in a push to censor former President Donald Trump, published a manifesto about racial equity, and demanded all legal teams working for Coke meet certain diversity quotas.

But now, after Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and many other conservative voices called for a boycott of the company's products, Coca-Cola appears to be shifting directions.

The Washington Examiner reported that the company issued a conciliatory statement after conspicuously failing to appear on a published list of hundreds of corporations and individuals that signed a statement denouncing the Georgia voting bill.

"We believe the best way to make progress now is for everyone to come together and listen respectfully, share concerns, and collaborate on a path forward. We remained open and productive conversations with advocacy groups and lawmakers who may have differing views," the company said. "It's time to find common ground. In the end, we all want the same thing – free and fair elections, the cornerstone of our democracy."

Then last week, Coca-Cola Co.'s new general counsel, Monica Howard Douglas, told members of the company's global legal team that the diversity initiative announced by her predecessor, Bradley Gayton, is "taking a pause for now." Gayton resigned unexpectedly from the position on April 21, after only eight months on the job, to serve as a strategic consultant to Chairman and CEO James Quincey.

"Why is Coca-Cola 'taking a pause' on all of these? Because you have been standing up," Glenn Beck said on the radio program Monday. "You and others have been standing up. Your voice, it's the power of one. Your voice makes a difference."

Watch the video below to hear more form Glenn:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

This week on "The Glenn Beck Podcast," civil rights activist and Woodson Center founder Bob Woodson joined Glenn to call out the leftists in the "race grievance industry," like the Rev. Al Sharpton and Black Lives Matter, Inc., who, he says, are "profiting off the misery of their people."

Woodson lived through the appalling segregation laws of the last century and has a much different message about what it means to be "oppressed" than the so-called "anti-racist" activists today.

Woodson said he believes the real struggle for impoverished minority communities "is not racial." He argued that leftists "at the top" derive "moral authority" by claiming to represent "so called marginalized groups," while they prosper at the expense of those "at the bottom."

"There's nothing worse than self-flagellating guilty white people and rich, angry black people who profit off the misery of their people," Woodson said.

"I call what Sharpton and some of those are doing is worse than bigotry. It's treason. It's moral treason against their own people," he added. "The only time you hear from them is when a white police officer kills a black person, which happens maybe 20 or 21 times a year, but 6,000 blacks are killed each year by other blacks. So, in other words, their message is black lives only matter when taken by someone white, which means you are betraying the black community when you turn your back on 20 children that are slaughtered and you don't march in that community and demand that those killers be turned over to the police."

'The problem is not racial," Woodson asserted. "The problem is the challenge of upward mobility. Any time you generalize about a group of people, blacks, whites, Native American, and then you try to apply remedies, it always benefits those at the top at the expense of those at the bottom. ... It's a bait and switch game where you're using the demographics of the worst of these, to get resources that helps the best of these, or those who are prospering at the top. So, if I was the president, I would say an end to the race grievance business, that America should concentrate on the moral and spiritual free fall that is consuming people at the bottom."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation, or enjoy the full podcast here or wherever you listen to podcasts:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.