A civic duty and a historic parallel

Journal/Website: 
Macon Telegraph
Article Type: 
Commentary
Published Date: 
Sunday, June 5, 2011

Macon Telegraph journalist Charles Richardson, former Mercer University President, Dr. Kirby Godsey, and Mercer Law Professor David Oedel have all brought interesting points to the discussion of the problem of education and ethics. I believe this is a problem -- not just affecting Georgia and Bibb County -- but also the nation. And, in contemporary society, it goes deeper than educational methodology and throwing money at the problem. If history is any guide, it goes, unfortunately, to the core of our development as a society, citizenship, and declivity as part of (Western) civilization.

Consider the civic duty of a citizen in the Roman republic up to the time of the conquest of Alexander’s Hellenistic world, the sense of duty of the citizen to Scipio Africanusserve the republic; the thirst for learning of Greek aesthetics, architecture, law, history, rhetoric, mathematics, oratory, absorption of the various schools of philosophy (e.g. Stoicism, empiricism, humanism), etc.

In short, there was great value and pride to be a well-rounded, learned, Roman citizen, incarnated in the highest officers of the state, from the consuls Scipio Africanus Major (236-183 BC; photo, left), Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Minor (185-129 BC), Gaius Titus Flaminius (c. 210-187 B.C.), Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (the father of the more popular Gracchi brothers), etc., was enhanced by the friendship of the Romans to the various people they conquered, such as the Greek historian Polybius (200-118 BC; photo, right below).

This sense of citizenship of duty and of learning, trickled down to the citizen, who was more than willing to be informed about civic affairs, serve the nation, the army (i.e., citizen-soldiers), in the magistracies, in the remote provinces and outposts. Roman citizenship was a symbol of pride and a valued asset in the Republic and in the early empire. The civic sense or responsibility of the Roman nobility ended with the death knell of the Republic, although a semblance of it persisted with the Principate during the Pax Romana and the Siiver Age of the Adoptive emperors. Loss of self governance and freedom, and the confidence that went with them resulted in decline in the sense of civic duty and responsiblity in the late Empire.

PolybiusConsider the attitudes of the Romans by the time of Brutish Emperor Caracalla, who extended citizenship to people in the provinces who no longer cared or wanted it bo citizens, so they would not have to pay further taxes and serve in the civic offices of the empire.

Taxation became rampant with corruption. Decadence surpassed duty. Citizens were no longer were willing to serve as soldiers to defend the borders of the empire against the barbarian hordes piling up at the frontiers.

Citizens were then unwilling to serve the public as magistrates, judges, etc., not to mention serving in the army in remote outposts. And for those who served in the professional army, shields and armaments had to be made lighter. Professional soldiers no longer wanted to carry the heavy items. The frontiers had to be guarded against barbarians entering, pillaging and plundering the empire, and because of the lack of recruits, this became an insurmountable task. Because of the shortages of citizens serving in the army, both enlisted men and officers, Germanic and Hun barbarians were permitted to enter Western empire provinces and then were recruited to serve in the dwindling Roman army.

Towards the end, the tables were turned and the masters now served at the will of the slaves, and the Germanic generals Stilicho and Ricimer made and deposed emperors at will, and the Western Empire formally collapsed in A.D. 476.

Decline in EducationEducational decline and lack of ethics in government are symptoms of a civilization in decline. I hope I am wrong, and the problem with education is a temporary setback phenomenon in our society. If that is the case, then we can reform the system by the promotion of true academic excellence and dedication to basic core curricula (e.g., more time in math, science, reading and writing) and less time in self-esteem and “feel good” promotion and political correctness.

Civics and ethics should be taught in schools so our youth learn moral values and the cardinal virtues, and later, as productive citizens, have functioning moral values with an understanding of civic duty and moral responsibilities.

We should empower parents by increasing school choice and parental involvement in education, including the institution of vouchers and tax deductions for paying tuition in the schools of choice. Teachers should be freed from the stranglehold of the centralized, educational bureaucracy as to be able to raise educational standards and prepare children as individuals for the real technologic and competitive world they will be confronting in the 21st century.

