Bread and Circuses

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Americans have cast their vote. And I won’t sit here and type out some cliche’ lines about the wisdom of the American people or how we all just need to get along for the next 4 years, come together, hold hands, and make it all better. Because I believe this was a stupid choice and that the last 4 years were the result of an administration that has no direction and has already weakened the American character.

Our nation is withering, but it is not because of Barack Obama, it is because of that sacred animal of democracy, “The People.” No longer is it the man that fights the good fight, that presses on despite the odds, the strong individualist who sharpens his knife, oils his rifle, and cuts his own firewood, that draws the media’s camera and the adoration of Americans. No, the greatest person in America today is “The Victim.” The man who can’t get things done is our hero. He is a victim of the system, of the weather, of his race, of his gender, of his sexual orientation, of bad genes, and of the evils of corporate empire. It is difficult not to find a victim in every man these days, and so every man is a hero of sorts, unless you run a successful business; a business man is obviously out to make victims of everyone else, and thus he is no hero.

It is not “anti-government” to say that a government can either do a few things well, or a lot of things poorly. We have chosen a government that is involved in every aspect of our lives, and we choose this both locally and nationally. We are well on our way to becoming another Greece. And what happens when a government runs out of money and tells its people that programs have to be cut? Do the people band together in unity and peace and carry on? Some maybe. But the ones that get the media attention riot and spew hatred because their bread and circuses have been taken away.

This is the perfect example of how empires die. They are rarely killed from the outside. With few exceptions, they kill themselves.

And so I do not believe in the sanctity of the people. Democracy works just fine when a democratic nation is composed of intelligent, unselfish, and strong people. We are no longer that. What was Obama’s biggest selling point to the American people? That he will give us more stuff. Is that not the tacit message? We certainly don’t want a president that will tell us we’re too fat, too stupid, and too infatuated with Kim Kardashian. Which we are. As Rush Limbaugh said, “In a nation of children, Santa Claus wins.”

Unlike others, I am not hopeful for America. I have witnessed our decline for the last 20 years, and it has been inexorable. We are teenagers with Daddy’s credit card. The values that held our society together for two centuries are all but gone. Some will say, “times change and we must change with them.” But we are exhibiting habits with which no culture has prospered for long.

As for myself, I’ll continue to cling to my guns and religion, just as did real men like Davey Crocket and Daniel Boone. The rest of America can worry about what underwear Pink is wearing this week and continue shambling toward irrelevancy.

4 thoughts on “Bread and Circuses

    r said:
    November 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I am considerably older than you so I have watched the decline in American values for a lot longer. What you are observing is the tipping point, where the decline has accelerated to a point where it may be irreversible. As a student of history I have read a great deal about the Roman Republic and its parallels to America. The Roman Senate and government worked as long as the Senators served the people and followed the rules. The rules being that before you could become a Consul you must have held a variety of subordinate posts and held a military command. But the Senators became corrupt and self serving. Caesar saw that and turned to the Populares and gave them “stuff”. The Senators assassinated him but they were not heroes because they were reactionary and wanted to return to the old days and the people turned against them. Augustus became Consul without the qualifications of age and experience and the Empire was born. Our current President has no experience, has never held government positions of any importance, has never held military command, but has promised and delivered a lot of free stuff. Those that take now outnumber those who are taxed and forced to give. It is unlikely that the America I grew up with will ever return. The people were asked to choose between capitalism and socialism and chose socialism, they were asked to choose between personal responsibility and government dependence and they chose government dependence. Caesar knew what he was doing and so does Obama, hopefully the results won’t be the same.

    Bill said:
    November 12, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I missed the whole thing about Pink flashing her underwear but no big loss. She has some charm but not sure the mental image of her underwear is not on the gross side.

    This is one time I do disagree iwth you, there’s no doubt many items in decline, decency and class among them. but technology is also doing some magic stuff and in that way, I think our best days may be ahead of us – seeing cancer cured and all the other medical advances will be pretty amazing. I really do think we’re getting so close to the singularity that we genexers have a pretty good shot of making it – but there’s going to be a lot of insane stupidity and unnecessary pain along the way, no doubt.

    magus71 responded:
    November 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    You’ll never hear me argue that technology hasn’t made our lives better. But I wonder how long our society can continue advancing without sufficient human capital. I foresee our society becoming even more stratified and hierarchical, composed of elites at the top, and plebes at in the middle and bottom. Some want to blame our economic and political systems for this, but I believe it is our people–do you know how many people cannot even change a tire now, let alone carry on in technical job such as your own? Technological advances will hasten the stratifying, as it already has. The government has tried to offset this trend through wealth redistribution, which has caused the alternate problem of financial overload. The poor, now, are not poor because there is no work, but because they do not have the skills necessary to fill the jobs available. The government’s wealth redistribution has changed many people’s views of the role of government, which used to be defending rights. It is now about giving stuff to people. And once the people figure out they can vote themselves more stuff, they won’t stop until they collapse the system. As Limbaugh recently stated: “In a country of children, Santa Claus wins.”

    r said:
    November 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I am a pioneer in the computer business and worked in the R&D group that brought multi-processing and multi-programming into reality so I have watched the huge transformation technology has brought to our society. Some of it is good and some has simply brought change without any obvious improvement, but I am not a Luddite and believe in the long term the technology will bring more good than bad. But that is really beside the point and I agree with Magus in that we are becoming a stratified society. I see this every day in the people of all ages I meet. There are those of us who have education and technical skills who prosper and those who for whatever reason refuse to take advantage of the free education available. You should see some of the papers I read and participate in some of the conversations. The poor tend to be poor because of their failure to learn and master simple skills. It isn’t just technical skills, those can be taught, but it is the lack of a work ethic, lack of self discipline, lack of communication skills, and a feeling of entitlement. Asking and expecting punctuality is viewed as being overly demanding. Asking for drug screening is seen as an invasion of privacy and no employer has the right to ask that. The list goes on and on but most of the unemployed are actually unemployable due to their own decisions and attitude. The result is an elite with high incomes and position and a growing segment of society that has low and unsteady incomes who must compete in a global unskilled labor market. Redistrbuting wealth is not going to solve this problem. Bread and Circuses didn’t work for the Romans and it will not work for Americans.

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