Decay-a quote by Gibbon from the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

“But the decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest; and, as soon as time or accident had removed the artificial supports, the stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight…. The victorious legions, who, in distant wars, acquired the vices of strangers and mercenaries, first oppressed the freedom of the republic, and afterwards violated the majesty of the purple. The emperors, anxious for their personal safety and the public peace, were reduced to the base expedient of corrupting the discipline which rendered them alike formidable to their sovereign and to the enemy; the vigour of the military government was relaxed, and finally dissolved, by the partial institutions of Constantine; and the Roman world was overwhelmed by a deluge of Barbarians.”
– Gibbon – Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Aren’t individuals, institutions and modern nations also susceptible to this decay? Of course they are. Hasn’t this quote been used to describe America’s situation for years? Can mighty America, the most powerful nation in the history of the planet overcome systemic/structural difficulties? Don’t bet against it this century.

Vigilance and discipline are required to prevent decay. Weakness and forgetting where you came from are unacceptable.

O’erweening pride leads to hubris. Hubris leads to reckonings.


~ by notrous on April 24, 2010.

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