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Glenn Beck, National Decline And The Story Of The Roman Empire ^ | April 28, 2012 | Jerry Bowyer

Posted on 04/28/2012 8:08:07 AM PDT by Kaslin

In my last installment in this series I argued that talk show host Glenn Beck was raising legitimate concerns about the state of the nation, but that he had a history of predictions of imminent disasters which did not pan out. Why didn’t they? After all, the left really does have a strong totalitarian bent. No nation is guaranteed eternal life, let alone eternal prosperity and hegemony. And the United States is, indeed, aggressively moving in the wrong direction.

So why didn’t the dollar collapse? Why is it still the reserve currency of the world? Why don’t we have hyperinflation? Why did gold stall and then fall last summer? Was there a food shortage? Nope. Widespread urban violence? Nope. Depression, stock market collapse, bond market collapse? Nope, nope and nope. Why not?
Because that’s not how it works. Great nations do not suddenly lose reserve currency status or hyperinflate or collapse economically—not unless they lose a war or are destroyed by natural disasters. The archetypal decline and fall story is that of Rome. It was the eternal city, supposedly, but nevertheless its gates came crashing down and its cities were trodden over by rude barbarian feet. And all of this happened just as the great classical philosophers had warned it would.
The Catos and Ciceros of Rome warned about the decline of Rome as it was first turning away from Republic and toward empire.  But Rome didn’t actually ‘fall’ in a definitive sense until  498 years after the death of Cicero and 499 years until after the death of Cato. The process of lost freedoms, corruption, imperial overreach and decay, and final definitive collapse lasted almost as long as the rise of the Roman republic; the great age of political warning appeared as the midpoint of Rome’s history, not the end. The classical conservative statesmen were right, but premature. History, like Clouseau, declared, “Not now, Cato,” and delayed its judgment for half of a millennium.
And the currency markets followed the same pattern. Empire, bread and circuses, all cost a lot of money, and were partially funded by currency debasement. However, the Roman Denarius did not collapse in value overnight.  The long journey from a denarius composed of 6.8 grams of silver struck in 269 BC, through the first debasement down to 4.5 grams half a century later, then under Caeser Augustus down to 3.9, under the loathsome Nero 3.4 grams, under a long series of debasing emperors down to 3 grams and finally in the mid-2nd century AD phased out of existence and replaced by other currencies, all told took about half a millennium.  This is a remarkable feat considering the way that Rome, and by extension her currency, was hated by the world she had enslaved. The famous passage in the synoptic Gospels in which the religious leaders ask Jesus whether they should pay taxes to Caesar turns partly on Rome’s status and as issuer of the known world’s reserve currency.

