Rome Had Its Decline as Well

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 23, 2007 | Go to article overview

Rome Had Its Decline as Well


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Civilization is not automatic. It is fragile, and can wither easily, and even die. There is a decay among us, a failure of civilization, a breakdown of the social structure essential to what we most consider our humanity.

It is not widespread, but neither is it rare. Like a disease it spreads through the social body, infecting and sickening and moving on to taint the healthy.

Civilization can be different things, depending on time and place and people. But any civilization must include certain traits to propagate and protect itself. If it lacks them, it fails. These traits are easily identifiable:

* The ability to bear and rear children in a stable family environment.

* The ability of individuals to support themselves.

* The social ability to establish and sustain order.

* The recognition of personal property.

* The tendency to promote the general good.

Those things are civilization's essential components. And for a growing number of Americans, in pockets of microculture, they do not exist.

If we don't stop the spread of the social pathogen they represent, we will collapse as have other great societies. Rome stopped being Rome primarily because its civilization frayed and tore, giving way to an anti-civilization, a backward savagery that brought it to its knees.

American anti-civilization is most common in our inner-cities and rural communities. From there it spreads into the vast American middle-class, happily snoozing in suburbia.

The symptoms? The failure of marriage. Not in individual divorce, but as a social institution of choice. Forty percent of children born in the United States today are born outside marriage. They never have the opportunity to truly belong to a family.

Most of their situations are flawed and even failed. They are not reared successfully, giving rise to further social pathology and destruction.

Increasingly, a class of people is flourishing which, under other circumstances, would starve to death. The dependent class, unable or unwilling to support itself materially, would naturally be self-limiting. …

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