Lawrence Reed is president of FEE (Foundation of Economic Education). He also taught economics at the Midland, Michigan’s Northwood University.

Quotes by Lawrence Reed:

Why did Rome decline and fall? In my belief, Rome fell because of a fundamental change in ideas on the part of the Roman people—ideas which relate primarily to personal responsibility and the source of personal income. In the early days of greatness, Romans regarded themselves as their chief source of income. By that I mean each individual looked to himself – what he could acquire voluntarily in the marketplace – as the source of his livelihood. Rome’s decline began when the people discovered another source of income: the political process – the State. When Romans abandoned self-responsibility and self-reliance, and began to vote themselves benefits, to use government to rob Peter and pay Paul, to put their hands into other people’s pockets, to envy and covet the productive and their wealth, their fate was sealed. As Dr. Howard E. Kershner puts it, “When a selfgoverning people confer upon their government the power to take from some and give to others, the process will not stop until the last bone of the last taxpayer is picked bare.” The legalized plunder of the Roman Welfare State was undoubtedly sanctioned by people who wished to do good. But as Henry David Thoreau wrote, “If I knew for certain that a man was coming to my house to do me good, I would run for my life.” Another person coined the phrase, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Nothing but evil can come from a society bent upon coercion, the confiscation of property, and the degradation of the productive.

* See 2 Mos. 20:17: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house .. nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
The Fall of Rome and Modern Parallels. FEE (Foundation of Economic Education).