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HANSON: US Coasting On The Fumes Of Past Greatness, Following The Roman Road to Ruins
Washington Times ^ | 6/30/13 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 06/30/2013 3:29:01 PM PDT by drewh

By A.D. 200, the Roman republic was a distant memory. Few citizens of the global Roman Empire even knew of their illustrious ancestors such as Scipio or Cicero. Millions no longer spoke Latin. Italian emperors were rare. There were no national elections.

Yet Rome endured as a global power for three more centuries. What held it together?

A stubborn common popular culture and the prosperity of Mediterranean-wide standardization kept things going. The Egyptian, the Numidian, the Iberian and the Greek assumed that everything from Roman clay lamps and glass to good roads and plentiful grain were available to millions throughout the Mediterranean.

As long as the sea was free of pirates, thieves cleared from the roads, and merchants allowed to profit, few cared whether the lawless Caracalla or the unhinged Elagabalus was emperor in distant Rome.

Something likewise both depressing and encouraging is happening to the United States. Few Americans seem to worry that our leaders have lied to or misled Congress and the American people without consequences.

Most young people cannot distinguish the First Amendment from the Fourth Amendment — and do not worry that they cannot. Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln are mere names of grammar schools but otherwise unidentifiable to most.

Separatism is thought to bring dividends. In California, universities conduct separate graduation ceremonies predicated on race — sometimes difficult given the increasingly mixed ancestry of Americans.

As in Rome, there is a vast disconnect between elites and the common people. Almost half of Americans receive some sort of public assistance, and half pay no federal income tax. About one-seventh of Americans are on food stamps.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 06/30/2013 3:29:01 PM PDT by drewh
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To: drewh

I’ve had that same basic thought myself. The US is living on past accomplishments: past strong credit worthiness, past strong currency, and accumulated wealth from past success under much more sound fiscal policy and trade policy.

And Europe is doing the same with a head start on the US.


2 posted on 06/30/2013 3:33:42 PM PDT by Will88
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To: drewh

History does repeat itself.


3 posted on 06/30/2013 3:35:43 PM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: drewh
It's hard to comprehend that just a few decades (~50 years) ago we were on top of the world. Our rapid decline is what happens when a culture, any culture, starts worshipping the prince of darkness.

This is what Americans refuse to admit.

4 posted on 06/30/2013 3:36:13 PM PDT by LouAvul (In a state of disbelief as to how liberals destroyed America in a mere 40 years.)
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To: drewh

That “greatness” came from a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and faith in God.


5 posted on 06/30/2013 3:38:31 PM PDT by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: drewh

An apt comparison. The decline of Rome can be attributed largely to the “Barbarian” invasions. How history repeats itself, eh?


6 posted on 06/30/2013 3:38:41 PM PDT by cardinal4 (Skip impeachment and move straight to deportation..)
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To: drewh

Few Americans seem to worry that our leaders have lied to or misled Congress and the American people without consequences.

Seriously ? That must explain why Obama is going down in popularity and Congress is like at 15% approval. Most Americans are terrified or angry in equal measure but what to do is the rub, and where articles laying out the problems Ad nauseam are less then productive.


7 posted on 06/30/2013 3:44:12 PM PDT by erlayman
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To: cardinal4

Actually, the decline of Rome is directly attributable to the devaluation of its currency.

It was always a corrupted place, and “barbarians” moved freely through it from the beginning.

The idea of the “fall” of Rome is quaint and inaccurate. It changed, from an aggressive Republic ruled by the rich to a crippled, oversized polyglottal plutocracy ruled...by the rich.


8 posted on 06/30/2013 3:45:41 PM PDT by warchild9
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To: cardinal4
The decline of Rome can be attributed largely to the “Barbarian” invasions. How history repeats itself, eh?

The barbarians are not only at the gates, they are manning the gates. I am sure this is done on purpose, by left leaning communists and 5th columnists, who hate their own country, and will do anything to hasten its demise. The rat bastar--

9 posted on 06/30/2013 3:47:16 PM PDT by Mark17 (My heart is in the Philippines, and soon I will be too.)
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To: LouAvul

“This is what Americans refuse to admit. “

They don’t refuse to admit it. No one is telling them or they are being lied to.

The reason our government will eventually fall is not because of the politicians, but because of the media that chose to protect them. The minute our only oversight was removed from the equation our nation took a steep nose dive.


10 posted on 06/30/2013 3:48:14 PM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (The reason we own guns is to protect ourselves from those wanting to take our guns from us.)
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To: cardinal4
An apt comparison. The decline of Rome can be attributed largely to the “Barbarian” invasions. How history repeats itself, eh?

The barbarians only filled in the vacuum. Rome was an empty shell long before that.

11 posted on 06/30/2013 3:48:53 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: drewh

The Roman Empire was struck by devastating plagues starting at the tail end of the 2nd century that devastated their legions. (Look up Antonine and cyprian plague).

It was much more difficult to stop Germanic incursions when you had much fewer troops.

Hanson should know this...


12 posted on 06/30/2013 3:52:14 PM PDT by Snickering Hound
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To: drewh
global Roman Empire

I believe there was very little to "admire" about the Romans. The system was predicated on using military superiority and ambitious elites to loot and enslave during the Republican period.

