The Thought for the Day – Cato

Citizens no longer listened to good advice, for the belly has no ears. – Cato


Cato (95-46 BC), also known as Cato the Younger and born Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis, was a Roman statesman and orator. His parents died when he was very young, and the uncle who raised him was assassinated when Cato was four. He studied philosophy and politics before accepting a commission in the Roman army and History remembers Cato as rather stubborn and impervious to bribes. He had a running feud with Julius Caesar and killed himself in 46 BC. The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, was named after him.

Today’s thought concerns the Romans who at the time were prosperous and well-fed and unwilling to acknowledge the warning signs their empire was dying. This is what is happening in America right now.  

There are a couple of ways to look at things: circumstantially, a view which is mainly derived from outside sources, and intrinsically, which are things that happen naturally.

Circumstantially, things aren’t too bad in America right now. Government figures tell us the economy is doing pretty good and that unemployment is low. It’s not quite at the point where everyone who wants a job and can hold down a job has a job, but it’s not too far from that, actually. American business adapted, as they always have, and learned how to make a profit in the Great Recession and they are still operating that way. Yes, unemployment is low, but it is still difficult for working people to make a go of it.

…for the belly has no ears.

Intrinsically, however, America is heralding warning signs for us to hear if we would listen. Our country is as fractured as it’s ever been, breaking over an ethnic and economic divide that might be beyond bridging. Our perpetual wars and fiscal insanity are not the calling cards of a flourishing nation with long-term prospects. If her citizens do not do something, America eventually will be tossed aside the scrapheap of history, probably before this half-century is out.

We must not let the relative prosperity of a full stomach cause us to go deaf. A circumstantial view seldom yields the complete picture. In all aspects, we must look deeper to see what is happening both fundamentally and intrinsically.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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