We've known for 5,000 years that mass spying on one's own people is always aimed at grabbing power and crushing dissent, not protecting us from bad guys.
We've known for thousands of years that debasing currencies leads to economic collapse.
We've known for millennia that torture is a form of terrorism.
We've known for thousands of years that – when criminals are not punished – crime spreads.
We've known for centuries that monopolies and the political influence which accompanies too much power in too few hands are dangerous for free markets.
We've known for hundreds of years that companies will try to pawn their debts off on governments, and that it is a huge mistake for governments to allow corporate debt to be backstopped by government.
We've known for centuries that powerful people – unless held to account – will get together and steal from everyone else.
We've known for hundreds of years that standing armies and warmongering harm Western civilization.
We've known for 200 years that allowing private banks to control credit creation eventually destroys the nation's prosperity.
We've known for two centuries that a fiat money system – where the money supply is not pegged to anything real – is harmful in the long-run.
We've known for 200 years that a two-party system quickly becomes corrupted.
We've known for over a century that torture produces false and useless information.
We've known for 80 years that inflation is a hidden tax.
We've known since 1988 that quantitative easing doesn't work to rescue an ailing economy.
We've known since 1998 that crony capitalism destroys even the strongest economies, and that economies that are capitalist in name only need major reforms to create accountability and competitive markets.
We've known since 2007 or earlier that lax oversight of hedge funds could blow up the economy.
And we knew before the 2008 financial crash and subsequent bailouts that:
The easy credit policy of the Fed and other central banks, the failure to regulate the shadow banking system, and "the use of gimmicks and palliatives" by central banks hurt the economy
Anything other than (1) letting asset prices fall to their true market value, (2) increasing savings rates, and (3) forcing companies to write off bad debts "will only make things worse"
Bailouts of big banks harm the economy
The Fed and other central banks were simply transferring risk from private banks to governments, which could lead to a sovereign debt crisis
Postscript: Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it … and we've known that for a long time.