And then maintain the Empire by overburdening all provinces with taxes to support the Emperor's latest building projects and standing army.

13 posted on 06/30/2013 4:04:56 PM PDT by John123 (US$ - I owe you nothing. Euro - Who owes you nothing.)
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To: cardinal4

America is being invaded from across the southern border — and is raising millions of home grown barbarians in its decaying urban cores.


14 posted on 06/30/2013 4:15:11 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: drewh

Yet Italy exists...

I hear more and more people noticing the parallels between the death of societies/civilizations and their embrace of homosexuality. Cause and effect or just an evolutionary stage leading to its inevitable death?


15 posted on 06/30/2013 4:31:12 PM PDT by mikey_hates_everything
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To: drewh

Part of the problem is that even if we happen to get a good leader who wants to restore us to our former glory, we have mortgaged our future to the point that we may not be able to take advantage of opportunities.


16 posted on 06/30/2013 4:33:14 PM PDT by 21st Century Crusader (August 26, 1191)
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To: drewh
The American Republic will endure until the day
Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with
the public's money.
Alexis de Tocqueville

17 posted on 06/30/2013 4:41:38 PM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your teaching is my delight.)
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To: drewh

Decline and fall bump.


18 posted on 06/30/2013 4:59:34 PM PDT by Sans-Culotte ( Pray for Obama- Psalm 109:8)
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To: warchild9

I agree with the currency issue as a contributor, but still hold the barbarian invasion(s) were the largest nail. In Amorica, Gaul, and along the Danube, the Legions actually paid off the hordes and in a lot of cases, incorporated them in the army. In many cases they were brought in as officers. Thus, the dilution of the services led, in my opinion, to the Legion’s inability to defend the empire.
In he late 200’s, Diocletian(off all people) instituted a number of reforms that may have prolonged the Empire, but with continued invasions from Goths, Vandals, and the like, even his economic reforms couldn’t stop the decline.
No nation can survive under constant barbarian invasion, just look at the UK and Sweden..


19 posted on 06/30/2013 5:04:11 PM PDT by cardinal4 (Skip impeachment and move straight to deportation..)
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To: cardinal4

The 2nd century empire was strong enough to defeat invasions.

Its not that the 5th century was much worse for invasions, it was that the Roman empire was much weaker and unable to resist the invasions.

Rome had many dozens of civil wars to help weaken and destroy them selves.

The Easter Empire lasted almost a 1000 years longer.

Who knows maybe that will be our fate.


20 posted on 06/30/2013 5:15:18 PM PDT by desertfreedom765
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To: desertfreedom765

Between the Mexican invasion and the Muslim usurpation, I give us until 2020 as a sovereign nation..


21 posted on 06/30/2013 5:26:44 PM PDT by cardinal4 (Skip impeachment and move straight to deportation..)
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To: cardinal4

Successful barbarian invasions are a symptom, not a cause.

If Rome was strong, the Empire would still be in existence in its initial form.

Even Caracalla’s Edict was a symptom of monetary collapse.

Look beyond the superficial.

The first rule everyone should learn immediately after high school: money rules; everything else is blah blah blah.

A nasty career in Big Pharma taught me that rule, and eight years of university studies only reinforced it.


22 posted on 06/30/2013 5:28:13 PM PDT by warchild9
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To: drewh
Like Rome, America apparently can coast for a long time on the fumes of its wonderful political heritage and economic dynamism — even if both are little understood or appreciated by most who still benefit from them.

Yes, it's coasting on fumes for now. But the world changes faster now than it did back during the time of the Roman Empire. The sharp fall is right around the corner.

23 posted on 06/30/2013 5:31:11 PM PDT by FreeReign
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To: drewh

Absolutely correct.

And America’s now too far gone to come back, IMO.

The citizens wanted the Marxist Obama but they got Lenin redux and now we’re ALL headed for USSR circa 1930’s.


24 posted on 06/30/2013 6:05:42 PM PDT by Jack Hammer (American)
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To: drewh

FOLLOWING?? More like being lead.


25 posted on 06/30/2013 6:37:36 PM PDT by drypowder
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To: 21st Century Crusader
Part of the problem is that even if we happen to get a good leader who wants to restore us to our former glory, we have mortgaged our future to the point that we may not be able to take advantage of opportunities.

The US is already balkanized. Some areas can recover as new nations. We should be supporting those areas. The US is already hopelessly divided.

26 posted on 06/30/2013 6:55:09 PM PDT by justa-hairyape
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To: cardinal4

>>>An apt comparison. The decline of Rome can be attributed largely to the “Barbarian” invasions. How history repeats itself, eh?<<<

The movement of Germanic peoples into (western) Roman territory took place the same way that third world peoples are moving into the United States. Families would just cross the Rhine and move into the empire and settle down. The strong borders seen in the construction of monuments like Hadrian’s Wall in Britain lapsed into disuse and a lack of concern by the Romans themselves. Eventually, there were large populations of migrants throughout the Empire, which Rome itself was too feeble to deal with. The wholesale movement of armies leading to the sack of Rome in 476 was the last stage of this long process.

Which appears to be what is happening right now. When people tell me that there are 11 million illegal migrants in the United States, I always think that 11 million people wandering into any other country on this planet would be called “an invasion.”

God help us.


27 posted on 06/30/2013 9:28:37 PM PDT by redpoll
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