(OPINION) – The Decline and Fall of America
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British historian Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) published his classic six-volume History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in the time frame of the American Declaration of Independence from Britain and the creation of the United States Republic in 1789.
Gibbons claimed the Roman Empire, as cited in Wikipedia, “succumbed to barbarian invasions in large part due to the loss of civic virtue.” Some would find Gibbon’s concern about the impact of those “invasions” applicable to today’s open borders, resultant cultural change, and impact on America.
Gibbon criticized military leaders and religious clerics in Islam and Christianity for subverting the applicable virtues of some of their teachings, to the quest for power and maintenance of political control of the public, and associated corruption and hypocrisy. Gibbon did not spare Judaism from criticism, reverting to alleged anti-Semitism.
Today, some American intellectuals find more virtue in other cultures and nations than our own. Gibbons asserted, “As long as mankind continues to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than their benefactors, the thirst for military glory will be the vice;” and, “The influence of the clergy might be usefully employed to the rights of mankind, but so intimate is the connection between the throne and the altar, the banner of the church has seldom been seen on the side of the people.”
Contemporary critics of American politics and culture have reflected the classical historian’s concerns. Among them, Francis P. Sempa, writing for American Thinker on June 18, 2022, in his article, “The Rise and Fall of the American Empire.”
Sempa, a political science professor and American Diplomacy magazine editor, has his own analysis of the “Rise and Fall” of America.
Sempa traced historical and contemporary challenges in American history, beginning with the defeats of Britain in the Revolutionary War and War of 1812-15, followed by the expansion of America from the Atlantic to the Pacific, propelled by the concept of Manifest Destiny, and resultant wars against Native Americans, France, Spain, Mexico, and the sectional clash with the Confederate States of America and the expansion of slavery into the West. With the Spanish-American War in the late 19th Century, the U.S. added Western Hemisphere islands and the Philippines to its political geography, and World War II clashes with Axis nations Germany, Italy, and Japan.
The resultant growth of the federal bureaucracy led, Sempa contends, to the elites and their thirst for power and control, the diminution of individual political freedom, and the evolution of the arrogant “Deep State” with which President Donald Trump had to contend, and, what author Angelo Codevilla described in his books, The Ruling Class and America’s Rise and Fall among Nations.
Sempa contends “the elite ruling class has captured control of our nation’s cultural, media, and educational institutions, and let loose forces that are corrupting and weakening America…with a globalist agenda” that controls American policies.”
“Nationalism” and national pride are “dirty words equated with racism, fascism, and right-wing fanaticism, Sempa explains, as Christianity and traditional values are banned “from the public square as part of a broader effort to undermine civic virtue….and normalize practices previously considered deviant,” what former sociologist and Democrat U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York described as “defining deviancy down;” while promoting “a Woke agenda, the sexualization of young children, and undermining (traditional) beliefs and customs.”
Francis Sempa alluded to Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, describing how the ruling elites of that time introduced “a slow poison into the vitals of empire, extinguishing the fire of genius, and evaporating the military spirit,” which Sempa described as having “corrosive effects on the citizenry, manifested by “the collapse of public courage and diminished sense of national honor.”
Sempa concluded Gibbons described historical and contemporary reality, writing, “America’s elitist class is leading us down the path of (Ancient) Rome. Hopefully, it is not too late to change course.”
We hope so, too, and believe more voters see it that way, and not dismiss these warnings as just another one of those allegedly erroneous “conspiracy theories.”
Listen to Tom each Tuesday and Thursday morning after the 11 AM news as he joins Andy Brownell for Rochester Today on News-Talk 1340 KROC-AM and 96.9 FM.