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.

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