The good news about Roman history and modern parallels is that Rome, as the city on the hill, lasted more than a 1,000 years, and despite periods of crisis and resurgence, such as under Constantine the Great, its period of decline lasted nearly 300 years, from approximately A.D. 180 until its fall in A.D. 476.

Will we last that long, even in decline?

Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D., is a resident of Macon, GA.

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Debate carries from Southern Orders blog!

Debate carries from Southern Orders blog!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh: "For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains." 1 Timothy 6:10



Rerum Novarum (1891): "That the spirit of revolutionary change, which has long been disturbing the nations of the world, should have passed beyond the sphere of politics and made its influence felt in the cognate sphere of practical economics is not surprising. The elements of the conflict now raging are unmistakable, in the vast expansion of industrial pursuits and the marvelous discoveries of science; in the changed relations between masters and workmen; in the enormous fortunes of some few individuals, and the utter poverty of the masses; in the increased self-reliance and closer mutual combination of the working classes; as also, finally, in the prevailing moral degeneracy. The momentous gravity of the state of things now obtaining fills every mind with painful apprehension; wise men are discussing it; practical men are proposing schemes; popular meetings, legislatures, and rulers of nations are all busied with it -- actually there is no question which has taken a deeper hold on the public mind."



"Media" bears some share of the responsibility, but I think there is a much more corrosive influence that underlies our social ills. We have come to idolize money and possessions. Although they are temporary, they demand more and more of our attention, our resources, and, ultimately, our souls.

Friedrich Nietzsche, seeing what Leo XIII was seeing, wrote in 1911: "What indices one man to use false weights, another to set his house on fire after having insured it for more than its value, while three-fourths of our upper classes indulge in legalized fraud...what gives rise to all of this? It is not real want - for their existence is by no means precarious...but they are urged on day and night by a terrible impatience at seeing their wealth pile up so slowly, and by an equally terrible longing and love for these heaps of gold... . What was once done "for the love of God" is now done for the love of money, i.e., for the love of that which at present affords us the highest feeling of power and a good conscience." March 1, 2016

Dr. Miguel A. Faria: Fr. Allan J. McDonald is absolutely correct in this blog and so are on target several of the comments, but the Catholic Church should not be blamed for the downward spiral. We have become a secular society that worships immediate gratification and celebrity status. This is due to the power of those who pull the strings, controlling the media, academia, and the popular culture, compounded with an overt failure of parenthood, the public education system, the culture of government dependence, and the secularization of society. 

With the sensationalization of violence by the media and the popular culture, coupled with the ubiquitous yearning for fame and celebrity status at any price, we have become a declining and decadent society. Someone here once called me a pursuer of "catastrophism," as if we were not witnessing a cataclysmic decline in culture and civilization— but we are! What more evidence is needed for the decline in morality and civility in conjunction with the obsessive and pathologic pursuit of the “fifteen minutes worth of fame” phenomenon than the immense popularity of vulgar “reality” television shows? It is not a big step to link extensive coverage of shooting rampages in both the press and the electronic media as a major contributing factor to America’s Psychosis — mass shootings — individuals on the edge morbidly attempting to attain celebrity status even in death: Shoot a lot of innocent people and you are guaranteed to enter the club of celebrities... You may die in the act, but everyone will know your name — and the gun will be blamed rather than the psychopath!



The secular society’s dyke is leaking, and it will take more than a finger to stop the leak! Thank you for the blog and the chance to comment. Southern Orders is one of the most intellectually armed blogs and comment postings anywhere. Kudos to you Father McDonald! — Miguel A. Faria, M.D., Associate Editor in Chief and World Affairs Editor of Surgical Neurology International (SNI) March 1, 2016

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh: "It is not a big step to link extensive coverage of shooting rampages in both the press and the electronic media as a major contributing factor to America’s Psychosis..."

I think making this link is a VERY big step. The effect of the media, you note, is on those "individuals on the edge morbidly attempting to attain celebrity status even in death." They are already on the edge. Seeing reports of mass shootings might be minimally influential, but something else got them to the edge long before that.

As for the "immense popularity" of Reality TV, for the week of February 8, 2016, Neilsen reports that not one Reality show was in the Top Ten watched on Prime Broadcast Network TV, Cable Network TV, or Syndication Network TV.

For the entire 2014-2015 TV season, the highest ranked Reality TV show was The Bachelor, coming in way down the list at number 22. (The Top Ten were 1. Football, 2. Empire, 3. Football, 4. Big Bang Theory, 5. Football, 6. Football, 7. Big Bang Theory-2, 8. Modern Family, 9. Scandal, 10. The Voice.) March 1, 2016

Fr. Allan J. McDonald: I am not usually pessimistic and I hope that if Trump is elected president, which he may well have a shot at doing, some kind of authentic conversion will overwhelm him and he won't create a disaster that will demolish any semblance of order and morality in our country.

But I do fear that we may be seeing the collapse of the USA according to the fall of the Roman Empire and it isn't our leaders necessarily leading the way but the narcissistic media and their henchmen the celebrities who are brainwashing a quite willing audience into accepting life as a reality show. And the populace satisfied by seeing life as a reality show are will to allow it to happen as it opens a new chapter of excitement in the reality show's narrative and plot. It kind of reminds me of the Truman Show from a few years back. March 1, 2016

Fr. Allan J. McDonald: Fr. K, I think the biggest reality show on TV based on the flops you write about are what CNN, FOX and MSNBC are doing to the news and the celebrity they give to killers with incessant coverage of these kinds of stories and going so far as to give a title to these. The carnival that is the Republican candidates and with Trump leading the charge is a prime example. The inordinate amount of time the networks give to him, the dust up with Megan Kelly (which I think is contrived for ratings purposes) and the rest of it is unbelievably. And I am sure that the more liberal media are pushing Trump because Hillary will certainly beat him. I can't imagine what it would be like for him to debate her if he is as ugly to her as he has been to his own party candidates. This has all the ingredients for great ratings for the news departments of all the networks, especially if they land any debates.

Dr. Miguel A. Faria: Fr. K, I have no idea where you are going with this, and you certainly lost me with your unintelligible assertion: “I think making this link is a VERY big step.The effect of the media, you note, is on those "individuals on the edge morbidly attempting to attain celebrity status even in death." They are already on the edge. Seeing reports of mass shootings might be minimally influential, but something else got them to the edge long before that.”

True statements as far as I can decipher their meaning. I don’t see what Fr. K thinks he is refuting here. Perhaps he should re-read what I wrote!

As for for your refutation of the "immense popularity" of Reality TV. You certainly used a very narrow interpretation! Father McDonald has very accurately already explained that the “popular culture and reality TV” is everywhere, which is what I meant. In fact, news coverage, celebrity coverage, talking heads galore, election coverage, and certainly all the football games and other sports, as you should know, is nothing more than the modern counterpart of the ancient Romans’ ,panum et circenses, which in the hands of Julius Caesar brought the death knell of the Republic, eerily as we see today, unless we change course!

Flavius Hesychius: “which in the hands of Julius Caesar brought the death knell of the Republic, eerily as we see today, unless we change course!

”

Lol, Augustus did more for Rome in 50 years than the Republic did in 500. Not the best example if you're going to defend republicanism. March 1, 2016

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh: Dr. F - The assertion isn't unintelligible. It boils down to this: You say, "It is not a big step to link extensive coverage of shooting rampages in both the press and the electronic media as a major contributing factor to America’s Psychosis — mass shootings..." I respond: You assert causality but do not show it. What's the "link"?

I don't think any culture has been without Bread and Circuses - we have all had our diversions and delights. Are ours, today, worse, more invasive, more destructive than in other cultures, than in ages past? Again, you make an assertion, but assertions are not proof of causality. March 1, 2016

Dr. Miguel A. Faria: Fr. K. the fact is Dr. Centerwall, myself, and others have studied this problem for years. The popular culture influences people in general, and TV violence in particular (a form of mass psychology akin to indoctrination) is associated with increases in crime, violence, and homicide. So here are the LINKs:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/41322/TELEVISION-VIOLENCE-LINKED-TO-D...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3589843/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3740620/

http://haciendapub.com/articles/tv-violence-increases-homicides

http://haciendapub.com/medicalsentinel/statistical-malpractice-firearm-a...

As to Flavius Hesychius: “Lol, Augustus did more for Rome in 50 years than the Republic did in 500. Not the best example if you're going to defend republicanism.”

