History, governments do repeat themselves

By Stephan Drew

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“Patience is a bitter plant, but its fruit is sweet.”

“A man who cannot tolerate small misfortunes can never accomplish great things.”

— Ancient Chinese proverbs

It is not a secret that we Americans are a very impatient people. We want things bigger, faster and better than ever before. And, we want them NOW! I believe it stems in part from the fact that we haven’t had to wait hundreds or thousands of years to advance economically and technologically. In less than 250 years, we have gone from a primitive imperial colony to the major superpower of the world. We didn’t have to wait for countless centuries to create our civilization and reach our potential. Other countries have been around for hundreds (some for thousands) of years and have watched each creeping step of their slow progress with wonderment in their eyes. We do not have that history. But, no matter how large or small, young or old a nation is, some things have a way of repeating themselves, especially the forms of government. Usually, the progression in regimes is in this (or a similar) order: Monarchy to oligarchy, oligarchy to democracy, democracy to socialism, socialism to anarchy, and anarchy to monarchy again, so that the whole cycle repeats itself continuously. From what we have observed, it seems America has possibly skipped a step or two. But, usually, the series features a certain distinct pattern — hard times make strong men, strong men make good times, good times make weak men, weak men make bad times, bad times make strong men, and strong men make good times again. Frequently, the strong man gains too much power and misuses it, causing the people to suffer. This has happened numerous times in world history and I think back to one of those incidents. A long time ago, there was a country that was great, powerful and good. It had suffered from a great war and severe economic depression. The people cried out for God to send them a capable leader to turn the country around and put them back on top. Their request was answered. An intelligent, self-confident, forceful and idealistic man was chosen and he took upon numerous new “executive powers” for himself. At first, he used only the powers associated with the economy and created better financial status and living conditions for most of his people. He started what we would call “social security” payments, collecting taxes from the wealthy to make low-interest loans to the poor. When he saw landlords and property owners making alot of money, he moved quickly to nationalize all land ownership. When things didn’t improve as rapidly as he desired, he began using his other new powers, all at once. He instituted an entirely new tax system but there were so many loopholes that it became completely ineffective. He assigned government monopolies on his country’s chief products, such as iron and salt, and to please the poor laborers, he directed that all prices should be controlled by the state. He banned the sale of cultivated land, and desperate farmers couldn’t sell their lands during times of famine. As the nation’s debt increased, he removed his country from the gold standard and issued cheaper metal coins as currency. He also ordered the recall of all gold and stored it in the national treasury. As a result of the cheaper coins, the money lost its value . Inflation rose quickly and dramatically. However, due to state price controls, the producer of the goods couldn’t increase their fees for production and continuously lost more and more money as time passed. The leader’s advisors tried to explain the laws of “supply and demand” to him. When they told him that governments, just like individuals, can go broke by spending beyond their means, he said they simply didn’t understand deficit finance. Anyone who disagreed with his new rules was hastily fired or worse. Many were never seen again. Government advisors changed frequently and the country sunk deeper into despair. The worse things got, the more power he assumed upon himself and, the more things he “tampered” with. But no matter what he did, nothing seemed to get better. After about 13 years of this, with the majority of his country suffering and the nation sinking deeper into debt, the people turned against him and he was killed. Because of his actions, the people and their descendants endured a centuries-long “season of despair”. While reading this, you probably had a picture of some evil modern-day tyrant in your mind. You may have pictured Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao Tse Tung, or any other dictator from the 20th century that we’re all familiar with. But this was the story of Emperor Wang Mang of China, who lived 2,000 years ago. These “experiments” we try are not new. The progressive steps we are attempting now have been tried repeatedly. They have always failed and will again yet we never seem to learn, do we? Because of our “enlightened” arrogance, we seem determined to try “democratic socialism.” And, we’re just foolish (“woke”) enough to believe that somehow WE are sufficiently intelligent to succeed and not make the same mistakes they made the last time … and the time before that … and the time before that … or the time before that. Some of us are aware that the current path we’re on will not produce good results but we can’t make anyone listen to reason. Isn’t it a pity that the ones who actually lived through these things before are no longer here to tell us what it was like? We really need their wisdom now before we consign our descendants to another long “season of despair.”

Author: Rachel Howell

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