The Prophetic Words of Plutarch

“The abuse of buying and selling votes crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections. Later on, this process of corruption spread to the law courts. And then to the army, and finally the Republic was subjected to the rule of emperors.” “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” – – Plutarch

When first reading this quote, I thought – “This person must be an American describing the current state of our nation!” But Plutarch was not an American. He was a Greek philosopher/historian who lived over two thousand years ago in the first century A.D., 1300 years before Columbus “discovered” the Americas.

Plutarch was also a Roman citizen, and the above quotation was his historical perspective on the decline and collapse of the Roman Empire. His words are prophetic and apply perfectly to what is happening in America today. Gross inequality – the existence of a billionaire class – has turned America into an oligarchy/plutocracy. Rule by the rich and corporations. “Dark money” ensures legislative candidates from either party are chosen and vetted before we are ever allowed to vote for them. Indeed, “dark money” permeates all of our elections from local school boards (think Wausau) and village boards (think Kronenwetter) to the highest offices in the land.

Our nation now displays the classic historical markers of an oligarchic/plutocratic empire in decline:

Financialization – the manipulation of money to make money, rather than actually producing goods and services to benefit society, becomes the largest sector of the economy. Money becomes “god” while community and the common good is for exploitable stary-eyed dreamers.

Uncontrolled militarism drains the nation’s resources impoverishing average citizens while providing vast profits for the money changers.

A captured media, owned by the rich, where clever wording – soundbites and glitz – appeal to emotion while tossing history, evidence, and thoughtful consideration to the side.

Conspiracy theories abound, spread by fearful, confused, and misinformed individuals, groups, and self-serving political charlatans.

A divided citizenry, rips, and tears at one another, while the oligarchs watch in amusement. Violence spreads in the society and the potential political power of the masses, the united community, falls to “divide and conquer.”

The words of Plutarch warrant repeating: “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”

The defense against rule by the rich and the loss of our nation, is a united, caring citizenry.