Fall of Rome, Fall of the USA
This article will look at two causes of the Roman Empire's collapse and see the extent to which its defects can be applied to the decline of the USA as the leading world power. While the influence of the USA cannot be considered imperial, nonetheless, the terms hegemony, leadership, and dominance in the world system apply to ancient Rome and might well apply to us.
Invasions By Barbarian Tribes. In 410, the Visigoths sacked the city of Rome. The Romans rightly referred to the invaders as barbarians because they lacked the learning, skills, and organizational foundations of Rome. Further, at that point, the barbarians were pagan — they worshipped a pantheon of gods such as Woden, Thor, Frigg, and Balder — whereas Rome had accepted Christianity as its official religion.
In the USA, we now see a collapse at the southern border. The seeming bipartisan fence that was erected in 2006 in retrospect appears to be a sham. The fence was allowed to fall into disrepair and was inadequate for deterring illegal access. In 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump called out the do-nothing Congress and both the previous Republican and Democrat administrations for allowing this "invasion" of illegals to happen. As part of his Make America Great Again agenda, he proposed and then, after being elected, began to build a wall with accompanying surveillance system that was better than anything that had previously been attempted on our southern border.
Under Trump, the USA maintained its overall liberal immigration policy, which admitted about one million persons a year, but had to limit immigration because of the need for proper vetting of applicants regarding criminal history, health, work skills, and goals for making that immigration. We had learned as early as 1921 that political and moral values held by immigrants, intentions toward peaceful assimilation, a willingness to live under a capitalist/democratic system, and a work ethic were all defining characteristics of successful immigration. Immigration policy that lacks any defining criteria about who should and should not be admitted is not a policy at all.
Further, President Trump clearly saw that certain nationalities were more prone to produce jihadi terrorists than others and called for more careful scrutiny of their applicants than from other countries. He was falsely characterized as being anti-Islamic in doing so. However, he did not call for restrictions of immigrants from Indonesia, the country with the largest Islamic population. Although Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen were excluded, the UAE, Egypt, and Lebanon in the Middle East were not. However, while embracing friendship and even military aid with Saudi Arabia, Trump made a speech against terrorism while he visited Saudi Arabia, and that speech will surely ring through the ages. In that speech, he said, "Terrorists do not worship God. They worship death." Would you have the nerve to say that in front of the leaders of a country that produced 16 out of the 19 terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center, supposedly in the name of Allah?
Division of the Roman Empire into East and West. We are facing so much polarization as a country that many articles are being written about the likelihood of our being engaged in another civil war. However, the Roman Empire did not collapse by having a civil war. The Western part fell to invasions by various German tribes. The Eastern, largely Greek-speaking, portion of the Roman Empire continued for centuries after the collapse of the Western portion fell in the 5th century. Most of that collapse of the Middle East was to Islamic incursions between the 7th and 14th centuries. Of course, a host of internal power struggles and disagreements made the Roman Empire more vulnerable.
Thus, America's collapse, though likely, will not come through civil war, but through a weakening brought about by internal dissensions, corruption, incompetence, and immorality. In today's America, the forces of disunity seem to be making headway over the forces of unity. The MAGA proponents have gathered themselves around traditional positions like keeping inflation under control, having a strong military focused on armaments and not soldier sexual identity, having the family and not "the village" as the basic unit of society, and assuring that equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcomes is the proper nexus point for individual liberty and economic growth.
Additionally, MAGA affirms that social status and economic well-being should be based not on race, but on other criteria pertaining to responsibility, skills, and motivation and that love of country should supersede love of ethnicity. Further, freedom of speech is an important right if it is exercised non-violently, and lawful behavior must be followed at all times even if one has serious objections to some governmental policies held in place by those laws. Rioting should not be equated with "freedom." However, if someone does riot or otherwise breaks a law, he is to be prosecuted, not persecuted. Habeas corpus rights are more than 350 years old and must be respected always. Regarding the so-called "fourth branch of government" — the administrative state — entrenched government employees should not have the power to make or enforce rules as though those rules were laws superseding the authority of those administrative cadres.
The dogmatic, name-calling, internationalist, and cultural communist alliance that has taken control of the Democrat party believes that rights and traditional liberties must be controlled and limited for the good of the environment in order to help dispossessed people around the world, to assure that all races will be treated equally, and to keep power in the hands of an enlightened elite who know what is best for the "good of all." This is what they call "sustainability" or "meeting needs" (recall Marx's principle, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs"). Trump calls his individual opponents names and ridicules their mannerisms, but the Democrats have undemocratically called those who question their authority and their ideas deplorables, fascists, racists, intolerant, mean, narrow-minded, etc. when their ideas are not in agreement with theirs. Which is worse — calling one's opponents and celebrities names or calling the citizens names?
Both Democrats and many MAGA Republicans are generally on board with the redefinition of marriage, and Trump himself supports transexuals using bathrooms of the other sex in his hotels. Where is the outcry against drag queens in schools and libraries? How vulgar, unseemly, and completely offensive to any decent citizen to see a trans person rubbing his naked implanted breasts on the White House lawn and not being arrested or at least removed. That individual, named Rose Montoya, has merely been told he will not be invited back to the White House. However, in New York State, for example, an act of public lewdness — and it does not have to be at one of the most important public buildings; it can be in a park — is punishable by up to 90 days in jail.
Like Rome by the end of the 4th century and into the 5th century, the USA is in decline. We can expect a collapse of our dominant role in the near future. Our society is divided beyond repair. Even without a civil war, the division itself bespeaks extreme weakness. The God of the Holy Bible is no longer the clear God of our country. Godless and immoral elements supported now by one of our two great political parties have set up a barrier to compromise, and the Republicans are too weak and accommodating to restore national unity.