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Is the American Empire on the Decline?
Old 12-30-2014, 09:37 AM   #1
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Is the American Empire on the Decline?

The American Empire | CalThomas.com

Portion of the editorial:

The late British diplomat Sir John Glubb wrote a book called “The Fate of Empires and Search For Survival.” Glubb noted the average age of empires since the time of ancient Assyria (859-612 B.C.) is 250 years. Only the Mameluke Empire in Egypt and the Levant (1250-1517) made it as far as 267 years. America is 238 years old and is exhibiting signs of decline.

All empires begin, writes Glubb, with the age of pioneers, followed by ages of conquest, commerce, affluence, intellect and decadence. America appears to have reached the age of decadence, which Glubb defines as marked by “defensiveness, pessimism, materialism, frivolity, an influx of foreigners, the welfare state, (and) a weakening of religion.”




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Old 12-30-2014, 09:46 AM   #2
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How are all the other "ages" defined? Perhaps we are in the age of commerce, or affluence.
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Old 12-30-2014, 09:49 AM   #3
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How are all the other "ages" defined?
By the people in charge afterward.
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Old 12-30-2014, 09:54 AM   #4
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Several writers have made this observation. I remember reading Asimov's take on how civilizations have 'always' come and gone twenty years ago too.

No 'superpower' civilization has ever lasted forever. Though one seems to be poised to revive itself...China?

But the 250 year hypothesis doesn't hold water, it's simply not correct.
  • Roman Empire 27BC - 1453AD
  • Greek Empire 800BC - 600AD
  • Ancient Egypt 3150BC - 30BC
  • Chinese Empire 221BC - 1912AD
  • Mayans 2000BC - 1540AD
  • United States 1776AD -
  • and many others
So the US may have a few years left...

Interesting, but what to do about it - move somewhere else? Best of luck wherever you choose...
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:07 AM   #5
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I'm no sociologist, but I tend to agree that we're on the downward slope. It's fixable, but some things will need to change.

The electorate needs to stop choosing candidates based on advertising. We as a country elect those with huge amounts of money to spend, ensuring that our officials are beholden to those who financed their campaign, and it is impossible for many people who would be worthy to win elections - at almost any level.

The public at large must readopt the concept that certain behaviors are shameful and are not to be tolerated. No more "I'm sorry if anyone was offended" but "I was wrong, and I resign/will make full restitution/whatever". Standards of behavior must be elevated and there must be accountability. We have come to tolerate lowest common denominator.

In addition, rekindle a sense of community. Looking out for each other, helping each other, and insisting everyone pull their weight as they are able.

The path we're on now is not the right path.
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
The electorate needs to stop choosing candidates based on advertising.
You propose what? We go back to electing candidates based on political machine affiliation? Race and religion? No blacks! No Jews! No Catholics! I suspect you may be misremembering the "standards of behavior" and while we certainly publicize the faults and foibles of public figures more openly now than in the past, the actual behavior was just as bad if not worse.
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fidler4 View Post
The American Empire | CalThomas.com

Portion of the editorial:

The late British diplomat Sir John Glubb wrote a book called “The Fate of Empires and Search For Survival.” Glubb noted the average age of empires since the time of ancient Assyria (859-612 B.C.) is 250 years. Only the Mameluke Empire in Egypt and the Levant (1250-1517) made it as far as 267 years. America is 238 years old and is exhibiting signs of decline.

All empires begin, writes Glubb, with the age of pioneers, followed by ages of conquest, commerce, affluence, intellect and decadence. America appears to have reached the age of decadence, which Glubb defines as marked by “defensiveness, pessimism, materialism, frivolity, an influx of foreigners, the welfare state, (and) a weakening of religion.”
I didn't read the book but there's a lot to disagree with Glubb's statement above. For one thing, the "influx of foreigners" is a major part of what keeps America going. I see weakening of religion (true) as a good thing - not something that can weaken an empire. Pessimism, defensiveness, frivolity are all big subjective words which I don't view as current American empire trait. IMHO, American "empire" with almighty dollar has gotten stronger.
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:25 AM   #8
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Twenty-seven percent (27%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey for the week ending December 21.

This finding is up two points from the previous week. The number of voters who think the country is on the right course has now ranged from 23% to 27% nearly every week since early June and has been below 30% most weeks since June of last year.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters now believe the nation is headed down the wrong track, down four points from last week.

