"Cicero and the State of the Union"
Lessons from the fall of Rome
“President Obama likes to refer to himself as a student of history,” Dr. Joseph Loconte writes in Huffington Post. The president, Loconte continues, “might bear in mind the history of another great republic: Rome.” In “Cicero and the State of the Union,” Loconte argues that Marcus Tillius Cicero, one of Rome’s greatest statesman, offers an important lesson for Americans on the decline of republicanism.
In a speech delivered on Nov. 6th, 63 B.C., Cicero observed that political corruption and avarice were dangers to the ancient Roman way of life. “But that is not all Cicero saw,” writes Loconte. Among other problems were the breakdown of family, an increase in sexual license, and an increasing disrespect for natural law. In these changes Cicero perceived a “massive cultural shift” that threatened the established political and social institutions that had sustained Rome for centuries.
Cicero’s prophetic observations made him popular with the American Founders, who “searched his writings for clues about how democracies and republics perish.” Loconte observes that like Cicero, the Founders believed that “the abandonment of transcendent truths can never lead to a more just and humane society.”
Thus, Loconte concludes, President Obama’s ethos of progressivism is not only “eviscerating America's civic and political life,” but putting our very republic in jeopardy.
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