“20 So they (the chief priests and the scribes inserted by J.B.) watched Him,and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.
21 Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me?24 Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” They answered and said, “Caesar’s.”
25 And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
26 But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.”
The story illustrates a great deal about currency relations between the nations. First, the premise of the story is that the Roman coinage was hated. The Roman Denarius was inscribed with an image of Caesar Tiberius and the title ‘Son of the Divine Augustus’, in other words, ‘Son of God.’ It was a reminder of both the political and the religious domination of Rome.  This was the same coin used to pay the equally hated Roman poll tax. If Jesus said to pay, He would be associating himself with the unpopular Romans. If He said not to pay, He would be fostering rebellion and the Romans would execute Him.
Jesus skillfully turned the question around. He Cuba-Goodingly asks them to ‘Show me the money.’ and voila, there it is; they have the money. The religious leaders who have been railing against the evil Romans and their wicked idolatrous money, just happen to have some there in their pockets. Point made: The Roman Denarius was silver backed, stable (at least at that point in history) and accepted for trade purposes throughout the known world.
Rome maintained a pirate-suppressing free trading system across the known world and the Jews, along with every other group in the empire benefited from it.  Jesus’ friend, Joseph of Arimathea had become wealthy (according to early church historians) as a tin import/export merchant between Jerusalem and Britain. Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth exported balsam around the world. His disciples were from Bethsaida and Capernaum, not so much fishing villages, but more fishing industrial hubs which sold not just salted fish, but also mass manufactured fishing equipment around the world. St. Paul traveled the Ancient world partly in tow to Lydia who was an international dyed clothing distributor. All of this was transacted with the Roman Denarius. It didn’t matter that it was hated. It mattered that it was universally accepted for commercial purposes and held its value better than the alternatives.
When the leaders of Jerusalem revolted against Rome the first time in 66 AD, they threw out the hated Roman silver coins and minted patriotic shekels, out of the baser bronze. The coinage, of course traded at much lower values against the Roman coins despite strong political pressure for its use. When Rome destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, they printed a special commemorative coin depicting a woman weeping next to an olive tree (a traditional symbol of Israel which sold olive products around the world in Roman denarius-denominated transactions), to symbolize the widows of Israel weeping for their departed husbands. When Israel Revolted again 63 years later under Bar Kochba  (which translates as son of the star, a reference to the prophecy that the messiah would be born under a star) it rounded up the Roman coins and reminted them with Hebrew lettering and patriotic phrases.
As you can see, coins in the ancient world were spiritually, culturally and politically charged matters.  But in the end, the value of the metal determined the value of the coin, a fact perhaps grudgingly learned between the first rebellion and its debased, bronze shekels and the second rebellion with its re-stamped silver denarii. Not being a numismatist, my observations on this matter may well be incorrect, but I feel confident that someone will be willing to step forward and offer any needed corrections.
Not all Jewish coinage was used for rebellion propaganda purposes; more often it was used for quisling propaganda purposes. The Rah-rah-Rome Herodian dynasty routinely minted coins with Latin or Greek lettering, honoring Caser and the various Herods. The cultural syncretism visible in the presence of images such as Roman eagles and Palestinian palm branches.  Herod Agrippa, the ruler during Jesus adulthood, minted a coin which showed three ears of barley. This may well be the explanation for Jesus’ quizzical reference to Herod as “A reed shaken by the wind”, which may be more a matter of political satire aimed at Herod’s shaky alliance with Rome, then of some mystical spiritual metaphor.
The point of all of this is that as shaky as Rome’s coinage was and as much as it was hated by captive people of the empire, it would last another 200 years due chiefly to a lack of alternatives. Reserve currencies do not generally crash quickly, though they do crash. Great nations are generally granted many reprieves, many amnesties, many second chances. I’m not saying that we’ve got another 200 years, if we continue down our current path of debt and debasement. I don’t know how much time we have for course corrections.
All this amounts to the following:  I’m not ready to give up on us yet, but I’m definitely read to hedge my bets.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: ancientcultures; rome
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To: atomic_dog; oldbrowser

Good points, both.

21 posted on 04/28/2012 9:01:44 AM PDT by SuzyQue
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To: netmilsmom


22 posted on 04/28/2012 9:07:30 AM PDT by svcw (If one living cell on another planet is life, why isn't it life in the womb?)
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To: svcw
I remember talking to someone in 2008 about the demise of the economy and the dollar, and this person--of course--thought I was a conspiracy nut.

It turned out this same person had most of his retirement invested in Wachovia stock. He has lost it. He also has lots of really expensive toys that he has to make payments on, and at least he owns his home outright. I hope he didn't use home equity to buy that huge he's getting too old to work, and his business was dependent on a lot of real estate transactions.

But he doesn't necessarily regard me as having any sense, experience, brains or judgement for warning him about banks and corruption. And we'll continue to downplay Beck as a nut, even as he made enough buying gold to buy himself a whole network...

23 posted on 04/28/2012 9:09:05 AM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: hinckley buzzard

The Roman Empire really fell in 1453, not 496.

Throughout its history it had multiple renaissances.

You have a much more approving view of Justinian’s career than I do. IMO his reign was a classic example of imperial overstretch. His conquest of N. Africa was a success, but his conquest of Italy succeeded primarily in almost completely destroying what had been a functioning classical society up to then, even if ruled by “barbarians” rather than the empire. The see-saw destructive war in Italy was almost entirely a result of Justinian’s jealousy of Belisarius and failure to properly support this talented and loyal general.

Justinian wasted immense amounts of money on ego-gratifying, even if beautiful, building projects such as Hagia Sophia. He also greatly over-taxed the population.

