Political Philosophy

End of American Civilization



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Are we at the end of American Civilization?  History may point to it.  Many historians are leaning towards the view that we, as a nation, are causing our own collapse.   It is a fact that many of the world's great civilizations depicted in history have lasted hundred years, only to collapse.  Is it true that "nothing lasts forever?"

During the past several decades, the social, economic and political climate in the U.S. has been changing dramatically.  As a nation, we have transformed our evolution towards a different system of government and in reviewing and studying the history of the great civilizations, we may find some similarities in comparison and may be able to alter our nation's development and direction to avoid a collapse.

The U.S. representative democratic republic is in its 232nd year; however, it has deviated significantly from its origins. The great Mayan culture lasted 600 years and its influence is still noticed.  It thrived in the area of rain forests known today as Guatemala.  Suddenly, the great civilization disappeared.  http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/15nov_maya.htm   "Archeologists used to argue about whether the downfall of the Maya was due to drought or warfare or disease, or a number of other possibilities such as political instability," Sever says. "Now we think that all these things played a role, but that they were only symptoms. The root cause was a chronic food and water shortage, due to some combination of natural drought and deforestation by humans."


The collapse of the great Roman Empire occurred after approximately 200 years of astute leadership and a high level of social, economic and political life.  http://www.interventionmag.com/cms/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1023  So why did the Roman and other civilizations fail?

According to Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond's latest book "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" considers a trend that examines how ecological factors have impacted societies past and present. While many of us may object to the notion that microbes and climate change can tip the balance between a society's survival or extinction, Diamond points out that if we ignore such matters it is at the risk of our own peril. His "...research takes the reader to many locations remote in time in space - Easter Island, Mesoamerica, Iceland, and Greenland, for instance - but the environmental problems that plagued and ultimately doomed the Polynesians, the Mayans, and the Vikings are not unlike the challenges we now face."

So, why did Rome fail?  One of the older reasons mentioned by historians leads us to a consideration of migration.  Many people left Rome destined for other regions.  Additional sources tell us that near the end of the Roman civilization there no longer were any good leaders.  Even the great generals, e.g., Stilicho, were killed by the emperor who feared they would take over the throne.   http://www.roman-empire.net/diverse/faq.html  

Another important factor for Rome's collapse was a lack of unity.  "The early Romans who built the empire stood united. By the end of course Rome had two capitals, Rome and Constantinople, each with its own emperor. But to the earlier Romans, Rome had been something special, something they served. But the later Romans only sought power for themselves. Almost every military commander secretly had his eye on the throne and was ready to overthrow the emperor and take power himself. The armies spent a lot of time fighting each other for power in Rome, rather than fighting the enemy."

During the past 50 years we are seeing this happen in the U.S.  There is little unity either in government or among the majority of Americans.  We are growing further apart every year.  As occurred in later Rome, our leaders today are looking for power, wealth and self-gratification.  The 2 armies of Rome and Constantinople spent many years fighting each other, much as we view currently within our legislature.

Another cause of the potential demise of the U.S. as we know it very well may be the current issue of immigration.  Our nation permits entry to a large number of immigrants, legal and illegal.  Already the problems of immigration have altered our society.  While some growth from this is positive, there are many negative reactions socially, economically and politically to the ever-increasing immigrant population.

"The Roman empire's borders to the north had been the river Rhine and the river Danube. They are wide streams and therefore hard to cross. This means, the border was easy to defend. But when the Huns from the east attacked the Visigoths on the other side of the Danube, emperor Valens let them settle on the Roman side of the river. True, the Visigoths then were friends of the Romans. But that soon changed. It didn't take long and bad living conditions, poverty and starvation led the Visigoths to revolt. In the following war, the Romans no longer had a protective river from behind which to defend themselves. The enemy was settled within their own empire. - And it should be the Visigoths who eventually sacked the city of Rome itself."


Consequently, the main reasons given for the fall of the Roman Empire are:

- Bad emperors

- Assimilating civilizations and peoples within the empire (leading to weaker government and soldiers)

- Deterioration of moral thought and actions

- Greed for power and control

- Roman disunity, endless infighting economic decline plagues mass migration the settlement of the Visigoths in Moesia.


Will the "open arms" of our own U.S. immigration policy cultivate a growing population that eventually will consume and over-run our way of life, adding to our own collapse?  These are all interesting questions and concerns.  Our nation is changing rapidly.  During the past decade our nation's constitution has been changed constantly by our lawmakers under the guise of advancing our social, economic and political climate.  The historical review and data may determine that much of the ongoing questionable varied changes in the U.S. are adding to the demise, failure and eventual collapse of our American civilization. 

 

More about this author: Peter Stern