The Fall of the Roman Empire

Abraham Lincoln was the most profound of Presidents and the first Republican to hold the office.  One of his most famous statements was when he wondered if a nation like America “can long endure.”  Historian Stephen Oates noted that a quarter century earlier in an extraordinary speech to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, he had worried about the damage done to nations by “the silent artillery of time.”  George Will wrote that in this Lincoln echoed Edward Gibbon’s last volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,  where Gibbon gave the first answer to the question of why Rome had fallen as “the injuries of time.”

Gibbon’s last volume was published in 1788 as the ratification of The Constitution was being debated.  Benjamin Franklin, asked as he left the Convention what it had wrought, replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”  America’s Founders were haunted by history’s record of the failure of Republics.  In his Farewell Address, President George Washington pondered what could “prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations.”

The Founders realized that some day we could have Presidents like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and, heaven forbid, Hillary Clinton.  Their lies and lawlessness and the resistance to this by the Republicans runs back to the Founders’ thoughts about the perils that make a Republic perishable.  The Founders knew that virtue is a wasting asset, that morals tend to deteriorate, and therefore that fatalism is wisdom:  nations rise and fall in natural cycles.  James Madison wrote with dry understatement in The Federalist # 10, “Enlightened statesman will not always be at the helm.”  He anticipated the two Clintons and Barack Obama in between.  At the same time the boldness of America’s Founders was in their belief that history could be beaten by reflection that results in institutions–namely our Constitutional Order.

The Founders provided impeachment to cope with the lawless lying without remorse of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (unlike Bill who had some shame over Monica, Barack thinks he is always right which is delusional).  Hillary is in this same mold only worse.  It is congenital with her.  She said she and Chelsea landed under sniper fire in Bosnia.   No First Lady and First Daughter will ever land under sniper fire.   Mrs. Clinton later said she was tired and misspoke.  Years earlier she said was named for Sir Edmund Hillary who was the first to climb Mt. Everest.  The problem is he did not become known until 5 years after Hillary was born.  She blamed that lie on her mother whom she said told her that story to inspire her.   Now she lies about her lies concerning her e-mail server and classified documents.   She lies when she says she has always been honest.   She cannot tell the truth and probably  does not even grasp that she is lying.  That is what William Safire said when he called her a “congenital liar.”  One definition of congenital is inborn.

Let us look at our current state and factors that brought down the Western Empire in Rome in 476 A.D.  One reason was an overspending government.  Another was government corruption and political instability.  There was too much spent on bread and circuses to entertain the masses.  The Romans allowed the Barbarians to begin to enter their Empire by way of porous borders. Economic chaos developed in part due to able bodied citizens becoming idle and an over reliance on foreign labor.

The parallels between ancient Rome and modern America are unmistakable.  I would zero in on government corruption.  When Bill Clinton was involved with Monica, his sustained lying involved an extraordinarily corrupting assault on language.  Hence his saying “it depends on what the meaning of is is.”

Harry Truman would have fired Bill Clinton.  He told his advisers that if he found that any of them were stepping out on their wives he would fire them.  Why?  Because if one cannot be trusted to keep the most sacred of vows they cannot be trusted to keep the vows they have made to serve the country.  With Bill Clinton codes of personal behavior withered. (Madison and Federalist # 10)

One manifestation of the degeneration of our moral values is that we accepted Bill Clinton’s adultery.  Once we would have demanded resignation.  Another manifestation is simply electing a man who had the incapacity to imagine that honor might require his resignation.  For eleven months the nation lived with a paradox:  If Clinton had the moral sense to resign, he would not have let himself get into a position where he needed to.

When we allow this we then elect another liar who thought there were at least 57 states.  Obama told us we could keep our doctors and our insurance plans when he knew we could not under Obamacare.  He lied about ransom for hostages in Iran.  He seems to really believe America has never been better or safer as he leaves office.

Look at the fall of Rome and where our nation is today.  Can we survive as a free People if Hillary is elected President.  I fear not.  Thus, we have been given one more chance.  Donald Trump may be a wild card, but he has rightly defined our problems and is offering possible solutions including the rebuilding of our crumbling military. Hillary promises to be the next Obama.  How is that working out for us and our children?

A society that accepts no moral law such as we have with Bill and Barack and Hillary will soon have only law and that is tyranny.  The red lights are flashing warning of danger ahead and urging a different course.  Will we listen and heed?  Will we return to some semblance of America as Founded or will we become Rome 476?  This election will decide that.  We will be a Nation under God or a Nation Under Government which Ronald Reagan said is a nation gone under.  I pray and work for the former lest we get the latter.


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