I have long been fascinated with history – and great empires like Rome, Greece, Egypt and Europe.
Why did these mighty empires fall and what lessons are there for us? And do those of us who live in empire today feel so invincible and arrogant with our technology, that we feel we can’t fail and won’t fall?
Do you think that during the reign of Augustus Caesar, when Roman art, weaponry and literature reigned supreme, that any Roman though Rome would one day be relegated to the sidelines of political, cultural and economic insignificance?
Do you think the Romans ever thought that Germany, peopled with what they considered to be barbaric tribes, would become more influential on the world stage?
Do you think that King James (first of England) ever thought that descendants of settlers from “Jamestown” would pass a resolution (against Britain’s Stamp Act) that would read like this?
Resolved, That His Majesty’s liege people, the inhabitants of this Colony, are not bound to yield obedience to any law or ordinance whatever, designed to impose any taxation whatsoever upon them, other than the laws or ordinances of the General Assembly aforesaid.
Or that America would ever become more important than Britannia?
Here in America, commonsense and our perception of reality seems to have flown out of the window. Truth and facts don’t matter. If we’re told it’s true, then it must be true!
How far can you go as a society when people hold this view…and leaders who know better encourage followers to buy this view?
How far can a country go when citizens refuse to believe in some basic principles of science? How can you compete in science and technology when the person who needs to come up with that new drug was taught that humans walked the world with Dinosaurs?
How far can a country go when people cannot sit down together and reason things out?
When you start shouting at each other and rigidly holding on to your opinion, even if you are right – or wrong? How far does that get you in your daily life: At work, in your relationships and interactions with your kids?
America, please! I see a new North/South divide…a replay of two groups of polarized thought – under a different guise.
Rome ruled for one or two millennia, depending whether you subscribe to the view that: (a) Rome fell in 1453 when the Ottoman Turks took Byzantium or Constantinople…or (b) in A.D. 476 – when Odoacer, (a German officer in the Roman army) deposed the last western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus.
Will America last two Millennia…or even one thousand years?
Rome was wracked by internal strife that started with Emperor Diocletian. His answer was to decide the Roman Empire into two to make it easier to rule – the Western Empire, with Spain, France, England, Italy…and the Eastern Empire which encompassed all territory east of those countries.
Some historians say religion led to Rome’s decline. Church leaders became influential and took away power from the emperor. Christian beliefs conflicted with the working of empire.
Other reasons for Rome’s decline range from internal decay, (including poorly trained troops in an army stretched too thin) to inflation and trade deficits.
We don’t have as much power and control as we think we have.