I will start this post with a couple of quotes from History writers that lived in the Roman Empire:
The first is from Sallust, a contemporary of Julius Caesar:
“To those who had easily endured toils, dangers, and doubtful and difficult circumstances, ease and wealth, the objects of desire to others, became a burden and a trouble. At first the love of money, and then that of power, began to prevail, and these became, as it were, the sources of every evil. For avarice subverted honesty, integrity, and other honorable principles, and, in their stead, inculcated pride, inhumanity, contempt of religion, and general venality. Ambition prompted many to become deceitful; to keep one thing concealed in the breast, and another ready on the tongue; to estimate friendships and enmities, not by their worth, but according to interest; and to carry rather a specious countenance than an honest heart. These vices at first advanced but slowly, and were sometimes restrained by correction; but afterwards, when their infection had spread like a pestilence, the state was entirely changed, and the government, from being the most equitable and praiseworthy, became rapacious and insupportable.”
The second is from Tacitus, a contemporary of the emperor Vespasian:
“It is no use trying to escape their arrogance by submission or good behavior. Robbers of the world, having by universal plunder exhausted the land, their drive is greed. If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if poor, they lust for domination. Neither rule of the East nor West can satisfy them. Alone among men, they crave with equal eagerness poverty and riches. To plunder, slaughter, seize with false pretenses, they give the lying name ‘empire.’ And where nothing remains but a desert, they call that ‘peace.’ ”
Now a quote from the Prophet Jeremiah, who was considered a traitor by many in Israel:
23 But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.
24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.
25 Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.
26 For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.
27 As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.
28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.
29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;
31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?
At the risk of being called anti-American and a hater of my homeland, I follow these quotes with the latest column by Paul Craig Roberts: