Monday, August 13, 2007

America and Rome

I don't usually post outside my usual once-a-week schedule, and it's even less common for me to post something that amounts to a link to something in the media, but for this, I'll make an exception. The Comptroller General of the US, David Walker, has just made a public statement comparing current US policies to those that caused the fall of the Roman Empire. What's more, he's right. Have a look at the article here.

We now return to our regularly scheduled program of bread and circuses...

8 comments:

Simon said...

Also, they are recruiting South Americans into the army in exchange for citizenship after service or death. That's literally what the late Roman Empire did, and is sometimes named as one of the circumstances in its demise.

Roy Smith said...

I saw an army recruiting bumper sticker a couple weeks ago - in Spanish.

Dalriada said...

Funny, I was thinking about our crumbling transportation infrastructure the other day and comparing it to the Roman road systems. More than most, the Romans seemed to understand that economies can only expand as far as cheap and easy travel can be arranged for moving goods and services. The problem is, the more roads you build, the more roads you also have to maintain. It's a game with diminishing returns, as we're beginning to discover in the U.S. Our older "modern" freeways and bridges are beginning to reach critical condition and there is little if any money that's been set back to replace or rebuild them. So a lot of our highly traveled freeways and city streets are probably living on borrowed time. My guess is that crumbling infrastructure was one of the obvious signs of the end for the Romans, too. I suppose I should pull out my ancient history books and do some reading on that time again - anyone have some favorite titles they'd like to recommend?

DeadBeat Dad said...

Dalriada,

You can read Are We Rome? by Cullen Murphy. Here is the Amazon review.

Dwig said...

For another view of the self-destructive bent of the U.S. government -- a picture of the growing corruption of the last decades -- see Catherine Fitts' case study at http://dunwalke.com/introduction.htm. (It's a long, involved read, so allow some time for it.)

John, I noticed on her Solari site that she was in Ashland earlier this year; maybe you met her?

Danby said...

Persia delenda est.

Danby said...

Not everyone thinks this is a bad thing. Family Security Matters is a propaganda/think tank organization run by the rabid neoconservative apparatchiks in DC. Today they published a memo detailing why Bush should emulate Caesar, and use the Army to consolidate his hold on power and make himself president for life. Of course, that can't be said openly, so it was removed within 2 hours. The link above is to Google's cache of the article. If that disappears, I'm sure that it will be all over the blogosphere (or at least the paleocon blogosphere) for several days.

nemo said...

All is needed is a good fiddle player. Seems history repeats its self. In Kenneth Clarks book Civilisation he sums up the greatest killer of a nation is fear. When a national leadership feeds on its people the end is clear . You can allways tell a army is at its end by their shoes,perhaps in todays terms that means bald tires and potholes.