History repeats itself


PDA






BamBam
January 1, 2003, 06:05 PM
The Fall Of A Republic

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage."

- Alexander Tyler

When the thirteen colonies were still a part of England, Professor Alexander Tyler wrote about the fall of the Athenian republic over two thousand years previous to that time.

I think that the United states is in the "From apathy to dependency" stage. How 'bout you?

BamBam

If you enjoyed reading about "History repeats itself" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Nanook
January 1, 2003, 06:25 PM
At the risk of getting quote-happy:

"... America is great because America is good. When America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." Alexis de Tocqueville


And I agree with you, it does look like we're in the stage of apathy to dependency. Just look at the voter turnout in most elections. Apathy is one way to explain how some of the creatures we've elected, not once but twice, come to be elected.

cuchulainn
January 1, 2003, 06:54 PM
fnord

Every society actually passes through the five stages of Verwirrung, or chaos; Zweitracht, or discord; Unordung, or confusion; Beamtenherrschaft, or bureaucracy; and Grummet, or aftermath

Appendix Gimmel: The Illuminati Theory of History
The Illuminatus! Trilogy
Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

Blackhawk
January 1, 2003, 07:59 PM
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. ..." Yes, which is why the FF championed and effected a republic for the U.S.

Alas, even the republic of Rome fell when they became so decadent that they abandoned the ideals upon which the republic was founded. Then they hired mercenaries to do their fighting. The pride of their power was broken, after which they were Vandalized by victors who just walked in and took over.

The U.S. swings from one seemingly extreme postion to the opposite like a clock pendulum. So does the world. When the shooting started in WWII, the U.S. was totally unprepared. A couple of years later in latter 1941, the U.S. was still unprepared, but we ended up having time to gear up because our enemies screwed up by precipitously attacking us.

Our penchant for peace, prosperity, and liberty may again leave the U.S. pendulum at the opposite of where the world's is swinging, and the question is whether or not we will have time to gear up.

Americans are starting to wake up. They find themselves suddenly living in a war zone with increasing inconveniences as a result. They're asking "why" among all their other complaining. They're not liking the answers. There's hope for America....

PATH
January 1, 2003, 11:23 PM
Very scary but entirely true. I fear for the survival of this great republic.

grampster
January 1, 2003, 11:55 PM
As the founders were trickling out of the hall in which they had agreed upon the language of the Constitution, one of the wives asked one of the founders, "Did you give us a Democracy, Sir?" The reply: "No madam, we gave you a Republic, if you can keep it."
We are well into the apathy to dependency stage. However, the terrorists bucking up against Texas bullheadeness may re-awaken the "sleeping giant" that Yamamoto spoke of and discovered some 60 years ago.
Please don't misunderstand me here.......but the terrorists and the Robber Barons may well have saved our country from a quickening slide into the bondage of which you speak. We may slowly be re uniting into a common purpose. I wish someone with a bully pulpit could articulate this widely.

Preacherman
January 2, 2003, 12:09 AM
Grampster, I may not have a "bully" pulpit, but a pulpit I do have, and you can be sure I use it for the purposes you describe!

tsubake sanjuro
January 2, 2003, 02:07 AM
blackhawk,

I'd actually disagree with your point about Rome. If you look at the history of the Republic and the Empire, one finds that the overwhelming majority of the troops were not "Roman", and were often the recent descendants of peoples with which the Romans had been at war; this at least goes back to before the First Punic War and was one of the prime reasons why the Roman system was as successful as it was (when compared to other ancient forms, especially Greeks like the Spartans). Later immigrants were just as concerned about being a part of the Empire - look at the forces that fought under Aetius against Atilla; Odoacer's reverance for the Roman system after the final fall of the Western Empire in 476, and indeed the survival of much of the Roman system to this day across Europe.

The Western Empire fell because of many reasons - depopulation, the agglomeration of tribes in Germany and pressure from the Eurasian steppe peoples (as happened almost every 500 years), the corruption of the army and civil life etc etc, and not because of the recruitment of mercenary troops. IMHO you are confusing this with the legend of Vortigern, in which rebellious saxons did take part.

Bahadur
January 2, 2003, 04:01 AM
Bambam:
The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.Bunk! There is no such "average of the world's great civilization." Various civilizations have lasted varying lengths depending on interactions of complex factors like shifting economic, social, political, military and population movement factors (all inter-related, of course). The notion of the "life cycle" of empires and civilizations is an unproven and unscientific one, albeit one that is very poetic.

