Wednesday, November 27, 2013

THE DECLINE OF THE ROMAN AND AMERICAN EMPIRES

Recently, Orrin Woodward released some small segments from his new book on State, Society, and Justice. Anyone who reads those small samples are going to be exposed to break through research as this best selling author prepares for this release. The book Leadershift and the 5 Laws of Decline has already provided many insights. These materials are critical for educational and leadership purposes. By learning lessons of the past we will better prepare ourselves from letting history repeat itself. How can there be influence from leadership if there is no learning about this most important subject of history?
Research by experts show many similarities to the Fall of the Roman Empire and the Decline of the American Empire. Like the fish in the sea, our population does not notice the contamination in the water until it is too late. We can all recognize very little importance being placed on history from our educational system. Much of the research shows how our history is being subtly changed by revisionists.  Robbed of our past, we begin to accept any future. Wouldn’t it make sense to teach our population the elements of decline that the Sumerians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and the French Enlightenment period all had in common? From Carlyle, to Gibbon, to Toynbee, to Spengler, they all recognize and report that societies in decline demonstrate, social disintegration, educational failure, cultural degradation, deterioration of moral standards, and the demise of the basic unit of civilization, the family. Why wouldn’t this be common knowledge? Thomas Sowell taught economics at Cornell and UCLA. He was also a scholar in residence at the Hoover institute, Stanford University had these comments regarding the prerequisites to a declining society: “The techniques of brainwashing developed in totalitarian countries are routinely used in psychological conditioning programs imposed on American school children. These include emotional shock and desensitization, psychological isolation from sources of support, stripping away defenses, manipulative cross – examination of the individual’s underlying moral values, and inducing acceptance of alternative values by psychological rather than rational means.”
When Rome fell, it was in part because no one remembered how things used to be and no one stood up for traditional values. In his book, ‘The American Hour’, Os Guiness writes, “A generation that fails to read the signs of the times may by forced to read the writing on the wall.” Are we witnessing the eradication of the past in favor of a new agenda? In his book ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’, Edward Gibbon writes, “The final collapse of Rome was made inevitable by the slow decay of classical learning and the loss of intellectual curiosity.”  Have we replaced common understanding, common tradition, common ideas, and common ideals with communication through television, computers and cell phones?  The Family Research Counsil feels our country’s crime and injustices will never be solved until balance and order are restored in the home. They note a 40% increase in our population while there are 25% fewer marriages.  Some studies show, Americans spend less time with their children than any other people on earth. There may be a correlation to the fact that 3 million crimes are committed in or around our nation’s schools each year. John Adams wrote, “Have you ever found in history, one single example of a nation, thoroughly corrupted, that was afterwards restored to virtue? And without virtue there can be no political liberty.” Virtue is defined as moral excellence. Theodore Roosevelt said, “To educate a person in mind but not morals is to educate a menace to society.”
There are economic similarities between the Roman and American Empires as well. Ludwig von Mises warned, “The wavelike movement affecting the economic system, the recurrence of periods of boom which are followed by periods of depression, is the unavoidable outcome of the attempts, repeated again and again, to lower the gross market rate of interest by means of credit expansion.  There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion, The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.” Can we see the similarities of the economic trends in America and Rome? Each grew so big and sprawling that they became impossible to manage. The nation’s top auditor, David M. Walker writes, “The sum of all the benefits, programs, debt payments, and other expenses has grown from $20.4 trillion, to $56.4 trillion – a 176 percent increase.” H.J. Haskel compares similarities in his book, ‘The New Deal in Old Rome’. Augustus adopted an easy – money policy. Repeatedly he made gifts of money to the poor, perhaps in the hope of tiding them over while they looked for jobs. In addition he instituted great public works, partly for work relief for the unemployed, partly because of his natural love of the magnificent. His public works repaired all the roads in Italy and the streets in Rome. He aided many cities by gifts of aqueducts, baths, temples, and public buildings. It is estimated that fifty million dollars in new money flowed out to the public. As the spoils of conquest were exhausted, there were no reserves to draw upon. ”Overspending” writes Professor Adcock, “so weakened the financial and economic resources of the Empire that the crisis that was to come in the third century was in part the price that the world had to pay for the gilding of the Golden Age.” Haskel finishes with, “ “People were schooled to expect something for nothing. The poor sunk to a level where the selling of votes was widespread and elections went to the highest bidder.” Similar to the break down of standards and virtues, Haskel writes, “The youth got the idea that the highest aim in life was to have a good time. Many of the elders confused their moral values.”
Many of us want the truth. The LIFE Leadership Freedom Series subscription is a way to inform us about our history and the history of free civilizations. We can learn what it took for great societies to rise and decline. But there is more to learning the history about businesses that were disrupted, wealth that was redistributed, taxes that increased, and currencies that were devalued. There is leadership. Leadership is about courage and character to do the right thing. What do you want to be remembered for? I heard it said, “If you can’t answer that by the time you are 50 you’ve wasted your life.” It’s time to quit worrying and start leading. It’s time to see how you will finish. Studying the past you’ll find that the world was not helped by people who were driven to understand themselves but people who want to change the world.” Isn’t it time to stop worrying and take hold of a great vision that you can make a difference?

God bless, Scott Johnson