Victor Davis Hanson: How Civilizations Collapse — Is U.S. Next?

Why did Rome and Byzantium fall apart after centuries of success? What causes civilizations to collapse, from a dysfunctional 4th-century-B.C. Athens to contemporary bankrupt Greece?

The answer is usually not enemies at the gates, but the pathologies inside them.

What ruins societies is well known: too much consumption and not enough production, a debased currency and endemic corruption.

Americans currently deal with all those symptoms. But two more fundamental causes for decline are even more frightening: an unwillingness to pay taxes and the end of the rule of law.

  • Xavier

    When the rule of law doesn’t apply to the elite – who are primarily elected officials and their lackeys – why should it apply to the general population? Obama, Pelosi, the Clintons, Reid, Sharpton, Holder, Lerner… the regime is corrupt.

    • G

      I agree. When the law is clearly nuts, people with common sense don’t want to follow it. Failing to pay taxes? When your taxes go to provide ridiculous “services” or public property then it’s time to cut off the money supply. If the government considers that illegal, too bad.

      • G

        We are living in a society that is increasingly left wing, increasing infantile, feminine, self indulgent, and just plain weird. If maintaining traditional conservative virtues and principles makes one a criminal then maybe we might have to simply accept that we are criminals.

    • Norman_In_New_York

      Every privilege and immunity given to public officials that makes a mockery of the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection brings us down one step further.

  • Bataviawillem

    An essay of a french economist written in 1850 explained this already.

  • Hard Little Machine

    We’ve listened for a generation to progressives who clattered on that the problem with America was that it wasn’t ‘more like the rest of the world’. Well ok then there you have it. Problem is, the progressives never bothered to peer outside their privileged little bubbles to see what the rest of the world really is. They imagined it was part Denmark part San Francisco. In reality it’s mostly Mexico, sub Saharan Africa, Turkmenistan and Burma. Where collapse is normal and a permanent state of affairs.

  • Nan

    Someone in Washington is Fiddling.