Before the barbarians destroyed the great empire, Rome collapsed from within. Will and Ariel Durant describe how socialism brought down one of the greatest civilisations in the history of the world.
Rome had its socialist interlude under Diocletian. Faced with increasing poverty and restlessness among the masses, and with the imminent danger of barbarian invasion, he issued in A.D. 3 an edictum de pretiis, which denounced monopolists for keeping goods from the market to raise prices, and set maximum prices and wages for all important articles and services. Extensive public works were undertaken (NBN, BER) to put the unemployed to work, and food was distributed gratis ($900 cheques), or at reduced prices, to the poor. The government – which already owned most mines, quarries, and salt deposits – brought nearly all major industries and guilds under detailed control. “In every large town,” we are told, “the state became a powerful employer, standing head and shoulders above the private industrialists, who were in any case crushed by taxation.” When businessmen predicted ruin, Diocletian explained that the barbarians were at the gate (Man-made Global Warming), and that individual liberty had to be shelved until collective liberty could be made secure. The socialism of Diocletian was a war economy, made possible by fear of foreign attack. Other factors equal, internal liberty varies inversely with external danger.
The task of controlling men in economic detail proved too much for Diocletian’s expanding, expensive, and corrupt bureaucracy. To support this officialdom – the army, the courts, public works, and the dole – taxation rose to such heights that people lost the incentive to work or earn, and an erosive contest began between lawyers finding devices to evade taxes and lawyers formulating laws to prevent evasion. Thousands of Romans, to escape the tax gatherer, fled over the frontiers to seek refuge among the barbarians. Seeking to check this elusive mobility and to facilitate regulation and taxation, the government issued decrees binding the peasant to his field and the worker to his shop until all their debts and taxes had been paid. In this and other ways medieval serfdom began.
Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it and the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
There is hope, however, as Andrew Bolt notices a retreat from the green agenda.
Hal Colebatch comments on the erosion of our liberties, with the attack on our highest freedom.
In paragraph 4.10 of the Finkelstein report it is stated that the council should control speech in Australia because the people are too stupid to be allowed free access to news.
When the representative of Murdoch’s News Ltd. claimed readers were “capable of making up their own minds,” Finkelstein stated: “Often, however, readers are not in a position to make a properly informed judgement.” John Roskam, of the think tank the Institute for Public Affairs, has commented of this that:
This is intellectual arrogance at its most breath-taking. And it’s a great argument against democracy. If, as Finkelstein claims, people aren’t smart enough to decide for themselves the merits of what they see in the media, then they’re certainly not smart enough to decide who to vote for.… Finkelstein and the Greens believe access to the media should be restricted to those who are “balanced and responsible.”