Early in the 2nd century AD, around the year 101, the Roman humorist Decimus Junius Juvenalis began publishing a collection of satirical poems poking fun at the Empire.
Rome was already in serious decline by the time Juvenalis wrote his first poem. In the first century AD alone, Romans suffered the tyrannical insanity of Caligula, the destructive extravagance of Nero, multiple civil wars, and the ‘Year of the Four Emperors’ in 96 AD.
Needless to say, Juvenalis had plenty of inspiration for his satires.
He was like the George Carlin of his day– making fun of everyone, even the most sacrosanct institutions. And he didn’t pull any punches.
Juvenalis made fun of the Senate for their endless hypocrisy. He made fun of wealthy noblemen for acquiring their wealth by sucking up to the Emperor.
He made fun of the merchant class and its constant obsession with status. He made fun of the military for acting as if they were above the law.
He made fun of how the Imperial government pretends to give a damn about the common folk. And he made fun the common folk, saying “the mob cares for nothing but bread and circuses. . .”
Most of all, Juvenalis made fun of the extreme decay in Roman morality.
By the 2nd century AD, the Roman virtues of ‘strength and honor’ had been replaced by deceit, idleness, apathy, and corruption.
Edward Gibbon echoed this sentiment in his work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, published in 1776.
Gibbon’s primary thesis is that Rome became a victim of its own success– its extraordinary wealth and prosperity made people lazy, complacent, and entitled.
Social cohesion broke down. Violent crime rose. There was no unity, no sense of community. People fought with one another over trivial issues, rather than focus their attention on approaching enemies.
It’s difficult to not see the historical parallels when reading the daily news in our own times.
Recent FBI statistical releases, for example, show the number of murders in large cities across the United States has soared by 32.2% over the last 12 months. Vehicle theft is up 11.9%. Arson is up 56.9%… no doubt due to the mostly peaceful protests that we witnessed last year.
Not to mention there’s been a disturbing trend in violence at airports across the United States– places that are supposed to be full of security.
Last week the Associated Press reported that the number of ‘unruly passenger incidents’ has reached more than 1,300 so far THIS YEAR, as opposed to an average of roughly 100 to 130 per year over the past ten years, according to data from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Internet is abound with videos of full-on brawls at airports like Detroit and Miami International, with airline passengers beating each other to a pulp because of seating issues, baggage fees, masks, or just about anything else.
Frankly it’s an embarrassment to watch… and symbolic of modern moral decay.
Social media is even worse. Platforms which were originally intended to provide a sense of community have instead become cesspools of garish narcissism and childish arguments waged by petty insults.
Similar to ancient Rome, there is no cohesion, no community, no civility. People are now so tightly wound that nearly every possible issue leads to outrage and violence.
Sometimes it feels like western civilization has become a never-ending Jerry Springer episode, replete with fist fights, race riots, screaming matches, puerile insults… and an eager, bloodlusty crowd chanting for more.
Ancient Romans had their Coliseum. We have Twitter.
All of this, of course, barely scratches the surface.
I wrote to you last week about how an entire generation of young people is being brainwashed.
Students as young as five are taught to obsess over the melanin content in people’s skin. They’re taught to identify as either victims or oppressors, and to find excuses everywhere to be outraged.
They’re taught that intellectual dissent results in censorship or social banishment.
They’re taught to subordinate themselves to authority and never ask any questions, no matter how absurd or ridiculous the decrees.
They’re taught that human beings, including themselves, are filthy disease carriers.
They’re taught to respond to challenges by cowering in fear.
Meanwhile, 15+ months into COVID-19, we still have dictatorial governors playing God with people’s lives, telling them what they can/cannot do, what to wear, and how to live.
And in its effort to give people more bread and circuses, the government is ready to spend $11+ trillion on every socialist program imaginable, at a time when the US national debt is already closing in on $30 trillion.
The central bank is facilitating the excess by conjuring trillions of dollars out of thin air to loan to the federal government, and thereby creating the biggest inflation spike seen in years.
This is all happening at a time when the enemies are at the gates.
It was only on Friday that the Colonial Pipeline in the United States– which carries more than 2.5 million barrels of oil per day– had to be taken offline after being hacked.
And a few months ago, of course, even the US federal government suffered a massive data breach after discovering that hackers had been inside of their systems for more than eight months.
Yet the CIA’s big priority these days is showcasing its diversity and inclusion credentials.
It’s disgraceful… all of it. And the Chinese Communist Party must be rolling on the floor laughing as they watch the West cower in fear and utterly destroy itself from within.
Sadly this trajectory is unlikely to change, certainly not anytime soon.
For years, I’ve been writing about the wisdom of having a “Plan B”, i.e. taking sensible precautions to ensure you don’t have all of your eggs in one basket.
The ideas are simple. If you live in the most frivolously litigious country to have ever existed in the history of the world, you can legally diversify your assets internationally.
If your government is keen on raising taxes, you can establish legitimate structures to reduce what you owe.
If your central bank is debasing the money supply ad infinitum, consider holding a portion of your savings in assets that have a history of maintaining their value.
And if your fellow citizens are looting in the streets and desperate to brainwash your kids, it’s worth having another residency so that you and your family always have a place to go.
Sensible, rational people have a Plan B. And they’re not worse off for having taken any of these steps.
But with everything going on in the world, we’re rapidly reaching a time when Plan B may need to become Plan A.