Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Dance of Doom

Once upon the time, there was a mighty superpower. This mighty superpower expanded to its natural boundaries via conquering and/or killing off the natives of lands it coveted, then settled down to purr in its self-satisfaction, secure in the knowledge that its mighty armies would forever keep it safe.

Over time, politics in this mighty superpower became somewhat... deranged. Divorced from the lives of normal people. An aristocracy ruled this mighty superpower, an aristocracy which lost interest in the things that made the superpower great and instead only pursued wealth and power. But the wealth they pursued was artificial, illusionary, not the wealth that is food and manufactures and services that make people's lives better but, rather, the artificial wealth that is created by the State. Similarly, the power they sought was power over the government. They did not worry about whether the actual functions and services provided by government met the needs of the people, they simply wanted to rule.

As the economy and infrastructure of this mighty superpower crumbled, as its government became increasingly ineffectual and unable to maintain even the basic services of law and order, the people of power who ran this superpower continued their power games on top. For a while, nobody noticed that each generation's life became a little harder, a little poorer. After all, they were still the mightiest superpower on the planet. But then some barbarians, little more than savages in their estimation, managed to destroy one of their armies... and there was nothing left to rebuild their armies with. No manufactures. No resources. No ability to recruit and arm more soldiers to replace those that were killed. And no competent leadership of the remainder of their army, the competent leaders had all been purged because they (correctly) disagreed with the insane policies of the ruler of this mighty superpower.

And so Rome fell.

A few dozen centuries later, another superpower with a crumbling infrastructure and economy slowly slides towards the precipice. And the leaders of this superpower are all concerned with... petty political bullshit. The armies have been purged of competent leadership because the competent generals disagreed with Dear Leader's insane policies, the economy crumbles as the elites pursue artificial government-created wealth instead of the ability to produce, like, actual goods that have some sort of inherent value, and it looks like a good chunk of the U.S. military has been defeated in Iraq, with the majority of the Army's equipment pretty much destroyed and with the decayed economy of this superpower lacking the ability to easily repair or replace it. Shades of Adrianople...

But oh look, over there. It's Paris Hilton, looking all fresh despite her jail time! Woot! Gotta keep our priorities straight, after all....

-- Badtux the History Penguin


  1. Excellent post.

    Hey - I dunno if you engage in such things, but I left you a present at my place.

  2. Aw hell, it can get worse. And it will.


  3. Indeed it will. I just hope I will be dead by the time everything collapses. The Western Roman Empire managed to keep on going for another hundred years after Adrianople, of course, not finally collapsing into mass death via starvation until the Vandals took North Africa and shut off the wheat supply to Rome, and the Eastern Roman Empire managed another 500 years after that. But things just happen so *fast* nowdays...

    - Badtux the History Penguin


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