Empires Rise and Empires Fall
By: Dr. Robert R. Owens
Most of us, even those of us who are the products of America’s collapsed public education system have heard of the fall of Rome. The greatest of ancient western empires began to fall as soon as the vigorous Republic which had created it was replaced by an autocratic military dictatorship. A dictatorship which hid behind a veneer of republican forms while devolving into a cult of personality around whichever thug happened to have murdered his way to the throne. For centuries this once vibrant nation of freemen sank beneath the weight of regulations, taxes, inflation, and tyranny. For centuries after their power had been usurped by the ever more absolute Emperors there was still a Senate, there were still elections, and there were still courts charged with safeguarding the Republic.
Freedom was extinguished, and the yeoman farmers who had supported the Republic and filled its armies became first tenant farmers. Then they morphed into an unemployed rabble choking the streets of an imperial capital living on government bread and entertained by government circuses. The armies of the Empire were not filled by native Romans they were filled with provincials who were granted the coveted status of citizen for serving. When the expanding decay of the central dictatorship undermined the vitality of the provinces and the culture of helpless subjects swallowed the pride of citizenship, Germans and other barbarians were imported to fill the armies. By the time Rome fell it was no longer Rome. The capital had moved to Constantinople in the East and Ravenna in the West.
The barbarians had long ago supplanted the native Romans and their provincials as the generals and power brokers in the West. In the East the Greeks had taken control of the military and the culture even though they still called themselves Romans.
In 476 AD when Rome officially fell in the West it didn’t fall as much as it was replaced. There were no massive charges of barbarians against fortified walls on the Rhine or the Danube. Those walls had been manned by barbarians for many years. Instead when the king of the Visigoths, Odacar who was already a Roman general, grew tired of the charade he pushed aside Romulus Augustulus the effete boy emperor taking control of the Western Empire.
When Odacar refused to pay taxes to the remaining Roman Emperor in Constantinople he resorted to a tried and true Roman strategy. He hired a barbarian to do the dirty work. Thus Theodoric of the Ostrogoths stabbed Odacar of the Visigoths passing power from one barbarian nation to another. Once in possession of Rome Theodoric saw no need to hand that prize over to a distant Greek who called himself a Roman but had no power in Rome. When Theodoric declared himself the King of Italy we mark it as the fall of Rome though the Greeks continued to call their empire Roman for another thousand years. It seems T. S. Elliot was correct, at least as far as the Roman world was concerned, it ended not with a bang but a whimper.
Looking closer to home the British Empire came out of World War One as the largest empire in the history of the world. It stretched around the globe controlling thirteen million square miles and 460 million people covering ¼ of the earth’s surface leading the proud imperialists to boast that “The sun never set on the British Empire.” They were such dedicated conquerors that the Indians had a saying, “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.” Nothing would stop them from pushing forward to victory.
However twin victories in Europe’s World War suicide dance combined with a welfare state and the confiscatory taxes it always brings brought Britain to its knees forcing them to voluntarily renounce their empire. They transformed it into a Commonwealth of Nations with member nations still upholding the fiction of British authority. However, the amount of real power the Queen or the British Parliament holds in Canada or Australia gives voice to the fall of the empire even if they want to pretend it is still there.
In Rome on the Potomac Boehner’s Plan B becomes Obama’s plan to tax you and me. After all the huff and buff of a con man’s bait and switch it turns out Washingtondoesn’t have a spending problem . No, the problem is we aren’t sending them enough money. Never fear, elections have consequences and since the ignored corruption of fraudulent voters and whacky voting machines has given Mr. Obama an uncontested victory, he and his Progressive Vandals win, and we American Romans lose. Our new national motto might as well be “Stand and Deliver.”
The Barbarians have been inside the gates for a long time. The Kennedy Immigration Bill of 1965 breached the walls and the Progressive indoctrination camps we call public schools combined with an entitlement culture to turn generations of Americans into know-nothing couch potatoes waiting for a government check.
Our worldwide military posts are necessary for the policeman of the world. Our mounting debt fuels our endless wars for peace and our ever expanding welfare state. All of which brings us to the crushing taxes and the regulation strangulation that guts our economy of innovation and productivity. The givers shove the producers out of the way as they waddle to the trough for some more free lunch. Our leaders are perpetually re-elected demagogues pandering to the lowest common-denominator of the takers. They are Santa Clauses giving away vote buying presents paid for by the unwilling and given to the undeserving.
Like Rome this empire won’t fall it will collapse. Like Britain we will pretend that the empire exists long after we know the emperor has no clothes.
Our only hope as a nation is to jettison the Empire to save the Republic. On a personal level we must lead our families in a restoration of the work ethic and a return to moral sanity. Either we individually spark a revival of what made us great or we sink into the hole dug by moral rot and the decay of ambition.
Empires rise and empires fall; however, though a thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Because you have made the Lord the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil shall befall you for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. Trust Jesus, open up before God, and keep nothing back. He’ll do whatever needs to be done. He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.
Keep the faith, keep the peace, we shall overcome.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2011 Robert R. Owens firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens