Every schoolboy knows that, as the Roman Empire aged, its emperors declined from being Augustan gods to being shuffled in and out by the elite imperial guards, the Praetorian Guard.
Maybe Julius Caesar started the rot when he violated Roman law by bringing his army in Gaul across the Rubicon river and marched it into Rome.
As the welfare state careers towards disaster we are seeing the emergence of a new Praetorian Guard. It is the organized mobs of government workers outraged that their over-market wages and over-market pensions are being cut. You do not see dangerous mobs of ordinary citizens in the streets, unless you consider the peaceable and good-natured Tea Party a mob. You see the civil servants in the streets. No doubt the events in Madison, Wisconsin, of last winter will be repeated elsewhere as noble teachers and professors demonstrate their outrage now that their life-time employment and pension deal turns out to be less than gold-plated.
You could have seen it coming. The politicians enrolled these supporters into powerful special interests to help them with their reelection. And now their supporters are demanding that the checks keep coming.
In a perfect world, I'd say to hell with this ungrateful recipients of government loot. For make no mistake, every dollar poured into the pocket of a government worker or a government benefit recipient has been obtained by force.
But reality is not as simple as that.
Our liberal friends have built their supporters up into a formidable political force. That was the easy part. The hard part is going to be persuading these lottery winners that you don't get to win the lottery every day of the year. The tricky thing is going to be getting these folks to retreat without burning the place down as they leave.
Some politician is going to figure out how to do this, and I suspect that the key is understanding that most government employees--nurses, teachers, social workers--are women. Let's face it, women in government, unionized as they are, aren't like the miners and the railroad workers and the auto workers that defined the union movement. Women just don't do rioting in the streets.
Still, a grand betrayal of all the progressive promises is heading right down the tracks. It is essential that the blame is put right where it belongs, on the liberals that promised that government could conjure up wonders.
What a crock. Government is force. If you want to do something practical, something productive and compassionate, perhaps, then you don't get government involved. You rely on the cooperative nature of the social animal we call homo sapiens.
Meanwhile we've got the new Praetorian Guard trying to scare us into coughing up more money, and it's going to get worse before it gets better.