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The Fall of a Nation
Historian Edward Gibbons' five reasons for the decline and fall of Rome
- The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
- Higher and higher taxes; the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace.
- The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting, more brutal, more immoral.
- The building of great armaments when the great enemy was within; the decay of individual responsibility.
- The decay of religion, fading into a mere form, losing touch with life, losing power to guide the people.
-From The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
1. The dramatic increase of divorce undermined the institution of the family. Traditional families ceased to function as was necessary to guarantee that the values which had proven to be successful in the past were successfully passed on to the next generation. This process of the deterioration of the Family Institution occurred over many generations prior to the actual collapse of the Empire.
2. The imposition of higher taxes undermined the economic stability and vitality of the Empire. Why were the taxes raised to such ruinous levels? To pay for deficit government spending, to pay for food for all in society and to pay for government-sponsored activities of diversion, such as circuses and sports. Interestingly, as the time of the final collapse drew closer, greater emphasis was placed on sports, to divert the attention of the public from the distressing news of massive trouble within the Empire. This brings us to Gibbon's reason number three for the collapse:
3. The drive for personal pleasure had become very intense, even to the point of obsession. Gibbons noted that at the very end, sports had become more exciting and brutal. We will return to this subject of sports, but let us list the last two reasons for the collapse of the Roman Empire.
4. People lost their faith, both religiously and in their government. Paganism gave way to Christianity and the efficient Roman Government gave way to chaos and disintegration.
5. Hidden conspirators were working within the government to secretly destroy it. They worked quietly, invisibly and deceitfully; during the entire time they were secretly dismantling the government of the Roman Empire, they publicly proclaimed a much different story.