America is facing a crisis so severe that many people are beginning to compare our cultural deterioration to the fall of the mighty Roman Empire. A survey of the symptoms that led to Rome’s demise, which parallels America’s downward trends, should be a wakeup call for all of us.
Rome’s decline, many scholars agree, began when the decentralized regions of the empire lost their local control to an all powerful government. Augustus Caesar declared himself to be god on earth, and every decision then flowed down from Rome from an oppressive government bureaucracy. In the empire, crushing taxes on the middle and upper classes drove them out of business and out of Rome. The empire was bankrupt.
The out of control government attempted to calm the masses with an ever increasing welfare state in which the citizens survived on free bread and increasingly violent sports and entertainment in their coliseums. The monogamous family disintegrated in an empire-sanctioned orgy of sexual immorality, suicide, abortion and infanticide. With decreasing demographics, the empire increasingly imported immigrants who did not share their culture and soon became the majority.
By the time that Rome was burned and her citizens plundered and raped on September 4, 476 A.D., the above depravities had drained the empire of any will to survive. But as we ponder the similarities between Rome and America we should remember one fundamental difference between the two. Rome was founded on a culture of death including false gods of manmade stone, human sacrifice and the plunder of the nations. Their ignominious, self-destructive collapse was inevitable.