Tuesday, February 28, 2012

THE DISUNITED STATES OF MODERN ROME?


I tend to make a lot of references to the fall of Rome, especially the old saying, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned” and “Bread and Circuses”. To me, a history buff, the parallels between these United States and Rome during her decline are so obvious as to need no explanation. However, I forget about our younger readers, victims of decades of public education. This was brought home to me in a most dramatic fashion when we received the following text from Timmy, a youngster in his seventh year of pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Community Organizing at Occidental College.

"SUP GANGSTAS. MY PROF SEZ U R STUPID. I H8 U. BTW, WHUTS A FIDDLE?"

Obviously, one of my little history lessons/harangues would seem to be in order once again.

First, an answer to little Timmy’s question: fid-dle, n. 1. a. A violin. B. A member of the violin family.

Second, to answer to little Timmy’s next question before he asks it. Vi-o-lin n. A stringed instrument played with a bow.

Ancient Rome, first as a kingdom, then a republic and finally an empire (Google them, Timmy), was the Super Power of Antiquity. Its empire eventually covered all of the Mediterranean and stretched from the Rhine River to North Africa, and from the Atlantic Ocean to Eastern Europe. (Google, Timmy). Rome enjoyed a surprisingly modern and comfortable civilization which included things still found lacking in many Muslim countries, such as indoor plumbing, personal hygiene and garbage collection.

Mighty Rome was the World’s Policeman of its time, which lasted a couple of thousand years. Yet even this mighty civilization, which many deemed immortal, crumbled to dust. The reasons were many, but internal rot and decadence were very high on the list. A great many of the causes of Rome’s decline and implosion exist right here in the good old USA even as we speak. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

1. Decline in Morals, Ethics and Values: Check. Watch prime-time television, a movie or the so-called news then compare with Rome’s lifestyle, amusements and literature (they didn’t have Cable or Satellite at the time and had to write books and plays, Timmy).

2. Political Corruption: Check, check, check and check.

3. Constant Wars and a Huge Military Budget: Big Check.

4. Unemployment of the Working Classes: Check. Fed.gov’s official unemployment rate=9%. Real-world numbers more like 20%+. (Also see number 2.)

5. Decline in Work Ethic and Employment, Huge Expansion of Dependence on Foreign Products and Trade Deficit: Check. Ask any Chicom about this.

5. Class Warfare Between Rich and Poor: Check. See OWS, Community Organizing and DNC reelection platform.

6. Decline and Decay of Infrastructure: Check. See Detroit.

Which picture is Detroit and which picture is Rome?

7. Cost of Welfare: Check. This is where we get the phrase “Bread & Circuses”. The government gave the poor food, wine and entertainment spectacles to keep them from getting rambunctious. They built the Coliseum and had Gladiator fights to the death, Timmy, because they lacked the technology for food stamps and reality TV shows.

8. Taxed the Shit Out of Some, Others not Taxed at all: Check. Nearly Half of Americans Pay No Income Tax.

9. Takeover of New Religion (Christianity): Check. Today, Islam.

10. Invasion by Barbarians Who Did Not Assimilate. Check. See any southern border state.

So, there we have just a wee tiny sampling of the parallels between Ancient Rome and the present-day United States. I hope you can stop playing Swords & Sandals on-line long enough to read this article, Timmy. If not, just remember mmmm bread good, ahhhh circus fun.


2 comments:

Charles said...

Took some notes while reading your hysterical I mean historical harangue. You're assuming Timmy knows what a river or an ocean is. Then you used actual location names: Rhine, Europe, Atlantic Ocean, etc. Besides the state of confusion, Timmy has no clue where he is geographically, so good luck on that. Then you used way to many words of more than two syllables such as “antiquity,” “civilization,” and “decadence”. Tsk, tsk. And more than likely, our pimply faced teenager also has no clue about indoor plumbing, personal hygiene, and garbage collection. No surprise there.

And then there are your finely arranged academic enumerations. Waste of breath. Even if he can read at a better than third grade level, Timmy's ultra-short attention span would not allow him to even get to point number one.

Now if you want to really make Timmy's head spin, on your next bloated diatribe, I mean learned exhortation, compare and contrast the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto with conditions here in the good ole US of A. He'll probably agree with most of them but most might be shocked to find that everyone of the planks has been fulfilled.

Good night comrade.

Bawb said...

Plank? Is that the sound a fiddle makes? Or is that a banjo?

BTW, Timmy's not a teenager, he's 25, and a professional student. Only three more years to go until he gets his A.A. degree in Community Organizing!