"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you ... you may know that your society is doomed." Ayn Rand
One Wednesday morning eight years ago my daughter's political science class at the University of Florida was canceled.
The professor arrived, announced that he was too upset to continue, and left. George W. Bush had just been re-elected.
That was a silly overreaction.
But it is no exaggeration to say that last Tuesday was a watershed.
It is over. America is done.
Having grown up during America's zenith, and seeing a resurgence in the 1980s, I did not expect to live to see the day when the voters would repudiate America, reject its basic principles and vote themselves into decline and, probably, destruction.
In a century, the greatest nation in history will be but a memory. It will be Mexican, or Muslim or perhaps Chinese, and the liberty and freedom our ancestors earned in the 18th century will be gone.
Furthermore, it will not exist anywhere else in the world. Ronald Reagan was right when he said America is the last, best hope of mankind.
But the voters chose another hope; a nebulous, greedy hope, where the Takers outnumber the Makers yet hope the Makers will continue to make.
The individual will be subsumed into the collective and his own interests, dreams and desires will no longer matter. Politicians will not be public servants but our masters.
The seeds for this were sown 100 years ago with the election of Woodrow Wilson. He was not the first to attack capitalism, but he was the first to insist that government was the answer to everything.
One prescient Russian immigrant saw this coming. Ayn Rand wrote her seminal work, "Atlas Shrugged," in the late 1950s while America was at the top. Intellectuals and critics hated the book but the public loved it and today her book remains one of the most influential in history, second only to the Bible.
What she predicted already is coming true. The Makers are shrugging. They are innovating, producing, creating wealth less because the government is taking more, and spending even more than that. It is not sustainable.
But the public education system and the malfeasant media have made sure that enough voters know and care little about our political and economic history. Instead, they are grabbing for all they can, like the people in Greece who are rioting in the streets and burning buildings because of the horrid prospect that they can no longer retire at the age of 52 on a lavish pension, working half their lives and playing for the other half at the expense of others.
Some still believe the excesses of the next four years will bring about a Reaganesque revival. I no longer believe that can happen.
America had a choice and made it. Elections have consequences. The House of Representatives will not be able to stop the tax-and-spend juggernaut. Atlas will shrug.
Pray for the late, great United States of America.
Lloyd Brown was in the newspaper business nearly 50 years, beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. After retirement he served as speech writer for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.