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Fri Dec 21, 2012, 04:30 AM

Is Our Republic Ending? 8 Striking Parallels Between the Fall of Rome and U.S.

http://www.alternet.org/economy/our-republic-ending-8-striking-parallels-between-fall-rome-and-us



***SNIP

1 -- Staggering Increase in the Cost of Elections, with Dubious Campaign Funding Sources:Our 2012 election reportedly cost $3 billion. All of it was raised from private sources - often creating the appearance, or the reality, that our leaders are beholden to special interest groups. During the late Roman Republic, elections became staggeringly expensive, with equally deplorable results. Caesar reportedly borrowed so heavily for one political campaign, he feared he would be ruined, if not elected.

2 -- Politics as the Road to Personal Wealth: During the late Roman Republic period, one of the main roads to wealth was holding public office, and exploiting such positions to accumulate personal wealth. As Lessig notes: Congressman, Senators and their staffs leverage their government service to move to private sector positions - that pay three to ten times their government compensation. Given this financial arrangement, "Their focus is therefore not so much on the people who sent them to Washington. Their focus is instead on those who will make them rich." ( Republic Lost )

3 -- Continuous War: A national state of security arises, distracting attention from domestic challenges with foreign wars. Similar to the late Roman Republic, the US - for the past 100 years -- has either been fighting a war, recovering from a war, or preparing for a new war: WW I (1917-18), WW II (1941-1945), Cold War (1947-1991), Korean War (1950-1953), Vietnam (1953-1975), Gulf War (1990-1991), Afghanistan (2001-ongoing), and Iraq (2003-2011). And, this list is far from complete.

4 -- Foreign Powers Lavish Money/Attention on the Republic's Leaders: Foreign wars lead to growing influence, by foreign powers and interests, on the Republic's political leaders -- true for Rome and true for us. In the past century, foreign embassies, agents and lobbyists have proliferated in our nation's capital. As one specific example: A foreign businessman donated $100 million to Bill Clinton 's various activities. Clinton "opened doors" for him, and sometimes acted in ways contrary to stated American interests and foreign policy.

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Reply Is Our Republic Ending? 8 Striking Parallels Between the Fall of Rome and U.S. (Original post)
xchrom Dec 2012 OP
Sherman A1 Dec 2012 #1
leveymg Dec 2012 #2

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 04:34 AM

1. Interesting

All Rome needed was Fox News.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 06:00 AM

2. The role of Fox News in Rome was played by rumour and whisper campaigns

Most of the population of Rome was illiterate, and there was no mechanical printing, so newspapers were not available. TV and internet was a bit off into the future. Rumours and whisper campaigns, however, played a major role in Roman politics. Here's an example: http://rumorswiki.org/index.php?title=The_Great_Roman_Fire

Also know as Burning of Rome rumor. Emperor Nero set the most destructive fire in Rome's history in order to create room for his Domus Aurea, strumming his lyre while perched atop the Palentine while the city burned. This rumor persisted throughout Nero's reign, prompting the emperor to pin the fire on a scapegoat, the Christians, in what is perhaps the first recorded whisper campaign (spreading of rumors by a government for propagandistic purposes).Nero reportedly turned his whisper campaign into a kind of spectacle, feeding the victims to lions in the city's only remaining arena.

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