The Fall of the House of America
I’m old enough that I remember the fall of the Berlin wall, but young enough that at the time I didn’t understand its significance. We will get into why that’s important, but let’s talk about the post for the day. Today is yet another history lesson courtesy of the labs. Like all history, we’re doomed to get kicked in the face by it. Oh well, let’s do it anyway…
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it fell practically overnight. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. Rome fell because of the weight of its empire. It bloated to the point that it couldn’t be centrally managed. It suffered loss after loss because the leadership knew only one thing, expand at any and all costs. All great empires fall when they fail to adapt to the needs of the people and frankly, sometimes even when they do.
There is a luck component for sure. I have a good example of this is in the micro sense. A friends father told me a story about how in the early 60’s he was t-boned (car hit his driver side door). He wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and the impact flung him into the passenger side door. He was lucky to walk away and even luckier that he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt. The driver side was crushed to the center console and he would’ve been crushed along with it. Sometimes a stupid decision that would kill you in any other instance (say he had been hit head on for example) will be overlooked by fate.
Here in the US we elected Trump, someone who was incompetent, racist, vile, and who has dreams of being a dictator. There is a lot of evidence that supports the idea that his victory (due in no small part to the electoral college!) was thanks to foreign interference. I didn’t think I would live to see Russia restart a cold war, but here we are and they tried to do the same thing in France and Britain. Luckily the French were smarter than that, the US and Britain, not so much.
The unfortunate history lesson is this. Empires rise and fall, we saw this very recently with the USSR, before that Nazi Germany, then there’s Napoleon, Rome, the first Persian empire, the Caliphate, the Mongol empire, the British empire, the list goes on and on. Yet, while this list is large enough that it wouldn’t make sense for me to type it all out, the list of reasons for the fall of these empires is surprisingly straightforward albeit oversimplified.
What do any of these empires have in common? Well both Napoleon and Hitler thought it would be a great idea to invade Russia in the winter, but besides that they all fell for the same basic reason. The massive bloat of the people on the top couldn’t be supported by the infrastructure. An interesting bit of history that is often overlooked. Since this is a history lesson it would be good to cite some sources (never trust what you read without sources, even from here!)
- More on the fall of Napoleon (here)
- More on the fall of the Mongol empire (here)
- More on the fall of the British empire (here)
- More on the fall of the USSR (here)
- More on the fall of Nazi Germany (here)
- More on the fall of the Persian empire (here)
I think that’s enough examples to make the case that most (if not all) empires fall due to greed. The people on the top want more than they should have and the whole tower of cards comes tumbling down. That’s to say empires are a fragile thing and even the strongest are ready to collapse at the slightest crack.
Which brings us to the United States. Hopefully at this point you see where I’m going with this. Our system wasn’t designed to support the weight of the people who are (at this point literally) ruling over us. The people who founded this nation couldn’t have anticipated multi-billionaires (billion, with a B!) would be running the country. There was no way to see that coming just like we don’t know for sure what will happen next.
That being said, we are doomed to repeat history that we cannot (or will not) learn from, so I firmly believe it’s inevitable that unless something changes we are headed for our own collapse. Now, that’s not to say all is lost, it isn’t! Unfortunately things are going to have to get uncomfortable if we want change and I’m not sure (in the general sense) that we’re ready for that or are willing to do the work.
The first step is voting of course, we let someone who wants to be a dictator be the leader of this country and I don’t understand why (okay, the answer is racism AND sexism … I get it, fun times). However that’s just in the short term, we need to be thinking about the long term and we need representation that works for us (really works for us). In short, we need a new system, the old one is too broken and outdated to do what we need.
I don’t know what tomorrow will hold or how/when the fall of the US will happen, but I do know that right now our power to affect change is slowly being taken away and if we don’t stop it, we are going to have even more work to do later to fix it. Why not start now?