Tuesday, January 10, 2006
"The changing character of the native population, brought about through unremarked pressures on porous borders; the creation of an increasingly rigid and unwieldly bureaucracy, whose own survival becomes its overriding goal; the despising of the military and the avoidance of its service by established families, while its offices present unprecedented opportunity for marginal men to whom its ranks had once been closed; the lip service paid to values long dead; the pretense that we still are what we once were; the increasing concentration of the populace into richer and poorer by way of a corrupt tax system, and the desperation that inevitably follows; the aggrandizement of executive power at the expense of the legislature; ineffectual legislation promulgated with great show; the moral vocation of the man at the top to maintain order at all costs, while growing blind to the cruel dilemmas of ordinary life..."
The reign of Solomon, per 1 Kgs 1-11?
Okay, seriously, and getting well out of my own area of knowledge: late Roman Empire?
Your second idea was correct Brooke, it is a description of the socio-politico-economic scene immediately preceding the fall of Rome (author: Thomas Cahill). It's scary, because many remarks in it sound like they could be a description of today.