"The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Edward Gibbon is an epic masterpiece that tells the story of how empires end. It is a six-volume comprehensive outlook on the last days of the Roman Empire, published between 1776 and 1789, right at the time of the founding days of the United States. Gibbon studied how a decline in civic virtues, stern morality and discipline ended up causing disorder, injustice and the end of the empire.
Corruption became the norm, the incorruptible destroyed, the liar prevailed, and those who pushed for traditional virtues became the enemy of state. When cheating and cunning power plays that destroy justice become socially acceptable among the elites, their example carries precedence further down the ranks. As the population watches how the liar is honored as a hero, all begin to follow the same path.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," said the martyred Christian preacher and not-so-popular-anymore Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He is no longer an icon in today's Marxist movements such as Black Lives Matter. "As long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than on their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters," writes Gibbon, and today we see the very same problem.
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As the American election is melting down in allegations of voter fraud, lies and cheating, as well as a public out of touch with its media, the last days of Rome comes to mind. As lack of justice and order, violence, street wars and drugs prevail, the United States looks more like a mafia system that makes the 1930s Chicago mobsters seem like children at play. We are watching yet another republic fall apart from lack of upholding its historic and traditional virtues.
Or will the current political upheaval finally produce the draining of the Washington swamp of corruption, collusion and unfair power play? Are too many aware of the corruption now for this to quiet down? Will the end result be a more honest America that returns to its former greatness?
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President Trump is now being advised to order lawsuits in every state, turning the 2020 election into a war, not trusting any polling or voting results being reported. WND reports: "The Trump campaign claims that with the president on a path to victory Tuesday night, vote counting stopped and overnight huge 'surges' of ballots were counted for Joe Biden, sometimes coming without even a single accompanying vote for the president."
When law and order breaks down, no republic can be saved from the oncoming hordes of "barbarians." Gibbons spoke of this, how the very lack of civic virtues produced the disorder that allowed the takeover by Germanic tribes and other groups outside the Roman Republic – called barbarians – to finally sack Rome.
The Christian writer and icon who had fled Rome due to its hedonism and lack of justice, St. Jerome, tells how the very same elite ladies who loved the vanity, orgies and decadence of Rome later begged in the streets of Palestine. The end of Rome was brutal; they all fled for their lives, scattered to far away places such as the Judea province in today's Israel. St. Jerome's statue in the monastery next to the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem stands as a reminder of the end of Roman glory.
Today, the irony is that a billionaire's wealth may buy air time for propaganda at the news channels and pay the politicians running for office, yet fail to provide good leadership: that of a man who seeks to do justice to the nation's population. Who thinks of the people, the working class today? Which politicians or billionaires paying them do anything about the inner-city schools or the horrifyingly low standard millions in the United States grow up in?
Gibbons is known for his view that the "kind Christian values" negatively impacted Rome and criticized its corrupt clergy, the close links between the political elite and the religious establishment. He asserts that Rome fell due to weakened Roman values, yet forgot that the Eastern Roman Byzantine Empire – where Christianity was implemented as a core value system by Emperor Constantine – lasted 1,000 years longer than Rome. Martin Luther King Jr. famously stated: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." It remains to be seen whether the American Republic will descend into further chaos or whether the darkness will be overcome.