Justinian’s attempts at over-expansion probably were a major contribution to the empire’s eventual decline and Muslim conquest of half of it.

24 posted on 04/28/2012 9:12:24 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Kaslin

This is the 21st century, things happen in light-speed today. Yes, our “overseers” want a slow managed decline but that would preclude black swans like natural disasters. There is also another war looming which could be just a bunch of angry bullies with pop-guns or it could turn out much, much worse.

I’m voting for a quicker decline in the next 6 months with a strong possibility of another ME blow up. I expect Obummer to be re-elected by hook or by crook. If (when?) Obamma is re-elected I expect full-on muslim/communism with accompanying oppression.

sorry for being a bummer

25 posted on 04/28/2012 9:14:25 AM PDT by vanilla swirl (searching for something meaningfull to say)
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To: oldbrowser
"In Roman days they walked or rode donkeys. Now we have instantaneous communications around the world and are testing an airplane that goes 13,000 miles per hour... Everything is moving a lot faster and I expect our decline will be faster."

Bingo. Saved me the trouble of typing my answer. In 100 AD, it took a few weeks to get a message from Jerusalem to Rome. Today it takes as long as it takes to hit "send".

I have a personal theory which is the rise of the English speaking world was largely attributable to the language. While English can be exceedingly difficult to learn due to the size of its vocabulary and it's variabe rules, it allows for the far more precise and exact communication of ideas. If a short conversation between two people takes 15 seconds in English and 18 seconds in German, Spanish, Portugese, etc. the English speakers have increased the efficiency and decreased the time required for the exchange of's really no different than increasing processor speed on your computer. When you multiply those few seconds savings across every conversation held in English among millions and millions of people, over hundreds and hundreds of years, it makes sense why the English speaking world quickened the pace of technological advance over other nations.

As you say, things happen more rapidly in our world, and I suspect that when things start to collapse, they will do so, not over the course of centuries, but within the course of one, or at the most, two lifetimes.

26 posted on 04/28/2012 9:29:26 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: hinckley buzzard
The point is a good one. Predictions of imminent collapse based on "the fall of Rome" ignore that such a collapse may take centuries, as did the fall of the Roman Empire.

The Eastern Roman Empire, aka the Byzantine or Greek Empire, managed two major ascendants between its foundation by Constantine on former Byzantium (which had been destroyed for rebellion by the Severi, decades before), under Justinian and Heraclius. Its real "beginning of the beginning of the end" began with the Second Battle of Manzikert in 1071 (not much of a battle, really -- but the Turks were left in possession of the battlefield, and the Greeks abandoned the adjacent territory, and the Turks' cutoff of Christian access to Jerusalem began the Crusades 20 years later). The accelerating decline began with the sack of Constantinople by the Franks of the Fourth Crusade in 1204, and ran to extinction in 1453.

From 330 to 1204 is a very long, successful career for a single state; and it managed to hang on for another 250 years after that.

27 posted on 04/28/2012 9:38:13 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: lurk; Zakeet; Colofornian; colorcountry; P-Marlowe; MHGinTN; Tennessee Nana; iowamark; svcw
Glenn is very much influenced by Cleon Skousen.

W. Cleon Skousen - The Man Behind Glenn Beck

Skousen’s politics aside, it was his theology that was especially troubling. His book The First 2,000 Years, published in 1953, included a section on God that can only be described as blasphemous.

Under the subtitle “The Source of God’s Power,” he wrote,

“Through modern revelation we learn that the universe is filled with vast numbers of intelligences, and we further learn that Elohim is God simply because all of these intelligences honor and sustain Him as such…His glory and power is something which He slowly acquired until today, ‘all things bow in humble reverence.’ But since God ‘acquired’ the honor and sustaining influence of ‘all things’ it follows as a corellary (sic) that if He should do anything to violate the confidence or ‘sense of justice’ of these intelligences, they would promptly withdraw their support, and the ‘power’ of God would disintegrate. This is what Mormon and Alma meant when they specifically stated that if God should change or act contrary to truth and justice ‘He would cease to be God.’ Our Heavenly Father can do only those things which the intelligences under Him are voluntarily willing to support Him in accomplishing” (pp.355-356).

