John Stossel, libertarian writer and TV guy on Fox wrote a column the other day asking if we (The US) is Rome yet.
After reading the column I thought of this quote from John Adams, one of our Founding Fathers: “The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.”
Stossel had attended a FreedomFest event where a historian made the comparison. My take away comparison was the Rome was once a Republic that possessed a Constitution that limited power (the Roman Senate ruled, rather than an Emperor). Rome became an Empire by conquest and Augustus, the first Emperor to be deified, reduced the power of the Senate and eliminated the Republic but giving the illusion he had not. Later Emperors steadily reduced the Roman Senate to impotency.
(Julius Caesar, Augustus’ uncle was also deified but was never Emperor.)
From that point on a succession of Emperors were deified and the limiting aspects of the Roman Constitution and the gelded Senate were ignored at the Emperor’s whim. After all, gods in the making live by their own rules.
The historian at FreedomFest argues, with good evidence that we are on the same path. We began as a Republic with a Constitution and the means to limit power by the checks and balances within the system. Presidents have messed with that as the worst offenders but usually have been reigned in by Constitutional limitations as interpreted by the Supreme Court and a vigilant Congress as well as a wary press.
Back in 2008 when Senator Obama was elected to the Presidency I found alternating amusing and disconcerting that some made him out to be a messiah, the first officially deified President.
It’s not so amusing now that he has had five years to destroy the Republic. His allies include a gelded or lackey Senate, a Supreme Court drifting further and further into viewing the Constitution as silly putty and a co-conspiratorial press who almost never point out the Emperor has no clothes.
The President is openly contemptuous of the Constitution, has taken Executive Orders to the extreme, has appointed a plethora of mini-Caesars called Czars (ironically, since Czar means Caesar), bought votes with free stuff (like the Roman Emperors) and blamed everything and everyone but himself for our continued problems. After all, gods live by their own rules.
Are we Rome yet?
“The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.” John Adams