Global Research, May 20, 2022
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die”
-Don McLean, Bye Bye American Pie
Reasons Why Rome Fell
1. unwinnable wars with “ Barbarian” tribes. …
2. over-reliance on slave labor. …
6. debasement of popular culture, violent spectacle
7. the rise of the Eastern Empire. …
8. over-expansion and military overspending. …
9. political corruption and political instability. …
10. The arrival of the central and west Asian and east European peoples collectively called the “Huns” and the Barbarians encroachment on imperial provinces such as Britain
Reasons Why the US Will Fall
11. unwinnable wars with “Barbarian” tribes: in the ME, Asia and Latin America, and now Russia
12. over reliance on slave labor. …exploitation of workers at home and abroad
16. debasement of popular culture, violent spectacle
17. the rise of the Eastern Empire–China and BRI
18. over-expansion and military overspending. …
19. government corruption and political instability. …
20. The arrival of the central and west Asian and east European peoples collectively called the “Huns”, now known as “Russians” and their taking of prospective imperial provinces such as Georgia, the Ukraine and Central Asian republics.
OK. But what about the differences between the Roman and American empires, especially modernization and technology?
Rome was not an industrial state. Nor was it global, although it dominated the Mediterranean and Western Europe. It was ruled by dynastic elites, an aristocracy. The US is a global empire with advanced communications which claims to be a democracy, by also ruled by dynastic elites. Yeah, most of the Billionaire class got their privileged positions, if not money, from Mommy and Daddy.
However, a closer examination renders these differences essentially meaningless.
The reason lies in the growth of hierarchies that prevent adaptation and change and also in inequality that results in dynastic elites, effectively aristocracies.
Although the US says it has government of the people, by the people, it is actually ruled by a few large corporations owned by just those dynastic elites I mentioned. The people are like Helots in Rome, a slave class.
Wherever the Romans went, they built roads; they also had a huge merchant fleet, tying the Empire together. All roads, as the saying goes, led to Rome. All ships went there too. Which is one reason the Romans were subject to frequent pandemics. Rats just love empires. Rats love cruises abroad.
Today, all roads lead to Washington— metaphorically only— since the US doesn’t build roads or railroads much, preferring air travel to tie their empire together. Also very effective in spreading disease. Rats rarely travel by air –so we have tourists.
We might think that the Roman Empire was small compared to that of America. But to the Romans, it was global — because they ruled all of the world that mattered to them.
The American Empire consists of the US, Canada, Europe and Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea, so it is much more extensive but certainly not the whole world. Most of the World doesn’t belong to it, which used to be fine because the Third World didn’t matter to Americans in the past, except for a cheap vacation or cheap labor.
In the Roman case, the Barbarians learned a lot from the Romans and soon began to challenge the Empire. They were Rome’s Third World.
Today’s Barbarians are Russian and Chinese and Indian.
The Romans fought the evolving, adaptive societies in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, just as the Americans are now doing with the Russians and Chinese. But the Romans lost. As will the Americans.
That’s because a civilization can be dynamic or static. Rome and America both lost momentum.
A major cause was cultural narcissism. Why change or try to evolve when you believe yourself superior?
“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being,” said Barack Obama, one of many comments to this effect.
Americans think themselves better, somehow chosen by God, even the poorest of them. The Romans believed this too — even the plebeians—despite their short, brutal lives. As time goes on Americans are living shorter and more brutal lives, too. In the US, health is indeed wealth.
When a civilization grows too large and powerful, it maintains social consistency largely through group-think, or propaganda, delusionary belief systems. In the American Empire, propaganda is based on media narratives — the best manufactured in Hollywood — stories told on TV, or now on the Internet. It is what Guy de Bord, calls the Society of the Spectacle. Think: the Super Bowl. Think Marvel movies. It is all “show”. What is the war in the Ukraine but a one season series?
In Rome, they first built theatres modeled on Greek theatre. But Greek drama was for the educated in small city-state cultures. Rome was ever so much bigger and its hoi polloi more numerous wanting excitement and vicarious pleasure to fill out their boring but as mentioned short and brutal lives.
The Romans invented bread and circuses.
The Americans invented film and TV—and McDonalds’—they have their own versions of the Coliseum with endless entertaining and often very bloody spectacles, reaffirming the values of the Empire, in the same way that gladiatorial combat and throwing Christians to the lions did for the Romans and blood and guts makes them reach for the popcorn.
The difference between the US and Rome is really in technology and the sophistication of narratives and mythologies.
Rome split into pieces first– an Eastern Empire and a Western Empire, with chunks falling off each. The US will also devolve. We see that already with political division and Roe vs Wade going back to the States. Cicero played the fiddle. Biden can’t even do that.
In the end, Rome was just a much diminished city who had to open it gates to the Vandals. Can we expect the same of Washington?
Listen to the song, “Bye Bye, American Pie.
Listen because it not just the levee that’s dry, it’s your gas tank and your bank account ….
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Julian Macfarlane is a Canadian media analyst / writer. 40 years in Japan. Worked for every major Japanese company including Toyota as media advisor in the Middle East and also most government ministries including the Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office. More than 200 articles on political events and propaganda. Author of “Ageing Young: You’re Never Too Old To Rock ‘n Roll”, a seminal study of evolutionary psychology. For more articles go to: https://julianmacfarlane.substack.com/
Featured image is from the author
The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Julian Macfarlane, Global Research, 2022