The idea that God could “cease to be God” is not at all unique to Skousen. In fact, on page 354 he rightfully notes that the phrase comes directly from the Book of Mormon (Mormon 9:19;

19 And if there were amiracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he bchangeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.

Alma 42:13, 25).

13 Therefore, according to justice, the aplan of bredemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would ccease to be God.

15 And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself aatoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of bmercy, to appease the demands of cjustice, that God might be a dperfect, just God, and a emerciful God also.

Glenn Beck gives Skousen book's sales a 'Leap'

"As part of his rallying cry against all things socialistic, he included the need to read Skousen's book, a primer on the "inspired" United States Constitution.

"The first thing you do," he told his viewers, "is get 'The Five Thousand Year Leap.' over my book or anything else. Please. Read it. Inform yourself about who we are and what the other systems are all about."

28 posted on 04/28/2012 9:45:53 AM PDT by greyfoxx39 (The epitome of stupidity is a member of a proven racist sect running against a black man.)
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To: Joe 6-pack

The economy of this nation could be collapsed in a week. Of course the death and mayhem that would rersult when turcks stop delivering and gasoline is not replenished and food stuffs disappear from shelves and are not replensihed, well, that collapse will take about four months to run its ‘coarse’ and then the small bands of cannibalizing survivors will seek new sources, beyond the closest burbs. The elites will be safely ensconced at various locations already stocked with survival fair and heavily protected from the useful idiots crawling over each other to survive like rats. I would estimate the cancellation of America will take one year, before the new masters begin establishing their absolute controls over what’s left, as they emerge from their compounds.

29 posted on 04/28/2012 10:12:14 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: Kaslin

I don’t agree with everything Beck says...but he has been more right than wrong over the last 4 years. I could list a long list of things he uncovered and exposed and said was coming and it did.

30 posted on 04/28/2012 10:16:14 AM PDT by My Favorite Headache (In a world where I feel so small, I can't stop thinking big. Vote Newt!)
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To: Kaslin

31 posted on 04/28/2012 10:17:08 AM PDT by PGR88
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To: hinckley buzzard
Predictions of imminent collapse based on "the fall of Rome" ignore that such a collapse may take centuries, as did the fall of the Roman Empire.

True. Besides, we haven't had our 5 Good Emperors century yet (trying to make lemonade here).

32 posted on 04/28/2012 10:17:28 AM PDT by avenir (I'm pessimistic about man, but I'm optimistic about GOD!)
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To: Mamzelle

And we’ll continue to downplay Beck as a nut, even as he made enough buying gold to buy himself a whole network...

Personally, I don’t think Beck is a liar. He repeatedly tells his audience that his network is pay as you go, plus, he has at least one partner and the number of his sponsors/advertisers keep growing. He has said quite recently, that he has had to slow down his plans for expansion due to lack of funds or, rather, to too many demands on the income.

I don’t know how many subscribers he has, but at $10/month, that alone must be a fair amount of revenue. And he will make his documentaries available for free, after the first broadcast. He puts out books, like a chicken laying eggs and they all go to the top of the best seller lists. He backs other authors and they do very well because of it. And then his other enterprises: clothing, concerts, special events all seem to at least pay for themselves. He also has a popular radio show which has spun off another show, all with advertisers and contracts with broadcasters. He is earning his money, IMO, the old-fashioned way: by working for it.

Buying gold does not pay the bills. Selling gold might.

FWIW, I don’t see him as a nut. I think no one can time the end of a collapse. I also think we are in a collapse. It is simply just too slow and includes too many elements, some of which vacillate, to perceive. Half the population is in the work force, but there is a vast number of pensioners, retirees with adequate income, educational and medical workers of all levels who are keeping the economy going. In my rural area, the manufacturing is going at a fast clip, with overtime and marginal land with several detriments (pipeline/floodplain) is selling at nearly $3k/acre. New boutiques, creative enterprises and restaurants keep opening and most stay in business and some expand. Still, everyone admits to being anxious and feeling insecure. It is cognitive dissonance writ large.

Nothing continues in a straight line extrapolation, in either direction, forever. Right now, people seem to feel we are muddling through, even though the trend is frightening. We all need to straddle the line of we will continue to survive, economically, on one side, and we will crash and burn on the other. It is exhausting. It takes awareness and patience. But, basically, I don’t think anyone has a real clue as to what is actually going happen and when.

