Saturday, September 24, 2011

Any similarities between the United States and the Roman Empire?


Given the fact that no society has ever lasted forever, are there any clues or warning signs that we in the United States can take from the fall of the Roman Empire?

Any clues that might be red flags telling us that we had better keep our eye on the prize or we will head in the downward direction that brought the civilization of ancient Rome to the point of extinction?

Any items our leaders in Washington can monitor while they are consumed with playing political and monetary games that may serve to feather their own nests while doing absolutely nothing for the people they were put there to serve (see number 4 below)!

Some reasons historians speculate Rome fell
  1. Decadence and a decline in the moral fabric of society,
  2. Monetary problems and economic desperation,
  3. Military issues such as defending on too many fronts,
  4. Incompetence of leadership,
  5. Some have even speculated the rise of Islam.
Do any of these sound familiar today?

Because no one is going to shoot a starters gun and say this is the beginning of the end of society as we know it, are there any clues to watch out for? And if there are clues, what can you do about it?

The subtle and not so subtle clues that our society may be entering a very dangerous phase!
  1. High unemployment (a real unemployment rate of 20%),
  2. Poverty (record numbers on food stamps and living below the poverty line),
  3. Inflation (not terrible now but with QE1, QE2... is it right around the corner?),
  4. Business and infrastructure (problems with roads and bridges not being fixed due to a lack of funds along with an increasing number of empty stores and abandoned houses),
  5. Increase in violent crime (home invasions and crimes of desperation).
If you have any thoughts or opinions on the potential for the United States to go the way of the Roman Empire, please leave them below.


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3 comments :

  1. The American Empire is indeed following in footsteps of the Roman Empire. But why do you assume the end of civilization a bad thing?

    Thesis #25: Civilization reduces quality of life.
    Thesis #27: Collapse increases quality of life.
    http://rewild.info/anthropik/thirty/

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  2. This is a question that has interested me for years. Please forgive if I go on a bit.

    The comparison at this point is not between our United States and the Roman Empire, but rather between us and the Roman Republic. The Roman Empire was a thing of power and power only. While there was art and beauty within it, this was almost in spite of itself. The Empire as an institution of power lasted nearly 500 years. Five hundred graceless and thuggish years. It enforced the famous Pax Romana, that was fairly described as "they create a desolation and call it peace."

    Peace is good. But peace is not the only thing. Certainly not when that peace is bought at the cost of a permanent and brutal class structure, a permanent war at all borders and a kleptocratic over-class of the debauched and depraved.

    The Republic on the other hand, despite it's instability and factions was indeed a loss to history. And it is not our "empire" whatever that may be, that is endangered. Rather it is our republic. Like Rome, it is our republic that history will remember fondly. A republic, ours or Rome's is fragile and sustained by mutual trust and adherence to the spirit, not only the letter of our laws and governing traditions.

    It is the preservation of that republic that must be our work. An empire will survive long after the last drop of goodwill and love have been stamped out of it. We do not, should not, aspire to such an existence.

    Not to make too big a point of it, but I think that the death of the Roman Republic is the far better lesson for us.

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