Tom Reynolds S.C.O.P.E. Treasurer
I recently saw some interesting information about ancient Rome and politicians that offered “free stuff” and where the giveaways eventually ended up.
In 136 BC, Tiberius Gracchus redistributed land to the landless (Income redistribution and social justice Roman style). He limited the amount of land one could own to 310 acres. (Government deciding someone is too wealthy). He was killed by political enemies.
In 123 BC, Tiberius’ brother Gaius tried implementing his brother’s plans and found that many of those given free land couldn’t actually farm! (Imagine that!) To correct a government program that did not work, the government instituted another program of subsidized grain for all. (A bit like subsidizing college loans and then proposing to forgive the loan because people took out too much!) Gaius was also killed by political enemies.
In 100 BC, the grain program was expanded in exchange for votes. (Gasp! Buying votes. It’s a good thing that could never happen in the U.S.A.!)
In 62 BC, Lucius Catiline, promised his “Clean Slates” program which would eliminate all debt and let people start over again. (The Roman version of Bernie Sanders.) He was also charged, but not convicted, of adultery with a Vestal Virgin. (Who does that remind me of… hmmm?) When he lost an election, he tried to seize power and was killed.
In 59 BC, Publius Clodius Pulcher granted free grain to all free citizens and - who could have guessed - the mobs of unemployed in Rome grew larger and larger. (Who could have foreseen that some people would rather get “free stuff” than work.) Publius was also tried on charges of incest – but the fix was in for acquittal. Publius Clodius was killed by his political enemies.
(Tiberius, Gaius, Lucius and Publius could definitely have used laws against sword ownership! Could their last thoughts have been wishing they had licensed swords and put limits on a sword’s length -capacity?)
Julius Caesar, passed his own land redistribution law, which helped get him elected to a succession of offices as well as to his dictatorship. He was assassinated in 44 BC. (Like today’s London Mayor, Caesar needed laws against knife ownership!)
Because Rome didn’t have laws prohibiting swords, demagogues could be stopped. (Not so good for demagogues, of course.)
Our Founding Fathers were well acquainted with history, especially Roman history, which is why they created the 2nd Amendment for protection against government tyranny. (Deer hunting was okay with the Founding Fathers, too.)
The Roman far-left created a dependency class in Rome that could be manipulated for political purposes. It started with promises of “free stuff” and it ended in death and tyranny. Is it possible that today’s far left sees some parallel between the killing of Roman demagogues and wanting limits on magazine capacity?