While listening I remembered that in 1787 Edward Gibbon wrote extensively about “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Gibbons reduced the downfall of the Roman Empire down to five steps.
Many are beginning to believe America is now descending down these same five steps that led to Rome’s eventual destruction from within, the self-destruction of the then greatest nation on earth.
Returning home, I looked up Gibbon’s five steps that led to Rome’s self-destruction from with-in and review them with my Tribune readers. Gibbon’s five steps were:
1. “The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of (all) human society.”
2. “Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for bread and circuses for the populace.”
3. “The mad craze for pleasure, sports becoming every year more and more exciting and brutal.”
4. “The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy was within the decadence of the people.”
5. “The decay of religion — faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life, and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people.”
When one compares these five steps that led to Rome’s destruction with the agenda America’s current administration is following, it is easy to see why so many Americans, especially senior citizens, those of us who have lived through America’s Golden Years, are really concerned about the direction America is headed in today.
Is America descending down these same five steps today? If yes, what step is America now on today? As I review these five steps and compare them to where America is today, I wonder what Gibbons would write today about America’s near destruction of the traditional family — the basic building unit of all civilized society, no matter what the current cultural mores might be.
I also wonder what Gibbons would have to say about America’s nearly $18 trillion debt, and still growing, with seemingly no plan to reverse the current spending habits. No nation, let me repeat, no nation has ever survived such debt. And America is kidding itself if it thinks it can totally ignore one of nature’s most basic economic laws and survive.
When Gibbons talks about the craze for sports and how brutal it was in Rome — I wonder how many today realize that when a gladiator walked into the Roman amphitheater, he never knew if he would walk out alive — the thirst for blood in Rome’s time was real — they killed one another, not just tackled their opponent.
That craze, in the latter years of Rome’s decline, brought Christians into the arena and then turned the hungered lions on them. America hasn’t reached that stage yet, but elsewhere in the world, namely Iraq today, the terrorists are killing Christians in record numbers.
World War II was a major turning point for America. America soon became the largest armaments builder in the world. After the war, it continued to be the world’s largest armament builder in the world, believing that it, America, needed to be the world’s policeman. This policy is likely not much different than what led to the self-destruction of Rome anciently.
But perhaps the most dangerous of Gibbon’s five steps is step five — the decay of America’s religious foundation. Those writing the current school textbooks are teaching America’s students religion had little to do with the creation of America, or that America’s Founding Fathers were not religious. Anyone who does their homework soon realizes that not only was America founded on God’s “perfect laws of liberty” that America’s Founders found in their Bibles, but they embedded those principles of freedom deeply into both of America’s foundational documents, its Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
In today’s politically correct culture, no one is willing to admit America is a nation that covenanted with God, thus making America a Covenant Nation until such time as America turns its back on His principles of freedom and liberty.
The Declaration of Independence declares this, the Constitution declares this, when the president of the United States takes the Oath of Office he declares it and each time an elected official takes their Oath of Office they too are declaring America is a Covenant Nation, including America being subject to God’s wrath as was ancient Israel.
Wake up, America.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.