Where is modern civilization heading?

As a society are we heading in the same direction as the ancient Romans? If so the question becomes.......

Are our leaders fiddling while civilization burns?

While we ponder the question I will post my personal thoughts on this blog. Often I will focus on current events that catch my interest, however I am not and do not pretend to be a news organization. I'm simply a guy with his own thoughts on issues that I believe affect our country and society.

Be forewarned, I have been accused of being a right wing thinker and if that is offensive please move on. Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone.

However, please feel free to leave your comments, good, bad or indifferent, after all this is a free society we live in (at least for now).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

One can only wonder where it will all lead....

Over the years as I have watched the world go by it has become more apparent on a daily basis that the manner in which our democracy works is at times it's own worse enemy. Although from an early age we are taught that the different levels of government exist to serve the people, unfortunately in practice it seldom works as originally intended. In reality, many basic human traits make the practical application of good government far more difficult to implement than it appears on paper. Greed, lust for power, ignorance, prejudices, and people's general inability to understand that every action has a consequence, all play a role in making perfect government only a dream that will never be achieved.

Those that "serve us" in government rely solely on the electorate process to maintain their seats of power. So our politicians have learnt well that the people's loyalty can be bought with a few baubles and trinkets. Every election brings more promises of what the electorate can expect "in payment" from each of the political candidates if they are elected. What we generally see is a bidding war for votes with every party pulling out the cheque book and removing all stops in their zeal to promise the voter more than their opponent can. The problem is compounded as the demands of the electorate and the promises of those running for office increase with each election and every generation of voters. Now on first glance, one may wonder if this is such a bad thing, after all it is taxpayers money intended to be spent for the common good and the betterment of society as a whole.

Unfortunately, generally more is promised than there are existing funds to pay for. Add to this the fact that special interest groups have learned how to play the system like a violin, promising their support or in some case their lack of opposition to the party or candidate that fulfills their demands for funding or changes to legislation to better address their particular groups needs.

The end result of this is reckless government spending based more on securing votes and maintaining political power than actually investing the tax dollar wisely to ensure that the critical needs of society are met and maintained versus simply fulfilling every whim. This spending in turn places virtually every level of government in debt often to the point that the very services that government actually must maintain are placed at risk. However, even the prospect or in many cases the reality of crippling government debt does little to slow the process.

I often wonder how our modern society came to this point, where the individual is often only concerned about how much more the government can provide them personally, where the electorate continuously has its hand out with no apparent concern for the long term financial consequences, and where our elected officials have become salesmen rather than civil servants or leaders. Is it a case of a breakdown in the moral fabric of our society, our education system not serving its purpose, parents not installing a sense of self reliance in their children, basic human nature rearing its ugly head, or simply our form of government following its inevitable course over time? I suspect it is all of the above to some degree, but it is certainly not a recent phenomena. In fact Dr. Alexander Tytler, a Scottish professor, lawyer, and historian who lived in the 18th century wrote of this, here are his words.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship."

Another quote, the "fatal sequence" which is often attributed to Tytler and is sometimes referred to as the "Tytler Cycle" is equally applicable when looking at the road our society is on. Although there is some dispute as to the origin of this quote the cycle has been researched many times and unfortunately seems to be historically accurate.

"The historical cycle seems to be: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to apathy; from apathy to dependency; and from dependency back to bondage once more."

From where I sit it appears we are currently someplace in the "from apathy to dependency" portion of the cycle, so needless to say lets hope that whoever is responsible for the "fatal sequence" was off the mark on this one, because the next step will not be very pleasant.

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