Skip to comments.Why Do Societies Give Up?
Posted on 02/14/2013 3:53:45 AM PST by Kaslin
Why do once-successful societies ossify and decline?
Hundreds of reasons have been adduced for the fall of Rome and the end of the Old Regime in 18th-century France. Reasons run from inflation and excessive spending to resource depletion and enemy invasion, as historians attempt to understand the sudden collapse of the Mycenaeans, the Aztecs and, apparently, the modern Greeks. In literature from Catullus to Edward Gibbon, wealth and leisure -- and who gets the most of both -- more often than poverty and exhaustion implode civilization.
One recurring theme seems consistent in Athenian literature on the eve of the city's takeover by Macedon: social squabbling over slicing up a shrinking pie. Athenian speeches from that era make frequent reference to lawsuits over property and inheritance, evading taxes, and fudging eligibility for the dole. After the end of the Roman Republic, reactionary Latin literature -- from the likes of Juvenal, Petronius, Suetonius, Tacitus -- pointed to "bread and circuses," as well as excessive wealth, corruption and top-heavy government.
For Gibbon and later French scholars, "Byzantine" became a pejorative description of a top-heavy Greek bureaucracy that could not tax enough vanishing producers to sustain a growing number of bureaucrats. In antiquity, inflating the currency by turning out cheap bronze coins was often the favored way to pay off public debts, while the law became fluid to address popular demands rather than to protect time-honored justice.
After the end of World War II, most of today's powerhouses were either in ruins or still preindustrial -- China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Russia and Taiwan. Only the United States and Great Britain had sophisticated economies that survived the destruction of the war. Both were poised to resupply a devastated world with new ships, cars, machinery and communications.
In comparison to Frankfurt, the factories of 1945 Liverpool had survived mostly intact. Yet Britain missed out on the postwar German economic miracles, in part because after the deprivations of the war, the war-weary British turned to class warfare and nationalized their main industries, which soon became uncompetitive.
The gradual decline of a society is often a self-induced process of trying to meet ever-expanding appetites, rather than a physical inability to produce past levels of food and fuel, or to maintain adequate defense. Americans have never had safer workplaces or more sophisticated medical care -- and never have so many been on disability.
King Xerxes' huge Persian force of 250,000 sailors and soldiers could not defeat a rather poor Greece in 480-479 B.C. Yet a century and a half later, a much smaller invading force from the north under Philip II of Macedon overwhelmed the far more prosperous Greek descendants of the victors of Salamis.
For hundreds of years, the outmanned legions of the tiny and poor Roman Republic survived foreign invasions. Yet centuries later, tribal Goths, Visigoths, Vandals and Huns overran the huge Mediterranean-wide Roman Empire.
Given our unsustainable national debt -- nearly $17 trillion and climbing -- America is said to be in decline, although we face no devastating plague, nuclear holocaust, or shortage of oil or food.
Americans have never led such affluent material lives -- at least as measured by access to cell phones, big-screen TVs, cheap jet travel and fast food. Obesity rather than malnutrition is the greater threat to national health. Flash mobs go after electronics stores, not food markets. Americans spend more money on Botox, face lifts and tummy tucks than on the age-old scourges of polio, small pox and malaria.
If Martians looked at the small box houses, one-car families and primitive consumer goods of the 1950s, they would have thought the postwar United States, despite a balanced budget in 1956, was impoverished. In comparison, an indebted contemporary America would seem to aliens flush with cash, as consumers jostle for each new update to their iPhones.
By any historical marker, the future of Americans has never been brighter. The United States has it all: undreamed new finds of natural gas and oil, the world's pre-eminent food production, continual technological wizardly, strong demographic growth, a superb military and constitutional stability.
Yet we don't talk confidently about capitalizing and expanding on our natural and inherited wealth. Instead, Americans bicker over entitlement spoils as the nation continues to pile up trillion-dollar-plus deficits. Enforced equality rather than liberty is the new national creed. The medicine of cutting back on government goodies seems far worse than the disease of borrowing trillions from the unborn to pay for them.
In August 1945, Hiroshima was in shambles, while Detroit was among the most innovative and wealthiest cities in the world. Contemporary Hiroshima now resembles a prosperous Detroit of 1945; parts of Detroit look like they were bombed decades ago.
History has shown that a government's redistribution of shrinking wealth, in preference to a private sector's creation of new sources of it, can prove more destructive than even the most deadly enemy.
Absolutely agree. The best, fairest, most effective way to redistribute wealth is via charity. The problem with ‘charity’ for ideologues like Obama is that charitable giving puts the giver in a ‘good’ light - not punishable for their success, and the recipients of charity are thankful, not entitled.
