History may not repeat, but it does rhyme…

The idea that a ruling class tells everyone else what to do, how to act, and how to think isn’t new. It goes back more than 8,000 years.

Basically, every great civilization follows the same basic path:

  • Rebirth / Recharge: The previous empire collapses and government becomes decentralized, often down to the family level. It gives time for the affected people to readjust to a life without a centralized government telling them what to do. The Dark Ages of Europe is the most well-known example, but there were others, too.
  • Formation of Government: Over time, and for various reasons and in various ways, these tiny “micro-states” start to merge together and get bigger. A formal ruling class starts to take shape.
  • Domination of Government: Government consolidates power even further, leading to the creation of a powerful capital city. A formal ruling class is now established, and the population is taught that the rulers should be respected and even revered. Taxes rise as more and more production is taken to feed the growing bureaucracy.
  • The Great Decline: Government continues to grow. Laws expand exponentially as a form of control. Education is manipulated in an effort to dumb down the population and create obedient taxpayers. Governmental force becomes more aggressive towards its own citizens. Economic growth becomes centrally driven, and as a result, the empire’s debt spins out of control. Monuments, bread and circuses are created to give the illusion that times are the most prosperous ever.
  • Systemic Breakdown: Eventually, something snaps and it all comes crashing down, often spectacularly. The old state is washed away, leaving a government-dependent population to fend for themselves for the first time in their lives. This is a very scary and dangerous time for anyone who has assets and family they want to protect.

… And the cycle repeats.

By the looks of things, those of us in the West are heading for the end of that cycle.

It’s not a question of if, but rather when.

The telltale signs are here:

More government debt: Passed 100% of GDP at the end of 2011. No large economy has ever recovered from such crushing debt without a currency crisis (or collapse), which then lead to widespread economic hardship.

Increased militarization of domestic security: Long gone are the days of Barney Fife and Andy Taylor. Welcome to enhanced security measures at airports and other ways of traveling, vague anti-terrorism laws that can be twisted into almost anything, executive decisions without judicial oversight, and disturbing legislation like the NDAA and Patriot Act.

More surveillance: Introduction of drones over US civilian airspace, increased number of cameras and other monitoring devices, all of the abominable NSA surveillance that Edward Snowden revealed, and more.

More laws:  As of the end of 2011, The Code of Federal Regulations stood at 169,301 pages – an effective doubling since 1975. Over the previous decade, there were just over 38,000 new rules added to the books. And that doubling doesn’t include new state and municipal laws.

More wars and military actions: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Iraq again, and who knows where next.

More government welfare: 48 million on food stamps.  Credible estimates that nearly 107 million US residents receive some form of government handout.

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