More than sin needed to topple an empire
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
In the letter “Learn from past, America” (Feb. 12), Joyce Bubash says “there is no debating history” and that various empires throughout history failed due to immorality. I disagree.
We must not oversimplify history by blaming the end of empires on some real or imagined immoralities. Empires don't perish simply due to immorality.
Empires historically overextend themselves. In the process, they make lots of enemies. So, they suffer constant external attacks by barbarians, rebels, terrorists, etc. Add to that civil wars, epidemics, famines, floods, earthquakes and exhausted natural resources.
Edward Gibbon, in his epilogue to “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” cites four factors that, over a thousand years, caused the ruin of Rome: 1. Injuries of time and nature; 2. Hostile attacks of barbarians and Christians; 3. The use and abuse of materials; 4. The internal squabbles.
This American empire is a mere 200 years old. We've got a long way to go to measure up to the accomplishments of past empires. We must survive natural disasters, internal and external attacks, and misusing or just running out of resources and we must avoid religious wars.
The writer is a Mt. Pleasant native.
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