November 08, 2004

The Roman Connection

My Brother is taking Bush's re-election pretty hard. But he makes a few good points in his requisite post-election rant:

About a week or two ago I got a forwarded email titled "The Fall fo the Athenian Republic" - It purported to tell about how an 18th century political scientist said that all Democracies fail after 200 years or so because they vote for Liberals, and that voting for Kerry would cause the fall of American democracy. When that was supposed to have been written, there had only been two democracies in the world - Athens and Rome. Athens fell when they were conquered because they were too proud to keep up their allies. Rome's democracy fell because they allowed a leader to scare them so much about an outside threat of barbarians from another culture that they gave him emergency powers to fight the threat, and he used those powers to make his absolute power permanent. Do either of those sound familiar?
(Link for full text)

I remember having similar thoughts about Rome earlier this year, when some republican was predicting that allowing gays to marry would spell the end of America, suggesting that it was the "Decadance" of the romans that caused the empire to fall. No, it was not that. Actually, it was the fact that Rome built roads out to the far corners of the empire and overextended themselves taking over other countries. Eventually, some low-tech barbarians came IN on those roads and pillaged the cities. That has a familiar ring to it as well.

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