I am a God-fearing man
“We make ourselves rich by making our wants few.” (Henry David Thoreau) Do you consider yourself richer or poorer than average?
1 Maccabees, Chapter 8, Verse 12
They subjugated kings both near and far, and all who heard of their fame were afraid of them.
This verse is referring to the Romans (150 B.C.) and Judas Maccabee was impressed with the Romans for, “Judas had heard of the reputation of the Romans. They were valiant fighters and acted amiably to all who took their side. They established a friendly alliance with all who applied to them. He was also told of their battles and the brave deeds that they performed against the Gaul’s.” (1 Maccabees 8:1-2) Judas sent envoys to Rome, probably before the death of Nicanor, to conclude a treaty of alliance between Rome and the Jewish nation. Without precise chronology, the pertinent data are gathered into a unified theme. The image of the Roman Republic greatly impressed the smaller Eastern peoples seeking support against their overlords, because of Roman success in war and effective aid to their allies. Numerous interventions by Rome in the politics of the Near East bear witness to its power and prestige in the second century B.C. With the increased Roman control of Palestine after 63 B.C., the Republic and later the Empire became heartily detested. The eulogy of Rome in this chapter is one of the reasons why 1 Maccabees was not preserved by the Palestinian Jews of the century that followed.
Fall of the Roman Republic
In 133 BC, Rome was a democracy. Little more than a hundred years later it was governed by an emperor. This imperial system has become, for us, a by-word for autocracy and the arbitrary exercise of power. At the end of the second century BC the Roman people was sovereign. True, rich aristocrats dominated politics. In order to become one of the annually elected 'magistrates' (who in Rome were concerned with all aspects of government, not merely the law) a man had to be very rich. Even the system of voting was weighted to give more influence to the votes of the wealthy. Yet ultimate power lay with the Roman people. Mass assemblies elected the magistrates, made the laws and took major state decisions. Rome prided itself on being a 'free republic' and centuries later was the political model for the founding fathers of the United States. The system was weighted to give more influence to the votes of the wealthy. By 14 AD, when the first emperor Augustus died, popular elections had all but disappeared. Power was located not in the old republican assembly place of the forum, but in the imperial palace. The assumption was that Augustus's heirs would inherit his rule over the Roman world - and so they did. This was nothing short of a revolution, brought about through a century of constant civil strife, and sometimes open warfare. This ended when Augustus - 'Octavian' as he was then called - finally defeated his last remaining rivals Mark Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC and established himself on the throne.
Thus is the danger in “I have a pen and a
paper phone cnn.”