Letter: Where is America today?
Recently, I’ve been reading “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” by Paul Kennedy. It goes into this subject in much deeper detail, focusing on economic change and military conflicts between 1500 and 2000. Kennedy believes America is in the last stages of the fairly typical decline of the great powers.
Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University in Edinburgh in 1887, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2000 years prior:
“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.
“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from great courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence to bondage.”
Where are we America?