Why do societies decline and fall apart?
Read an American newspaper any day of the week and you’ll find out.
Meanwhile, the Russians and Chinese are laughing their *sses off.
They are overwhelmed by the demands of low-information voters.
Those who ignore the lessons of history, are condemned to repat them, and again. and again. ad infinitum. ad absurdum.
Those who ignore the lessons of history, are condemned to repeat them, and again. and again. ad infinitum. ad absurdum.
There are real examples of what this articles states.
(1)”bread and circuses”
(2) “top-heavy Greek bureaucracy that could not tax enough vanishing producers to sustain a growing number of bureaucrats.”
Sounds EXACTLY like what is going on here in the US
At that the moment, being part of the IC - I can tell you that the Obama Administration is doing EXACTLY what Clinton did in the nineties — taking apart the intelligence community to leave it somewhat in tact - but with out resources and personnel...nothing like being blind!
Redistributing wealth isn’t about charity. It is about control - buying votes and creating dependency. If you rob Peter to pay Paul, you will always have Paul’s vote.
Or the modern American version: robbing Peter to pay Pablo.
We have no common goals or values anymore. The media and politicians have managed to fragment and compartmentalize us so much, we can’t hardly even speak to each other, much less work together.
Ask ten Americans what is most important to them, and you will get twelve DIFFERENT answers!
We are defeated.
***America is said to be in decline, although we face no devastating plague, nuclear holocaust, or shortage of oil or food.***
Strength is the result of facing and overcoming adversity; both in individuals and communities. Humans, like the animal kingdom; thrive when threatened, by natural disaster or foreign assault by an enemy/competitor.
After a successful life, individuals succumb to age and infirmity; after a period of advance & prosperity, nations succumb to power, wealth and finally, apathy & sloth. The natural, historical order of things.
And God is in charge.
Also known as “Useful Idiots”
Western Rome fell because Revelation chapters 6 and 8 said it would. Islam Rose because Rev. chap. 9 said it would. Eastern Rome at constantinople fell because Rev. chap. 9 said it would. It's Ottoman Empire fell on the year 1335 of their calendar after 1290 years of reign exactly as Daniel 12:11,12 said it would. And Rev.16 said it would.
The reign of the popes over the kings of the earth started and ended exactly when scripture said it would in seven different places. It was allowed 1260 years just as prophesied. The French Revolution was the first phase of its end, which was 1260 years after the first phase of its beginning.
The printing press printing the Bible, and then the reformation followed immediately after the fall of Constantinople in Rev 9. Unsurprisingly the little book, and then the resurrection of the two wittnesses follow in Revelation immediately after chapter nine. Followed by some of the kingdoms of the earth embracing protestant Christianity Rev 11:15
The vials are poured out and you have the Napoleonic wars and the fall of the papal monarchies. WWI comes right on time in Rev 16 accomplishing three main prophetic events. 1. Further destruction of papal monarchies. 2. End the reign of Islamic Caliphates over kingdoms of the earth. 3. Free Jerusalem from seven times(2520 years) of punishment it had been under since Babylon's conquest, and deliver it into Christian hands.
The answer to your qustion is ridiculously simple.
They do not give up. God has ordained his purposes and timing for the kingdoms of this eaerth and HE is in control.
In a word, lawyers. We have so many regulations from the government and a second barrage of controls coming from insurance companies’ lawyers. It’s too much. Few people can start a successful business today without doing the immoral pay to play thing and it all comes from lawyers. They create a system that favors themselves even though it kills society.
Every day, you read or hear stories of people who cannot afford to give up their entitlements to go back to work. There was a caller to Rush the other day with that story.
When you are receiving the equivalent of $50-$60K in benefits tax free, you base your lifestyle on that. To take a $30K means you have to cut all your expenses in half.
Part of it is that people have little pride, but the other part is that people are doing what’s best for their families. If the government puts programs in place that reward people for sloth, then nothing but pride impels those people to work.
It will slowly unwind, with cities and states being the first to face reality. They can’t print money.
This country is in decline not because of overall material wealth or the lack of it, but rather from a degradation of moral and spiritual values. Add to that the disinclination to defend borders, unite under a common language and culture, along with the explosion of endless entitlements and welfare. Just like the Greeks, Romans and soon Europeans before us< all the wealth in the world won't save any society from decline. America is dying because her voters, as a whole, chose to put her to death. Elections have consequences, and we haven't yet scratched the gloss of the tip of the iceberg of consequences from the electoral disasters of 2008 and 2012.