What We Can Learn Today from the Writings of Marcus Tullius Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero was born on January 3, 106 B.C. and was beheaded… murdered actually, on December 7, 43 B.C. by order from the Second Triumvirate.  His life coincided with the decline and fall of the Roman Republic, and he played an important role in many of the significant political events of his time.  His writings are now a valuable source of information regarding the historical significance of those events.  Cicero was, among other things, a brilliant orator, lawyer, politician, and philosopher and a man of high moral character.  Making sense of his writings and understanding his philosophy is important to keep in mind.  He was forced out of politics because of fear that his following presented a danger to those in power which he unabashedly questioned.

Cicero’s inventive command of Latin prose provided a model for generations of textbooks and grammars.  The Church Fathers explored Greek philosophy through Cicero’s translations, and many historians date the start of the Renaissance to Petrarch’s rediscovery of Cicero’s letters in 1345.  Enlightenment thinkers including John Locke, David Hume, Montesquieu, and Thomas Jefferson all borrowed thoughts and turns of phrase from Cicero. The first century critic Quintilian said that Cicero was “the name, not of a man, but of eloquence itself.”

Among many of his famous comments and ones I believe may be familiar to you are these:

“if you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need”

“the life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living”

“a room without books is like a body without a soul”

So, what then can we learn from Marcus Tullius Cicero, a man now dead for over 2,000 years?

Well, here is something Cicero wrote just two years before the Second Triumvirate of Marc Anthony, Octavian Caesar and Lepidus issued the order to have Cicero beheaded:

The Poor———————-work and work and work some more

The Rich———————-exploit the poor

The Soldier——————–protects and defends both unquestionably

The Taxpayer——————pays for all three

The Banker——————–robs all four

The Lawyer——————–misleads all five

The Physician——————bills all six

The Goons and Rioters——–scare all seven

The Politician——————lives happily on account of all eight

Tell me, what has changed in over two thousand years?

Have you ever wondered how it is that politicians who are paid salaries of between $164,000 and $220,000 per year by your government, plus expenses and stipends and the best health care for themselves and their families, all free of charge to them, can accumulate such wealth as to own two and three mansions and record earned income of $13 million like President Biden?  These are public servants.  How is that possible?

Have you ever wondered why it is we borrow billions to make unrestricted grants to nations who hate us?  Have you ever wondered why our federal government cannot live within its means like every other American citizen is required to do?  In other words, make sure the income the government collects is used to meet necessary expenses on behalf of the people and no more?  Why is our government unable to make ends meet when total tax revenues from all sources are $4.0 Trillion Dollars but our expenses for government programs total $6.0 Trillion?  I am not talking about 2020 when the world was faced with a pandemic and extraordinary steps needed to be taken… But all the other years when we continued to operate at a deficit.

Have you ever stopped to ask yourselves these questions?  Take a closer look at what Marcus Cicero wrote over 2,000 years ago.  Then think about this:

Your government decides that it is a good idea to guarantee $1.0 billion in loans for the Ukraine.  But then the Vice President of the United States comes along and says quite directly that “if the Finance Director of the Ukraine, who has commenced an investigation of a company called Burisma where the son of the U.S. sitting Vice President of the United States is on the board of directors, is not fired within six hours, the Ukraine “ain’t getting the money or the guarantee”.  In the neighborhood I grew up in, some would call that “strong arming”.  But my question goes a little deeper.  The Finance Director was fired, Ukraine got the guarantee and the money, but did anyone get a piece of that $1.0 billion?

What ever happened to all of the humanitarian aid to Haiti that the Clinton Foundation raised?  Where did all that money go?  What happened to the Clinton Foundation?  They received $145 million in donations from Russia.  On what and whom was this money spent?  Some reports of cash disbursements for the Clinton Foundation suggest that salaries and travel expenses comprised most of the income for the Foundation with very little going to help people.  How’d that happen?

