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CaughtintheMiddle1990
11-23-2009, 01:50 AM
On a lot of boards, both conservatives and even liberals say we're in a decline, and I've seen many on both sides compare our decline to the Roman Empire's. I'm not really keen on Roman history, I was wondering if anyone knowledgeable could feel me in on the similarities?

Speedy
11-23-2009, 02:06 AM
What do you say?

FlaGator
11-23-2009, 08:51 AM
Moral decay, increasing dependence on foreign labor, reduction in military power, weakened economy, overvaluation of the individual in respect to what is good for society.

Gingersnap
11-23-2009, 10:01 AM
The Romans had a pretty clear idea of what contributed to their own decline but they couldn't stop it. Essentially, they had over-extended themselves in a number of areas both at home and abroad. They could have actually fixed those problems alone but they also had cultural issues that tied their hands.

The degenerate behavior that had always characterized some of the ruling class became widespread. The ruling classes were forced to buy civil peace through entitlements. Corruption in government became the norm. The traditional Roman attitude toward civic conduct decayed into wealth-protecting schemes at most levels.

Add it all up and you've got an era in which the wealthy felt no real commitment to governing as a means of insuring stability and the poor were increasingly dependent on government and urban opportunities. Between the leaderless poor and the opportunistic rich, the system was ripe for exploitation.

I think there are some similarities and a lot of differences between the two.

BadCat
11-23-2009, 10:57 AM
Yes, but we are well on our way down that road.

wilbur
11-23-2009, 01:20 PM
Rome was never a particularly "moral" place to begin with - even in its best of times. The contribution of "moral decay" in the fall of Rome is largely mythical, or at the very least, hugely exaggerated.

FlaGator
11-23-2009, 02:27 PM
Rome was never a particularly "moral" place to begin with - even in its best of times. The contribution of "moral decay" in the fall of Rome is largely mythical, or at the very least, hugely exaggerated.

Kind of like the contribution of man in respect to global warming.

You are correct, they were not that moral to begin with when compared with the increased moral standards of the modern era. But you can't compare their early standards with, say, European standards of the 18th century. But using their earliest standards (as best we can determine them today) as a starting point historians tell us that they still became an even more corrupt and immoral society. Even though they were bad, the still had plenty of room to get wose. That is not hugely exaggerated.

Goldwater
11-23-2009, 02:47 PM
Well, every Empire over-extends itself, has America?

FlaGator
11-23-2009, 02:57 PM
Well, every Empire over-extends itself, has America?

My personal opinions believes that we have. I think we've taken a path that it won't be easy to get off of and if we do we might not be America anymore.

Gingersnap
11-23-2009, 03:11 PM
Rome was never a particularly "moral" place to begin with - even in its best of times.

Morality isn't all about sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. The particular type of morality that the Romans abandoned had more to do with civic morality, justice, and their version of the social contract.

Rockntractor
11-23-2009, 03:25 PM
Well, every Empire over-extends itself, has America?

We are not nor have we ever been an empire! I can't speak for the future though.

Rebel Yell
11-23-2009, 03:36 PM
Morality isn't all about sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. The particular type of morality that the Romans abandoned had more to do with civic morality, justice, and their version of the social contract.

You know, for him to be an atheist, Wilbur sure does cling to religion.:rolleyes:

Goldwater
11-23-2009, 04:43 PM
We are not nor have we ever been an empire! I can't speak for the future though.

;)

FlaGator
11-23-2009, 05:17 PM
You know, for him to be an atheist, Wilbur sure does cling to religion.:rolleyes:

It's been pointed out to him that he has an unhealthy obsession with all things Christian, but I suspect he was to obsessed to notice. ;)

wilbur
11-24-2009, 12:52 AM
It's been pointed out to him that he has an unhealthy obsession with all things Christian, but I suspect he was to obsessed to notice. ;)

Yet, nowhere in this thread did I bring it up... :confused:

FlaGator
11-24-2009, 07:11 AM
Yet, nowhere in this thread did I bring it up... :confused:

Your obsession surrounds you like a cloud. For example when you stated that Roman was not a very moral place to begin with, whose moral yard stick were you using as verfication of that statement?

wilbur
11-24-2009, 09:55 AM
Your obsession surrounds you like a cloud. For example when you stated that Roman was not a very moral place to begin with, whose moral yard stick were you using as verfication of that statement?

That would be the same consensus of social norms that one appeals to when they cite the ambiguous "moral decay" of Rome. Whatever your theories on the source of the stuff, is largely irrelevant.

FlaGator
11-24-2009, 10:49 AM
That would be the same consensus of social norms that one appeals to when they cite the ambiguous "moral decay" of Rome. Whatever your theories on the source of the stuff, is largely irrelevant.

My "theories" are based on the commentary of historians who study these things so I would say that if my sources are not as irrelevant as you may think. The 'moral decay' that you wish to deny is based on more than sexual perversion and aggressive expansionism. I based move view of moral decay on the standards that were prevalent at the time. To be honest I'm not even sure what
'the same consensus of social norms that one appeals to when they cite the ambiguous "moral decay" of Rome'
is. What consensus are you referring to? I would like to know because I think that you just made that up. Go get a copy of "When Nations Die" by Jim Nelson Black and have a read. You might find it enlightening but perhaps not. Historians who specialize in the study of Rome would disagree with you too. Historian James Burke agrees with you that Rome a immoral place to begin with but he seems to be using a more modern standard of morals when he makes his comparison. Edward Gibbon gets a better handle on the concept of the failing morality of Rome by using the moral standards that were present at the time

There are lots of reasons for the fall of Rome, not the least of which is moral decay, but I question why you poked in to this conversation when I brought up moral decay? I feel that you suspect that I was making this comment based on some Christian concept of morality and your obsession with all things Christians force you to comment on my comment. Since I wasn't the only one who noticed this it seems your reasons for entry in to the discussion is more apparent to others that it is to you. At any rate, I'm glad you joined the discussion for any reason that seems good to you.

Average Voter
11-25-2009, 02:02 PM
the permanent political class in the country. Vote them out.

Molon Labe
11-25-2009, 02:20 PM
More like the British Empire than Rome.

Molon Labe
11-25-2009, 02:22 PM
the permanent political class in the country. Vote them out.

first you have to convince people that there is one and that they don't have average American's interests in mind.
Let me know when you figure that one out.