Oh yes! I made an excellent comparison when the entire history is taking as a whole. It is easy to make selective comparisons! Flavius picks the best emperor of all times: Augustus, who even kept the idea and the trappings of the Republic alive, is compared to the end of the Republic, “the death knell of the Republic” at the time of the bloody civil wars, proscriptions, corruption violence, etc.

How about selecting emperors like Tiberius, Caligula, Nero, Domitian, Commodus, Caracalla, Elagabalus? And compare them to the intellectual warriors of Republican Rome like Scipio Africanus, Scipio Nasica, Scipio Aemilianus, Claudius Marcellus, Aemilius Paulus, Quintus Titus Flaminius; and the philosopher statesmen of the late Republic, such as Cato the Younger, Cicero, Varro, etc.; and the Republican Senate who was called “an assemblage of kings” by Pyrrhus’ ambassador, the senate who fought heroically, the First and Second Punic Wars, who rebuilt Rome after the Gauls sacked it in 390 BC., etc.

http://haciendapub.com/articles/civic-duty-and-historic-parallel

It is also obvious that Flavius is not aware that the aqueducts, the roads, and the other engineering wonders, such as the Roman arch, the vault, the dome, and the materials fro which they were constructed, cement and concrete, were improved to perfection, if not invented, by Republican Romans. And then they also came up with government under the rule of law, republican form and structure of government — not only the Senate, but the popular assemblies and the courts; the separation of powers; the right to legal appeal by citizens. As if all of this was not enough, the greatest geographical and geopolitical expansion of the “empire” occurred at the time of the late Republic. Our own form of government is largely influenced and based on the Roman Republic.

Dictators have picked Tsars, Shahs, Kaisers, etc, for their titles and methods, but we in the U.S. chose [Lucius Quinctius] Cincinnatus. LOL! With good cause and history behind it, the American nation was established by the Founders, not as a Greek democracy, but more in keeping with the Roman Republic! — MAF

Flavius Hesychius: “ 'It is obvious Flavius, you are also not aware...' "

No, I'm quite aware. I just don't give a damn. Now, go write a response to someone who might actually care! March 2, 2016

Civics requirement!

Civics Test

On January 15, 2015 Arizona passed a law requiring high school students to pass a test on civics, the same requirement immigrants must fulfill before they can become proud U.S. citizens. Arizona students must answer 60% of the questions correctly to pass the test and graduate.

This is an excellent idea, except that 75% not 60% correct should be the passing grade. The questions are not difficult, but they do require basic knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and the rudiments of American history and recognition of the ideological pillars on which this great nation was founded. In fact one of the proposed reasons for public education, not only in ancient Greece (from Plato and Aristotle) but in America in the 19th century, was the need of reading and knowledge of civics necessary to fulfill the duties of citizenship.

I passed this test with flying colors when I was in high school (Columbia, S.C.). It was one of the proudest days of my life. If immigrants are required to have this knowledge of basic America government, why not Americans in high school, given the regrettable decline in both American educational standards and the shocking lack of basic knowledge of both American government and U.S. history by the American public (as documented by various polls)? After all, citizens have the right to vote and the duty to serve as jurors in our republican form of government. The Arizona measure is an idea whose time has come. Let's get this passed in Georgia, the sooner the better!

Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

Published in the Macon Telegraph, Jan. 20, 2015

Replies--

Bosque Flores: Dr. Faria...excellent point. That should be a graduation requirement in all 50 states. But, how much do you want to bet that before long, there will be a lawsuit against Arizona regarding their newly passed law. Liberals cannot let stand anything that may thwart their Marxist indoctrination.

Emory Lane: Extract from Thomas Jefferson’s “Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge.

"... experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts, which history exhibiteth, that, possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes... whence it becomes expedient for promoting the publick happiness that those persons, whom nature hath endowed with genius and virtue, should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens, and that they should be called to that charge without regard to wealth, birth or other accidental condition or circumstance."

Quite a bit different from the drivel we get from modern politicians.

Bob Farquhar: Miguel. Felicidades, estoy seguro que usted estaba orgulloso. ¿Recibió una estrella roja para ello?...

Eddie Moreland: Dr. Faria I bet a dollar against a doughnut your president could not pass it at 60%.

