Our next stop in the failing of empires is immorality.
Our next stop in the failing of empires is immorality. In ancient empires immorality was usually the last sign that a civilization was in decline and falling fast. Books have been written about this fact and the first-wave American feminist intellectual, Camille Paglia, studied androgyny in ancient cultures and found that near the end of every empire that the art, and, one would also assume, the people became more androgynous. Men became more feminine, women masculine. Does this sound familiar?
The pictured male is Chester Bennington of the band Linkin Park who I’ve written about before. He was found dead of suicide a little more than a year ago after struggling with substance abuse caused in part by his upbringing and the fact that he was raped as a child. Pedophilia was part of most ancient civilizations and American life has this fact as well. Those who’ve been taken advantage of sexually live with lifetimes of pain, anger, and hurt usually culminating in substance abuse as a means of medicating the pain and other destructive behaviors. Roman culture devolved into orgies, pedophilia, and sexual aggression whereby you could consummate any sex act as long as you were the aggressor. The rise of internet pornography in modern times has lead to immorality within the American landscape as well and too has devolved into more extreme sex acts over time to view for free online.
Another similar aspect between Roman days and American deals with blood sports. In the Roman Empire gladiators fought to the death along with other methods of dying for consumption by the masses. America is not quite at that level yet, but the road trod is closing in on it. Modern American society includes sports in its various and arguably violent forms and whereas the true blood sports of its age–boxing and professional wrestling–have now morphed into the Mixed Martial Arts fights that are usually very bloody and violent exchanges between combatants. Though MMA fights have rules and there hasn’t been a death caused by a match yet, eventually after the current incarnation of MMA fighting have become passe, much like its boxing and pro wrestling forebears, it’s not much of a reach to have fights to the death. RIP.
Part 5 to be delivered on Monday. A conclusion on Thursday of next week.
One observation about historical empires deals with their economies.
One observation about historical empires deals with their economies. Part of what we know today is that the Roman Empire began devaluing its money over time. This is due to ever expansion of the Empire and its governmental base. To pay for the foreign wars and expansion of the the Imperial state the government believed that the money from its conquests would bring in more money. But as is the case government always overestimates how much it will cost any endeavor and how much will be made in return on investment. Over the span of 200 or so years the Roman Denarii went from pure silver to less than 1%. The idea came about during Nero’s reign. The thinking was that by slowly decreasing the amount of metals (gold and silver) in its coins that it could mint more coins to pay off its debts and to maintain the security and expansion efforts of the empire. (The Roman’s didn’t have the leisure and ease of using a fiat currency like we use today–they only used coins for currency exchanges.)
But like the Roman Empire the value of the world’s reserve currency, the United States Dollar, has slowly been eroded over time. If the United States needs money for whatever purpose they simply go to the Federal Reserve Bank and ask for them to print more money. Over time the US dollar will be worthless like the Roman currency of its day.
So why do foreign countries accept the USD for exchanges of goods and services? I think it is simply because we have given them dollars for their goods over time and they have such a reserve of them that if the American currency collapses they will be stuck with dollars that are completely worthless while they will have given away products in exchange for essentially nothing. So it is in their best interest to keep propping up the United States by giving us goods and services for dollars hoping that in the long run the economy gets better and the currency doesn’t lose value. Robbing Peter to pay Paul comes to mind.
Another element of empires’ economies includes massive income inequalities and they all tend to have top-heavy economies that become fragile over time. This occurs because the haves (the upper 1% having 90% of the wealth) have way more than they need or deserve and the have nots are left to fight over scraps. If enough people decide they will no longer be debt slaves and consume less of their master’s products the game will end…and so goes the American experience as well.
Finally, taxation in empires usually run amok. Government works including especially those involving the military have to heavily tax the lower and middle classes in order to pay for their boondoggles. The upper crust makes the tax code and they make it so they don’t have to pay their share of using the government for their corporate welfare projects. The lower classes also need government handouts in the form of welfare in order to pay for their meager living. We know that during the Roman days that in order to gain and keep political power in the empire that politicians gave the lower classes bread and circuses. Bread in the US empire is welfare. Circuses in America are the sports and entertainment industries.
PART 3 OF MY AMERICAN EMPIRE SERIES WILL BE ADDED ON MONDAY. STAY TUNED SPORTS FANS, IT’S GONNA TO BE A STUNNER.
Most of the painful experiences we have in life are unnecessary and unfair.
Most of the painful experiences we have in life are unnecessary and unfair. We carry around this baggage most of our lives thinking we are the reason why others are unhappy and we are the cause of the dysfunction within a group when in reality this is not true.
We come from families that burden us with these issues and we keep coming back to them hoping for a different outcome, some sort of justice for our wronging, and/or to make our family be healthy through our penance.
This is also why when we move out on our own that we then seek out or hang with people who treat us as criminals like our family members did when we were young.