A year ago at this time, 29% said the country was heading in the right direction, while 64% thought it was headed down the wrong track.
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:34 AM   #9
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Civilization Implosion works on the time scale of Supervolcano's, Super Meteors, and other multi-hundred year events that cannot be prepared for yet are unstoppable forces.

Worry about what you can control and have influence over.
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fidler4 View Post
The American Empire | CalThomas.com

Portion of the editorial:

America is 238 years old and is exhibiting signs of decline.
The USA has been a world superpower for less than 100 years. Before that we were busy with manifest destiny.

If I had my druthers, I'd rather us not be in the Empire business at all.
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
Several writers have made this observation. I remember reading Asimov's take on how civilizations have 'always' come and gone twenty years ago too.

No 'superpower' civilization has ever lasted forever. Though one seems to be poised to revive itself...China?

But the 250 year hypothesis doesn't hold water, it's simply not correct.
  • Roman Empire 27BC - 1453AD
  • Greek Empire 800BC - 600AD
  • Ancient Egypt 3150BC - 30BC
  • Chinese Empire 221BC - 1912AD
  • Mayans 2000BC - 1540AD
  • United States 1776AD -
  • and many others
There are empires, and there are dynasties within them. Chinese empire is a sequence of dynasties, each dynasty lasting from few years to a few hundred. I think Glubb's definition of empire is what others know as dynasty.

Chinese empire (or a dynasty) has been revived. I think it may even be in "decadent" phase ...
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robnplunder View Post
There are empires, and there are dynasties within them. Chinese empire is a sequence of dynasties, each dynasty lasting from few years to a few hundred. I think Glubb's definition of empire is what others know as dynasty.

Chinese empire (or a dynasty) has been revived. I think it may even be in "decadent" phase ...
You may note the OP opened with Thomas and Glubb referring to "empires." And while dynasties have been part of some, notably China as you mention, you won't find a sequence of short lived 'dynasties' within all of the 'empires' above.
Quote:
Definition of DYNASTY
1: a succession of rulers of the same line of descent
2: a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time
Which dynasty and how many have there been for the USA so far?
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:44 AM   #13
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Presented purely to stoke paranoidal tendencies only...

The Economic Collapse
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:48 AM   #14
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Does it matter?
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:03 PM   #15
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
Does it matter?
Probably not to current forum members, but I am curious about 100 years from now.
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:32 PM   #17
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Sir John Glubb's "The Fate of Empires and Search For Survival" isn't much of a book. It is more of an essay, at 26 pages in length. It was first published in 1976, when the author was 79 years old.

It is arguably one of the finest examples of a senior statesman bemoaning the decline of the world from his youth.

(I suspect nobody on this thread has read it. Cal Thomas appears to have read a thumbnail summary, from what he quotes.)
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:39 PM   #18
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Well if the US implodes, the rest of the world is likely to go along for the ride
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Paquette View Post
Sir John Glubb's "The Fate of Empires and Search For Survival" isn't much of a book. It is more of an essay, at 26 pages in length. It was first published in 1976, when the author was 79 years old.

It is arguably one of the finest examples of a senior statesman bemoaning the decline of the world from his youth.

(I suspect nobody on this thread has read it. Cal Thomas appears to have read a thumbnail summary, from what he quotes.)
Now, we have more people who have read it. Thanks.
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:45 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by robnplunder View Post
I didn't read the book but there's a lot to disagree with Glubb's statement above.
That's actually Cal Thomas's interpretation of what looks like a thumbnail summary of the actual 26 page essay by Glubb. The essay is much more fun. Glubb Pasha, as he liked to be called, was a veteran of the last of the great adventures of the British Empire, and observed many cultures in the Middle East.

Here he ties the decline of the Arab Empire to guitar music:
Quote:
The ‘pop’ singers of Baghdad accompanied their erotic songs
on the lute, an instrument resembling the
modern guitar. In the second half of the
tenth century, as a result, much obscene
sexual language came increasingly into use,
such as would not have been tolerated in an
earlier age
Many of our members will enjoy this bit:
Quote:
An increase in the influence of women in
public life has often been associated with national decline.

Many women practised law,
while others obtained posts as university
professors. There was an agitation for the
appointment of female judges, which,
however, does not appear to have succeeded.

Soon after this period, government and
public order collapsed, and foreign invaders
overran the country.
There's plenty more in Glubb Pasha's actual essay, which largely reads like the writings of someone whose world view was solidly frozen in 1920 Great Britain, and did not age well.
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