Thursday, July 16, 2009

A history lesson on Rome

Roman clad in a togaImage via Wikipedia

Everyone will remember the power and reach of the Roman Empire. Most of us have seen the movie "The Gladiator" reminding us of the grandeur of both the empire and the ruling Caesars. Our founding fathers patterned a lot of our governmental system after the examples of regency and protocol found in Rome. Have you ever considered why Rome, being so powerful and having such a tremendous regional span, could collapse? The similarities between the nations of Rome and the US are astounding in both the abundance and congruity. If Rome could fall from the world stage, what does that say about the US? I think it instructive to look at the factors that chipped away at the foundation and allowed the house to collapse:

In his book "History's Last Stand", Gerard Del Re writes that "The events that led up to the fall of Imperial Rome can be traced to several factors.
1. Agriculture declined as farmers found it unprofitable to plant, flocking instead to the cities, where they became wards of the state.
2. Heavy taxes to support wars left citizens with less to spend, causing businesses to fold; hence, prosperity declined.
3. Jobless men could no longer afford matrimony, and this factor, coupled with a high abortion rate, resulted in a falling birth rate.
4. Political disinterest on the part of the citizenry led to poor leadership.
5. The moral fabric of the society began to tear apart as degenerating spectacles in the arena occupied the minds of the unemployed masses.
Finally, Rome became dependent on foreigners, often subjugated peoples, to defend its borders and to fight its wars as fewer Romans were available for conscription. Foreigners obviously had no true ties to the motherland."

While this list does not represent the entire list of issues that brought about the collapse, all could agree on the detrimental impact of each of these contributing factors. We could also agree that the list could also be applied to modern day US. Does this fact predict failure for the greatest nation on the earth? If we don't start now to correct the fundamental errors in government, then I am afraid the answer is yes.

What are the fundamental errors we see today? Government intrusion - in our money, our education system, our religious life, and today attempting a takeover of the health care industry. Will we wake up in time to act?

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1 comment:

Shane Coley said...

Great topic Rick!

The lower level causes below the excellent ones mentioned here are currency debasement and price controls.

Price controls and currency debasement are the tools used to aggregate the power to decimate agriculture and accomplish all of the tasks necessary to bring about the list you have mentioned here.

The effects are incredibly important to observe. The greater issue is how the power was aggregated to bring these effects about.