Most people dislike taxes, increasing regulations and the government’s size. And every Republican promises to reverse the trend and shrink this leviathan. But it never happens. For example, Bush gave us the Patriot Act, a Republican Congress failed to repeal Obamacare, our governor shut down “unessential” businesses and our state government has grown by 30% in the last two years. Republican incumbents boast about protecting our liberties and making the world a safer place for freedom. Yet it doesn’t feel much freer or safer to me.
After the death of Caesar’s immediate successors, Rome entered a period of turmoil and decline. The emperors were weak and jealous, and out of fear, they empowered the Praetorian Guards (Roman elite soldiers) with immense wealth and enormous liberties. Eventually, licentiousness led to Rome’s decline. After one especially degenerate emperor was assassinated by his own concubine, Pertinax was chosen as the next emperor, a man renowned for his virtues and discipline. But his guards promptly murdered him after he cut their pay and reintroduced discipline. Later, Probus, another virtuous emperor, was also murdered by his guards for directing them to drain a swamp to teach them moderation. While these good men could have saved a dying empire, the Roman soldiers’ selfishness precluded such an outcome.