Blackhawk:
Alas, even the republic of Rome fell when they became so decadent that they abandoned the ideals upon which the republic was founded. Then they hired mercenaries to do their fighting. The pride of their power was broken, after which they were Vandalized by victors who just walked in and took over.That is not quite what happened with Rome. If by "mercenaries," you mean professional soldiers (not the farmer militia so idealized by classical writers), Rome already had such soldiery by the Second Punic War.

Hannibal's veteran African mercenaries and Celtic freebooters overwhelmed the relatively inexperienced Roman levies time and time again. In response, Rome had to resort to, what became in practice, "lifetime conscriptions," which meant that the soldiery was no longer a militia, but a professional force that lived by the sword rather than farm implements. In turn, the professionalization allowed for advanced formations like maniples, echelons and cohorts that proved to be so superior to phalanxes of yeoman levies.

As others have pointed out, Rome hired mercenaries from foreigners frequently, even during the republican times. Even during the most "Roman" of the times, half of a typical Roman army was composed of foreigners (Socii, Auxilia and Feodorati).

Rome became very prosperous, to be sure, particularly during the heights of its conquests (as did all other great powers), but it hardly became "decadent." The reversion from a cash economy to a barter kind, particularly in the poorer western half, did much to damage the military vitality of the Roman empire. A barter economy indicates a more primitive and less sophisticated economic life and was hardly conducive to "decadence."

Lastly, the warriors of the Voelkerwanderung hardly "walked in and took over." It tooks several hundred years of shifting fortunes and constant warfare before the Germano-Romanics overcame the empire. Judged by its contemporaries or even other great powers of history, the longevity of the Roman empire was quite remarkable.

Bahadur
January 2, 2003, 04:09 AM
tsubake sanjuro:
The Western Empire fell because of many reasons - depopulation, the agglomeration of tribes in Germany and pressure from the Eurasian steppe peoples (as happened almost every 500 years), the corruption of the army and civil life etc etc, and not because of the recruitment of mercenary troops.Not to mention the frequent civil wars that sapped the military strength of the empire routinely.

I suppose the Augustan form of government became very unstable after the Julio-Claudians died out, often resulting in the frequent civil wars led by "men on horseback." But then again, dynasties with rigid hereditary succession systems were just as prone to civil wars (and perhaps more) as were classical "democracies" like Athens and Sparta (oligarchies really, rather than real democracies).

The rather universal and essentially civilianist system of governance that we have in the US and elsewhere in the more economically developed parts of the world is really a recent invention, which cannot be so capriciously compared to ancient civilizations.

There is such a thing as drawing too much of a parallel with historical events. :)

GinSlinger
January 2, 2003, 02:50 PM
Just wanted to throw out one more problem that Rome faced: The shear valoume of loot brought back to Rome (the city) created horrible inflation. So bad that goods were no longer being shipped to Rome (the city). The senate raised taxes throughout the empire to pay for social programs to support the poor and hungry in Rome (the city). That sucking sound? Why thats the wealth of the republic being sucked back to Rome (the city). Causing yet more inflation and poverty in Rome (again, the city) and leading to the bartering for goods and payment of troops with salt that Bahadur refered to. In other words, a run-rampant welfarism contributed to the fall of Rome.

GinSlinger

Bahadur
January 2, 2003, 08:40 PM
GinSlinger:
leading to the bartering for goods and payment of troops with salt that Bahadur refered to.That's NOT what I stated. The substantial inflation in the Roman empire began when the Roman empire was essentially static - that is when the conquests had effectively ended. I tend to think that the inflation was brought about by two things - depletion of known precious metal mines and massive deficit in trade (particularly in the naturally poorer western half of the empire). If one looks at the coinage of the Rome, its precious metal content continuously declined (in effect, currency devaluation).

As cash became progressively more worthless, barter economy came (back) about - not just with salt (which would have been a substitute currency), but with all kinds of necessary provisions gathered locally.

As for "welfare," it was certainly rampant in the empire. For one thing, while citizenship was still not universal, Romans did not pay taxes that were levied from the provincials. Furthermore, food was often distributed freely among the inhabitants of the city of Rome itself, creating an enormous financial drain on Rome (food import was said to run about 400,000 tons annually at some point).

The Byzantine empire lasted subsantially longer, because its economy, particularly its trade, was naturally much more advantaged. The western half, on the other hand, had very little beyond agriculture once the loot from the conquests ceased. This imbalance explains much about the disparity in the military abilities of respect halves to resist "barbarian invasions."

Dennis Olson
January 2, 2003, 09:08 PM
Read "The Fourth Turning".

It'll really mess you up.....

If you enjoyed reading about "History repeats itself" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!