To Survive We Must Learn From Our Past

A person can look like a prophet by applying abiding historical principles to a current situation and making a prediction.  The year was 1786 and the 13 original states were busy approving their new constitution. Scottish history professor, Alexander Taylor, at the University of Edinborough wrote the following about “The Fall of the Athenian Republic.”
“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasure, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policies, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.”
His study of Athenian history enables him to draw from a 2,000 year old example. Each day his forecast is looking frighteningly more like the writing of a divine prophet. Onebiblical test of a true prophet is that he is always right. I hope the wise Dr. Taylor proves not to be a true prophet.
The sage Benjamin Franklin seemed aware of this principle when he concluded, “When people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
It is like lacing a boot. The more a politician gives the more votes he gets. The more votes he gets the more likely he is to get reelected. The more he is reelected the more money he gives away. For many the issue is reelection not what is good for the country. I literally thank God for the admirable exceptions to this.
There is an old cliche based on a bit of British history. St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s churches are both supported by the state. At a time when St. Paul’s was in disrepair the Parliament debated transferring funds from St. Peter’s to St. Paul’s. Out of that came the expression “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
Assuming there are basically two classes of people, the haves, the St. Peters, and the have nots, the St. Pauls, there is an interesting analogy. The government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
To pay Paul the government becomes dependent upon a working class. It is not the traditional working class as thought of. It is the class comprised of energetic, creative, resourceful, enterprising, industrious, adventurous, risk taking, hard working productive people; the Peters. What happens when they get fed up working for the government to give to Pauls who can but don’t work?
There is a distinction between those who can and those who can’t work. It is good to provide for the justifiable needy. Providing for lethargic, apathetic, lazy persons is not right. However, they, the Pauls, vote and they are in larger numbers.
This is the scenario of which Taylor and Franklin wrote.
The process ultimate can be averted. However, there comes a tipping point at which it can’t. Hopefully we are not there.
This extract from the inaugural address of President Eisenhower offers us hope.
“IF my people will humble themselves and pray ….” WOW!