I majored in History in college. So far that choice has proven less than optimal for finding lucrative work, I admit, but I also find it gives me an interesting edge when it comes to ranting about politics. When I look at the current political climate, very little shocks me. You see, I know how the narrative of Barack Obama and his disciples ends. How, you ask? Simple: I’ve seen this one already.
There was an interesting commercial that ran a couple of years ago made by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), a non-profit political activist organization. The commercial depicted a college classroom in China set in the year 2030. The brief plot implies (quite correctly, I fear) that by the year 2030, China will be the powerhouse of the world, and the U.S. will have taken a hard fall from its seat of power.
In the commercial, the professor asks his class “why do great nations fall?” He follows by saying that it is because they abandon the principles that makes them great (more on that in a bit). He then lists the great empires of days gone by before continuing. Now, I’m not here just to talk about the commercial, but the question posed did inspire me to come up with a list of the great empires of the past, and some of the bigger reasons that they ultimately fell apart. See if any of them sound familiar.
Egypt – c. 3100-332 B.C.
You might have noticed that I used “B.C.” instead of “B.C.E.,” the modern standard. That’s because I don’t buy into politically correct drivel.
Given what I’ve read about Ancient Egypt, I have come to the conclusion that their ultimate defeat by the Persians and later the Greeks was due to two things: first, they lacked the ability (and the drive) to defend themselves from the Persians after millennia of not needing to do so. See, the miles of desert surround the Nile worked perfectly to deter invaders from trying to reach the Egyptians. Though the Pharaohs did have armies and there was some internal conflict, the Egyptians were largely uninterested in learning to fight.
In fact, they were largely uninterested in learning much of anything. While advances in technology and other walks of life did happen in the early eras of the empire, there was a period of about 1,000 years in which the Egyptians simply stagnated. The centralized hierarchy of the Pharaohs and their governors left little desire amongst the people to innovate. They were, after all, little more than de facto indentured servants, subject to the whims of the Pharaoh. All they knew was that they had the know-how to get food and to keep the sun from beating down on them (when they weren’t working), and that worked well enough for them.
The stagnant state of the Egyptians would ultimately be its downfall. Around 322 B.C. they were occupied by the Persians, a much larger and more advanced empire that braved the march across the arid deserts to find a society of people hopelessly behind in terms of social advancement and laughably helpless in terms of combat. The Persians would later be defeated by Macedonians under Alexander the Great for similar reasons.
Rome – 27 B.C. – 476 A.D. (Western Empire)
The Romans were conquerors; they were ruthless warriors and shrewd politicians, expanding all across Europe and well into the Middle East over the centuries of their rule. They were the successors to the Ancient Greeks, and from them they implemented elements of Democracy into their Senate, giving birth to the Republic.
In the centuries to come, the Senate would grow along with the economic and military power of Rome. As the empire grew into exorbitant wealth and expansive territorial rights, so too did the “need” for the Senate to be afforded more and more power.
Naturally, not everyone was okay with this ever-growing centralized government, but a few politicians (Julius Caesar being one of them) came to have an interesting revelation. They posited that if they simply kept the masses well fed and entertained (gladiatorial games), they would have free reign to do whatever they “needed” to in order to ensure that they would always have the strongest influence in Roman society.
Unfortunately for the great empire, this method of political distraction led to massive, unsustainable taxation, especially on people of wealth and influence (land owners/farmers). Economic inflation grew at an exponential rate, and the empire began to collapse under its own weight. This led to dissent, which led to disorganization and economic ruin, which led to the Western Empire’s inevitable destruction at the hands of a barbarian invasion in the latter half of the 5th century.
The European Union – 1952-
I catch a lot of hell from my Liberal peers for having the sheer gall to suggest that the EU is anything less than a shining beacon of hyper-intellectual enlightenment and candy canes. After all, the Left is in a mad dash to emulate everything they do, often stating that they’re twenty-five years ahead of us. That’s true in a way, actually; all you have to do to see where we’re headed as a nation is look at the hot mess they’re in overseas.
This article is getting pretty long, so I’m just going to riff a list of a few of the EU’s greatest hits in the past 25 years:
-Paralyzing debt across the board, to the point that the EU demanded (demanded, no less!) that the U.S. included it in the 2009 bailout. I have read that they were set to get between $48-200 Billion. Not sure what Congress based such a large margin on, but then I’m not sure what they base much of anything on anymore.
-Italy: Has twice called upon the European Central Bank (ECB) for a bailout of €1 Trillion (each time).
-Greece: Not entirely attuned to the current situation, but I remember that two years ago it was in a veritable state of anarchy with students setting cars on fire over tuition hikes.
-Ireland and Portugal have requested participation in the European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM), which is just a more convoluted bailout system that uses the EU’s budget as collateral.
-The U.K. has direct taxes on the use of public restrooms (pay toilets, literally) and Parliament has held hearings on raising the tax bracket of the highest earners to 70%. This is to pay for their “free” healthcare, which boasts long wait times (not in all cases, but many) and over-extension of limited resources.
The United States of America – 1776 –
Do you think we’re next? Let us know in the comments below.