The Decline of the American Empire

Three related articles today (if you are tired of the heavily ideological stuff don’t worry, the next few posts will be about other things I am interested in that are less political).

Commenter Fortitudine Vincimus reminded me of this great analysis of the class division that has arisen in America over the last few decades:

Commenters on yesterday’s thread changed the subject to demographic decline, so I expect interesting debate on the following excellent article, which covers a lot of ground:

Both of these articles prepare one to recognize the applicability of the following amazing essay:

which is well-summarized and discussed here:

I don’t know how objective and complete the analysis of historical empires is, but there are certainly enough examples to establish a pattern which is all too familiar today.

ADDED 10/28: I don’t think there can be serious dispute that the American Empire has weakened in the same ways many historical empires have weakened, and on a similar time scale. But the weakness is what follows a pattern; the actual demise when it occurs is contingent on who is waiting in the wings waiting to become the new hegemon. I see problems everywhere in the world, and the American military is good enough that external conquest seems very unlikely. So the sign of the end of this empire would be an internal breakup — one or more states secede. What is a plausible time scale and a likely set of circumstances for this to occur? I’m not asking for a prediction of the most likely future, just a fleshed-out believable scenario . (This will help me decide which state to move to next 😛 ). Someone I know bet me this would happen within 10 years and I took that bet, since I think if the USA does breakup it won’t happen for much longer (if Obama is reelected and the Democrats control Congress after the 2012 elections, THEN I think breakup by 2020 would be an even money bet, but I don’t expect the Democrats to be able to stay in power).


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6 Responses to The Decline of the American Empire

  1. rebelliousvanilla says:

    American politicians never represented the American people. Let’s not forget that the only difference in between now and the 19th century America is the price of Congressmen, not if you can buy them or not. The US has been declining ever since the first generation, in terms of philosophy and politics.

    It’s relatively sad that the Chinese with their one child policy have a lower average age than Europeans or white Americans. I do give props to the Chinese government for not saddling their youth with their old though. It’s not like old Americans or Europeans will get retirement benefits when the Western world will go bankrupt. The difference is of course that the Chinese actually have savings so their old will be better off than the old of Europe or America. And I’m not sure why the writer of the article talks about Japan’s marriage crisis – it’s not like Europe or America is any different. What all this means is fairly simple – a lot of old people will die in bad conditions and that people will never retire anymore. If you recall the questions I asked about how you change morality without a collapse – this is one of those things that you can’t change without one, especially with the individualistic mindset of most Americans. What I’d like to point out that the mindset to not have children is part of the same coin that on the other part has men being unwilling to dominate others and conquer new land.

    The Fate of Empires is interesting.

  2. Fortitudine Vincimus says:

    This is a ridiculously interesting subject decades of debate in the lecture halls does not suffice. Trying to deal with it on a blog… well, what the hey. We need to feel important, too.

    Niall Ferguson has some very interesting opinions on how Empire’s decline.

    What about China? Chinese civilisation is particularly impressive. The communist party is simply yet another dynasty in a long line of dynasties. What about the Roman Empire? Even after the final collapse of the Western Empire, the Eastern Empire continued until 1453.

  3. Fortitudine Vincimus says:

    Further, American empire is just a sub-category of Western civilization. Just look – everywhere, people are imitating our music, eating food like the crap we make, wearing wester- style clothes, keeping time, designing Western style states with western-style bureaucracies, military organization exactly like ours.

    I mean, Western Civilization’s greatest triumph is its cultural supremacy. I mean, just anywhere with electricity, we set the trend. Bernard Lewis’s “What Went Wrong” gives an interesting account on his view of what happened to Muslim civilization that is really interesting?

  4. Anonymous Crab says:

    Can I pick the states? Something tells me that there wouldn’t be much of a civil war this time, though; the states most likely to take off are the ones we’d most like to see go. Get rid of enough of them and pretty soon I’ll bet the US life expectancy and infant mortality rates start improving, too.

  5. Crab, I think Texas might leave, though they would allow Austin and its environs to remain in the USA as a liberal enclave.

    Also look for Idaho-Montana-ND-SD-WY to break off, then Utah by itself. They will be accused of wanting to avoid black people, but really it will just be that they want to keep their money from being redistributed to other states. I saw somewhere today that as an insult the word “racist” has lost so much of its bite that it is now equivalent to “doodyhead”, so I don’t think that accusation will stop them.

  6. Polymath says:

    The Glubb essay is now available as a nice downloadable pdf file:

    The Fate of Empires

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