Mike Ganas: Dr. Faria, you and I both know why there will never again be civics classes in school. Politicians of both parties want dumbed down sheep, not dissidents like us who will say "ahem! that's not what the Constitution says!" Oh sure the Republicans do pay a little lip service to that old document when election time rolls around. But that's just to keep their voters happy.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Cicero & the Final Decree of the Senate

A recent article entitled, "Ted Cruz: Confused About Cicero — What the Texas Republican misrepresents about treason and politics in the Roman Republic" by Jesse Weiner (Nov 21, 20) in The Atlantic magazine is of interest. Mr. Jesse Weiner is a visiting assistant professor of classics at Hamilton College, as such he should know better! It is amazing how literally Senator Ted Cruz is taken, as well as how much supposedly is implied in his In Catilinam ("Against Catiline") to denounce Obama’s planned executive orders on immigration reform.

Moreover, the visiting classics professor freely elaborates on what Senator Cruz actually said. Journalistic license? Even Sallust (86-c.35 B.C.), an adherent of Julius Caesar and the popularis party in his work "The Conspiracy of Catiline" (63 B.C.) gives credit where credit is due, and admits the justice of Cicero's actions. Mr. Weiner, more partisan than instructive, imputes the worse to both Cicero and Senator Cruz. Cicero as Roman Consul was defending the Republic against popular demagoguery in general and high treason and rebellion in particular. Cicero's actions in saving the Republic led the Senate to honor him with the title, "Father of his Country." Cicero and the Senate did not have time for a formal trial for Catiline, a debauch patrician aristocrat, who could not get elected Consul legally, and so rose in rebellion. The Roman Senate legally empowered Cicero to do whatever was necessary to save the Republic issuing the senatus consultum ultimum (ultimate decree of the Senate).

Today, there is a difference. There is no senatus consultum ultimum and no threat of execution or imprisonment of the Executive. Obama could only be impeached by the House and, if found guilty by the Senate, expelled. All depends on how he behaves now for that possibility. Is he going to continue to issue decrees over the head of Congress and the American people, on immigration, on ObamaCare, and other unwise and rejected policies?

The article implies execution, which is irresponsible mendacity. If impeached and found guilty, all Obama will receive is the infamy of being the only such president in American history! Senator Cruz is largely correct and historically more accurate than McCullough! It is not Senator Cruz who is confused; it is actually Mr. Weiner and the Atlantic magazine that are discombobulated about Catiline and the politics of the Roman and American Republic! — VigilantCitizen

Cicero on Natural Law

Cicero: Laws, (De Legibus) "What is Natural Law?"

"This, then, as it appears to me, has been the decision of the wisest philosophers---that law was neither a thing to be contrived by the genius of man, nor established by any decree of the people, but a certain eternal principle, which governs the entire universe, wisely commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong. Therefore, they called that aboriginal and supreme law the mind of God, enjoining or forbidding each separate thing in accordance with reason. On which account it is that this law, which the gods have bestowed upon the human race, is so justly applauded. For it is the reason and mind of a wise Being equally able to urge us to good or to deter us from evil.

"Therefore, as that Divine Mind, or reason, is the supreme law, so it exists in the mind of the sage, so far as it can be perfected in man. But with respect to civil laws, which are drawn up in various forms, and framed to meet the occasional requirements of the people, the name of law belongs to them not so much by right as by the favor of the people. For men prove by some such arguments as the following, that every law which deserves the name of a law, ought to be morally good and laudable. It is clear, say they, that laws were originally made for the security of the people, for the preservation of states, for the peace and happiness of society; and that they who first framed enactments of that kind, persuaded the people that they would write and publish such laws only as should conduce to the general morality and happiness, if they would receive and obey them. And then such regulations, being thus settled and sanctioned, they justly entitled Laws. From which we may reasonably conclude, that those who made unjustifiable and pernicious enactments for the people, acted in a manner contrary to their own promises and professions, and established anything rather than laws, properly so called, since it is evident that the very signification of the word "law" comprehends the whole essence and energy of justice and equity."

