The U.S. and Ancient Rome

Discussion in 'Education' started by Adam's Apple, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Interesting comparisons.

    Are We Rome?
    By Rod Dreher, Dallas Morning News
    August 1, 2007

    Are we Rome?

    That is, are we Americans, citizens of the mightiest empire the world has known since the days of the Caesars, living in the last days of our civilization? Is the United States, like the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century, doomed to collapse from its own decadence? Or can we avoid Rome's fate?

    As historian Arnold J. Toynbee famously observed, "Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder." While any number of Rome's particular poisons could have been most responsible for its demise, the generally accepted view is that wealth and power corrupted its character, eroding the virtues that made Rome great and leading to its ultimate dissolution.

    In his fascinating new book "Are We Rome?" journalist Cullen Murphy argues that yes, contemporary America is unnervingly like the Late Roman Empire. But it also has saving graces and resources that the doomed Romans lacked.

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0807/dreher.php3
     
  2. ReillyT
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    ReillyT Senior Member

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    Tell that to the Carthaginians.

    Seriously though, I think it is a stretch to draw comparisons between a quasi-feudal society that existed over 1500 years ago and the United States. Civilizations decline when they are unable to respond effectively to changes in their environment. Sometimes this is the result of internal pressures, and sometimes not. The relative stature of imperial England didn't collapse due to a lack of work ethic, or hubris, or arrogance. It declined as other nations with greater natural and human advantages came to the fore. Also, it seems to make less sense to talk of nation-states today in the same manner that we refer to nation-states of previous centuries. Free trade has left private corporations with greater economic might than many countries. China isn't a blossoming superpower because of its army and navy; it is because of its 1.3 billion potential consumers and producers. Times have changed and it seems anachronistic to compare countries today to regimes of prior epoques.
     
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  3. Ruby
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    Ruby Member

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    I havent read the book but I saw his interview on BBC. He made some interesting points but I also found many flaws and even disagreements.

    I think many of the "similiarities" are just things we find as a norm in many nations (powerful ones politically) and as timeless aspects of our human nature.

    It also seemed like he left out many dis-similiarities as well and that felt "cherry-picked" and not a truthful full analysis. I would have liked to see him include the full picture and include aspects you brought up that have great impact as well.

    It all seemed too cursory but then again I havent read the full book so even my assessment is pretty cursory :).
     
  4. Truthmatters
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    Truthmatters BANNED

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    If we can wrestle the power from the monied interests i this country we may just get our country back.

    They are stealing the power of the little guy with lobbiest and no bid corporate contrcts.

    All you have to do is look at Haliburton and Abramhoff to know who is benifiting instead of the American people.

    Mix that with a voting process which has been PROVEN unreliable and it gets really hard.

    Anyone who has to vote on one of these machines risks having their vote stolen.
     
  5. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    Certainly by the end, the western half of the Roman Empire was politically corrupt. Regardless, one of the big reasons that Rome fell was that by the time outside miltary aggression against a Roman province was realized in the capitol or a significant millitary command center, it was already over. Rome had more wealth and military power than any enemy, but the Empire was too large to simultaneously defend the entire border. If Rome had today's speed of communications, then some form of the Empire might still exist. Against outside adversaries the Empire did, after all, have the classic military advantage of interior lines of communication, if only they had been fast enough...
     
  6. RetiredGySgt
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    RetiredGySgt Platinum Member

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    I agree, when are we going to investigate the Democrats for stealing the 2006 election?
     
  7. maineman
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    maineman BANNED

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    do you have any evidence that such a thing occured? or is this just another of your weak ass sarcastic remarks - full of heat but shedding little light?
     
  8. Truthmatters
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    Great idea lets investigate it and find any vote fraud we can.
     
  9. eots
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    eots no fly list

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    Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned

    FT.com |August 14, 2007
    Jeremy Grant

    The US government is on a ‘burning platform' of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country's top government inspector has warned.

    David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country's future in a report that lays out what he called “chilling long-term simulations”.

    These include “dramatic” tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt.


    Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities” between America's current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”.

    “Sound familiar?” Mr Walker said. “In my view, it's time to learn from history and take steps to ensure the American Republic is the first to stand the test of time.”

    Mr Walker's views carry weight because he is a non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress.

    While most of its studies are commissioned by legislators, about 10 per cent – such as the one containing his latest warnings – are initiated by the comptroller general himself.

    In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Walker said he had mentioned some of the issues before but now wanted to “turn up the volume”. Some of them were too sensitive for others in government to “have their name associated with”.

    “I'm trying to sound an alarm and issue a wake-up call,” he said. “As comptroller general I've got an ability to look longer-range and take on issues that others may be hesitant, and in many cases may not be in a position, to take on.

    “One of the concerns is obviously we are a great country but we face major sustainability challenges that we are not taking seriously enough,” said Mr Walker, who was appointed during the Clinton administration to the post, which carries a 15-year term.

    The fiscal imbalance meant the US was “on a path toward an explosion of debt”.

    “With the looming retirement of baby boomers, spiralling healthcare costs, plummeting savings rates and increasing reliance on foreign lenders, we face unprecedented fiscal risks,” said Mr Walker, a former senior executive at PwC auditing firm.

    Current US policy on education, energy, the environment, immigration and Iraq also was on an “unsustainable path”.

    “Our very prosperity is placing greater demands on our physical infrastructure. Billions of dollars will be needed to modernise everything from highways and airports to water and sewage systems. The recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis was a sobering wake-up call.”

    Mr Walker said he would offer to brief the would-be presidential candidates next spring.

    “They need to make fiscal responsibility and inter-generational equity one of their top priorities. If they do, I think we have a chance to turn this around but if they don't, I think the risk of a serious crisis rises considerably”.
     
  10. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Being fiscally responsible --what an odd concept for a capitalist country. How about we abolish taxes and let people waste their own money instead of having to vote in representatives to do it for us ? Of course that would mean that people would only have themselves to blame for the ills of society. People don't like blaming themselves.
     

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