Will America suffer the same fate as other empires?

During the 1830s, American artist Thomas Cole painted five great works collectively known as "The Course of Empire." Although seen from a decidedly American idealized understanding of Anglo-European pastoralism that elevated the still quite new nation of the United States' concept of constitutional republicanism, its message still resonates down through the ages and throughout the world, especially in the West today.

Cole takes the viewer through each stage of what becomes the imperial view of a nation's lifespan, from the inchoate savage to the undoubted pastoral ideal of the etymologically original understanding of what a nation is to its later stages of full blown empire and the downward spiral into destruction and desolation.

It is the two latter stages that will notably be dealt with here.  We in the West, whether it is the United States, the U.K., Germany, or France, etc., are, to varying degrees, in the twilight of our lifespan, before the eventual decline into final desolation.

We have broken faith with our past and embraced madness, corruption, and degeneracy as our cultural and societal watchwords.  Cole demonstrates all too vividly what this will result in with his fourth painting, "Destruction."  From decline comes softness, a lack of conviction or real focus on the unity of a people.  When this happens to any nation, it is only a matter of time before it follows the sadly typical path of previous empires, with porous borders, a less unifying ethno-cultural narrative, and rank indifference to or brazen embrace of all things perverse and immoral (if not amoral).  With this, as Cole's painting depicts, comes barbarous violence that will lead to collapse.

We are now very much on the cusp of a new era that will look more like this than the far more desirable state of the earlier representations Cole created.  The question is, can or will there be something of value built out of the rubble?

Although many may slide down into pessimism and depression, I believe there is much hope for such new lands and nations to be created.  It will not be easy, nor will Western man be as influential or as powerful a player in world conversation as he has been, but he will still be able to survive, rebuild, and thrive if he can reclaim the main proven ideals and beliefs of the past that our forbears handed down to us.  Just like Cole and his paintings, our ancestors still speak to us today.  We must not turn a deaf ear to them, but learn from them and set about the task of forging a path toward something better out of what has been.

During the 1830s, American artist Thomas Cole painted five great works collectively known as "The Course of Empire." Although seen from a decidedly American idealized understanding of Anglo-European pastoralism that elevated the still quite new nation of the United States' concept of constitutional republicanism, its message still resonates down through the ages and throughout the world, especially in the West today.

Cole takes the viewer through each stage of what becomes the imperial view of a nation's lifespan, from the inchoate savage to the undoubted pastoral ideal of the etymologically original understanding of what a nation is to its later stages of full blown empire and the downward spiral into destruction and desolation.

It is the two latter stages that will notably be dealt with here.  We in the West, whether it is the United States, the U.K., Germany, or France, etc., are, to varying degrees, in the twilight of our lifespan, before the eventual decline into final desolation.

We have broken faith with our past and embraced madness, corruption, and degeneracy as our cultural and societal watchwords.  Cole demonstrates all too vividly what this will result in with his fourth painting, "Destruction."  From decline comes softness, a lack of conviction or real focus on the unity of a people.  When this happens to any nation, it is only a matter of time before it follows the sadly typical path of previous empires, with porous borders, a less unifying ethno-cultural narrative, and rank indifference to or brazen embrace of all things perverse and immoral (if not amoral).  With this, as Cole's painting depicts, comes barbarous violence that will lead to collapse.

We are now very much on the cusp of a new era that will look more like this than the far more desirable state of the earlier representations Cole created.  The question is, can or will there be something of value built out of the rubble?

Although many may slide down into pessimism and depression, I believe there is much hope for such new lands and nations to be created.  It will not be easy, nor will Western man be as influential or as powerful a player in world conversation as he has been, but he will still be able to survive, rebuild, and thrive if he can reclaim the main proven ideals and beliefs of the past that our forbears handed down to us.  Just like Cole and his paintings, our ancestors still speak to us today.  We must not turn a deaf ear to them, but learn from them and set about the task of forging a path toward something better out of what has been.