33 posted on 04/28/2012 10:18:18 AM PDT by reformedliberal
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"The economy of this nation could be collapsed in a week."

True enough...but our final economic collapse will only be the bud of a general cultural collapse than started to sink its roots in earnest some 40-50 years ago.

34 posted on 04/28/2012 10:18:34 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Joe 6-pack

Too many in America still believe We The People are the soveriegns. The oligarchy will do something dramatic to end that fantasy. Right now, the people do not perceive how they have been usurped. But they are awakening, slowly. When fully awake the real contollers, the elites actually running the world through currency and commodities will have to dramatically halt that rise in awareness. Hunger and mayhem tend to dim notions of sovereignty.

35 posted on 04/28/2012 10:44:07 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: Kaslin

One very small point: When comparing the USA in the 21st century with Rome in the 4th, it would do to consider that in Roman times one could communicate no faster than one could travel physically. To convey a message or transfer wealth to the far side of the empire could take months. Today, the same feats may be accomplished in seconds from an office computer or cell phone. Similarly, coins do not have to be minted with a lower silver content to debase the currency. It can be done almost instantly.

What took the Romans nearly five hundred years to accomplish can happen almost overnight today.

36 posted on 04/28/2012 10:47:15 AM PDT by Chuckster (The longer I live the less I care about what you think.)
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To: Kaslin
The archetypal decline and fall story is that of Rome. Bowyer

If there are folks 'writing' Hisotry books of anyhonesty in the future, say a hundred years from today, then it is the astonishing collapse and dissolution of America that will be the modern archetypal example cited. Bowyer is either a fool, or he is working to keep the populace bound in their somnabulence.

37 posted on 04/28/2012 10:47:20 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: Kaslin
"Beijing is planning to avoid U.S. financial sanctions on Iran by paying for oil with gold. China’s imports of the metal are already large, and you can guess what additional purchases are going to do to prices. On the last day of 2011, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. The NDAA, as it is called, attempts to reduce Iran’s revenue from the sale of petroleum by imposing sanctions on foreign financial institutions conducting transactions with Iranian financial institutions in connection with those sales. This provision, which essentially cuts off sanctioned institutions from the U.S. financial system, takes effect on June 28."


38 posted on 04/28/2012 10:59:53 AM PDT by opentalk
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To: reformedliberal
FWIW, I don’t see him as a nut.

I think it's pretty "nutty" to build himself his own "oval office". Grandiosity, they name is Glenn Beck.

Glenn Beck's Oval Office {Beck going all in for Mitt?]

Interesting. At 1:52 in Glenn's speech from the "oval office See it here the camera pans out to show a bust of the head of a white horse.

I don't see Glenn as a nut, but as an alcoholic flim-flam man who has been, and is using mormonism to fulfill his grandious dreams.

He will continue to beat the drum of doom and gloom in order to keep the cash flowing in.

BTW, "restore" is a mormon code word that is being used by both Glenn and Mitt.

39 posted on 04/28/2012 11:01:17 AM PDT by greyfoxx39 (The epitome of stupidity is a member of a proven racist sect running against a black man.)
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To: greyfoxx39

Well, I have only seen one episode of the Oval and it is odd, to say the least.

As for Romney, I heard Beck support Santorum and shrug about his expectations for Romney. And, to be honest, endorsements mean little to me. I don’t have any enthusiasm for Romney, but he isn’t Obama, he isn’t a Marxist, he isn’t out to subjugate the USA to the Muslim and totalitarian world. I will vote ABO.

Code words, white horses, prophecies: I really don’t care. I hear people all the time saying that there are code words and prophecies belonging to the Christians or the Jews and then using that to denigrate political candidates. I have read about Mormonism. It isn’t anything I believe in, but I have seen Mormons IRL and they are good, stable people, for the most part.

The culture is not dependent upon Beck or Romney. It might be less malignant if it were. It is epitomized by the present administration and the media and anything that undermines or at least blocks them is a better choice, at least for now.

40 posted on 04/28/2012 11:16:35 AM PDT by reformedliberal
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