Fordham University, Marcus Tullius Cicero, from On the Laws

Passages summarized:

[W]hat is right and true is also eternal, and does not begin or end with written statutes....From this point of view it can be readily understood that those who formulated wicked and unjust statutes for nations, thereby breaking their promises and agreements, put into effect anything but "laws." It may thus be clear that in the very definition of the term "law" there inheres the idea and principle of choosing what is just and true....Therefore Law is the distinction between things just and unjust, made in agreement with that primal and most ancient of all things, Nature; and in conformity to nature's standard are framed those human laws which inflict punishment upon the wicked but defend and protect the good.*

*Rice, CE. Gift from God-basic rights transcend the state! The New American, May 3, 1993. Quoted in Medical Warrior, p. 98. Laws, book II, Chapter V

"Natural law is also considered to be discoverable by human reason and ethics and fundamental to human nature. It’s absolute and unchanging so that a great Roman statesman like Cicero (106-43 B.C.), who did not believe in a Judeo-Christian God, nevertheless understood the need for ethics and morality in a pagan world."—Editor (MAF, Medical Sentinel, 1997).

Ancient September!

September 4, 518 BC: Greek Poet Pindar born.

September 4, AD 476: Western Roman Emperor Romulus Augustus abdicates, handing his ornaments to the German Chieftain Odovacer, marking the fall of the West Roman Empire.

September 5, AD 394: East Roman army of Theodosius I the Great defeats West Roman army of Eugenius at the Battle of the Frigidus.

September 9, AD 9: General Varus loses three legions to the German warrior Arminius at the pivotal Battle of the Teutoburger Forest.

September 9, AD 214/215: Future Emperor Aurelian ("Restorer of the World") born.

September 13, AD 81: Emperor Titus dies.

September 14, AD 81: Domitian proclaimed Emperor by the Senate.

September 16, AD 307: Emperor Severus II executed by his rival Maxentius.

September 17, AD 14: The late Emperor Augustus proclaimed a god (deified) by the Senate.

September 18, AD 96: Domitian murdered in the palace; Senate immediately names Nerva Emperor in his place.

September 18, AD 324: Constantine and Crispus defeat Licinius at Crysopolis.

September 21, 19 BC: Roman Poet Laureate Virgil dies in Brundisium.

September 21, AD 454: Emperor Valentinian III murders the General Aetius, who had defeated Attila the Hun.

September 22, 36 BC: Lepidus induced by Octavian to retire from the Triumvirate.

September 23, 480 BC: Greek fleet destroys the Persian armada at the Battle of Salamis.

September 26, 1687: Gunpowder stored in the Parthenon ignites, leaving the temple in ruins.

September 27, 48 BC: Pompey the Great lands in Egypt after his defeat by Caesar, and is promptly murdered on orders of Ptolemy XIII.

September 29, 480 BC: Athenians defeat Persians at the Battle of Marathon.

Courtesy Heritage Auctions 2014

Attacking Dual Citizenship

The recent news item about Michelle Bachmann and her family who have been granted Dual Citizenship (her husband is Swiss), is an example of the liberal media implying lack of patriotism under the Obama regime. But the fact is that many Americans are renouncing their U.S. citizenship in record numbers. The number of expatriates has tripled from the usual 500 annually under Obama, and these are productive citizens being replaced by non-productive, illegal moochers–too many taxes and loss of personal freedom!

"Few countries tax their citizens on income they earn while living abroad, but the United States does. And, reportedly, the tax process for such Americans is quite strenuous. Two regulations in particular have expatriates disgruntled.

"The first regulation stems from a change to the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. Americans who fail to disclose overseas bank accounts of at least $10,000, including investments or an account held with a spouse, will be penalized for noncompliance.

“Disclosing joint accounts I hold with my wife and anyone I ever want to do business with — that’s just too much. My wife’s account is none of their business,” Peter Dunn said. Dunn was a dual U.S. and Canadian citizen, but he recently renounced his U.S. citizenship.

"The second regulation, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, asks foreign financial institutions to disclose information on U.S. clients.

“They’re going to drop Americans like hot potatoes,” said Francisca N. Mordi, vice president and senior tax counsel at the American Bankers Association. “The foreign banks are upset enough about the regulations that they’re saying they just won’t keep American customers, and it’s giving (Americans living abroad) a lot of sleepless nights.”