Have you read or heard anything about the $1.6 Billion in investment Hunter Biden received from a Chinese Communist Party business when he flew with his father on Air Force II for “talks in China?”.  Kind of odd don’t you think that the Chinese Communists would give Hunter Biden $1.6 billion to invest when he has no expertise in investment banking?  We do know that a company was set up and funds were invested in that company but where is its charter, its by-laws and who specifically are the shareholders and what are their stakes in this company?  Wouldn’t you like to know these things, or have you forgotten about them with all the noise going on with Whoopi Goldberg’s ridiculous comments about the ‘Holocaust not being about race because Jews were white” and Russia’s invasion into Ukraine.   Could it be their “investment” was about access to the Vice President who is now the President of the United States?  If you were the head of a government, any government, would you put $1.6 billion into the hands of Hunter Biden, a drug addict with a checkered past and literally no experience in money management?  I don’t think you would, unless you believe you would be getting access to his father and be able to influence decisions that would benefit you.

In the annals of military history, can you recall one single instance of a strategic and tactical blunder of the size and scope we witnessed back in August of 2021 than Joe Biden’s self-inflicted disgrace in surrendering Afghanistan to the Taliban?  It was the greatest military blunder in recorded history, earning it five FUBARS in my judgement.

But the bungling does not stop with Afghanistan.  Today we find ourselves with runaway inflation, a porous southern border where over 2.0 million illegal immigrants invaded our nation uncontrolled and aided by our government against the will of the people, rampant crime in our cities, largely brought about by prosecutors refusing to prosecute criminals and releasing hardened criminals back into the street almost immediately after they are arrested, supply chain problems that persist, and our government lying to the people on a daily basis.  Can anyone justify the actions of President Biden sacrificing our nation’s energy independence on the very first day he took office, then waging a completely illogical war on fossil fuels?  Then equally mystifying, tacitly giving approval for the Russian NorthSteam2 Pipeline allowing Russia to become wealthy at our expense and making Europe dependent on Russian oil and gas?  Why would you do this unless you feel obligated to Russia perhaps because your son (and possibly you) has received $millions from them?

Have we lost our mind?  Have we lost our willingness to do the right thing?  We find ourselves today being led by someone who is weak, a chronic and habitual liar, surrounded by incompetent people and advisors many of whom must have missed classes in Economics 101.

The fact is little has changed in over 2,000 years.  Politics today is a very dirty business with politicians reaping huge rewards….  indeed huge payoffs…. ”tips and clips” to put it bluntly…all on the backs of the people.  Lost in all of this is the fact that what our nation has evolved to is not at all what our Founders wanted for us when they handed us a Constitutional Republic.  James Madison wrote…” we base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government”.  As I have written in the past, this notion that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power except that granted to it by the sovereign people, is still the newest, most unique idea in the long history of man’s relation to man.  But, at its core, it presupposes that the representatives elected by the people conduct themselves with honesty and integrity…and indeed most of them I believe do.  But there are far too many who are more concerned with seeking power and control over the people and imposing their will, and once that permeates government, the signs of decline, like that of the Roman Empire, raise their ugly head.

Mask mandates, vaccination mandates, shutting down of businesses and worse, schools have all been proven medically unnecessary…yet our government still tries to impose their will on the people.  Can you spell corruption?  How about power grab?

I am disgusted with the state of our government today.  Politicians speak eloquently about democracy.  The problem is they don’t practice it and the reason they do not is simply this:  they do not care about the people they represent for if they did, they would not conduct themselves the way they are.  Recall how they spent millions of taxpayer dollars impeaching a President who was no longer president on spurious charges.  That is not responsible government.  It reminds me of the derivation of the word politic which is from the Greek word “poly” meaning “many and “tic” meaning a blood sucking parasite”.  Time to change the tune.  Government programs are difficult to change.  Indeed, they are the closest thing we have to eternal life on earth.  But we have to try.  Most importantly, our government needs to start caring about the people.

We have serious problems in America, and we need serious people to solve them.  We do not need finger pointing nor class warfare.  We need to get our house in order starting at the top.

Marcus Tullius Cicero was right.