Alexander the Great is one of those rare figures in world history who genuinely deserves the accolades given by the “Great Man Theory” of history. From his base in Greece, he conquered most of Eurasia in just a few years, extending the reach of Hellenistic (Greek) culture and thought which already dominated the Mediterranean.
Yet his empire died with him in 323 BCE. An empire that large simply could not last at that time, at least without intense leadership and the sharp edge of a sword.
Fast forward a mere three hundred years, and Eurasia was dominated by four great, permanent empires which included as much as three quarters of the 300 million or so people on this planet. They were largely at peace with each other, too. What happened? What made this possible? More to the point, what can we learn from this incredible change in how people were organized and lived their everyday lives?
History is consistent in one important way. Empires always fall, and there are three main causes for the collapse. Succession crises, corruption and debt are what eventually bring them down. And the cause of debt is always an insatiable appetite for war – either from a need to defend the borders or expand them.
In the US today, there is no concern about succession, as our Founding Fathers made sure that wasn’t an issue. Corruption is certainly an issue, but it’s nowhere near Roman levels at this time. Debt, on the other hand is mounting rapidly.
What is the cause of that debt? Despite many deflections, it’s not caused by taking care of people. Our debt can be directly traced to our appetite for war.
For those who find it difficult to process the daily blowtorch of news, it has come down to one fairly obvious event that inflames everything else: this is what it looks like when a republic dies.
There has been warning along the way. The parallels with Rome have been clear and the utter dysfunction of government manifest constantly. Decency died a long time ago, and the vulnerable have suffered as pawns for years before it culminated in the destruction of families for pure political sport.
But the warnings fell on ears deafened by the trumpets of war, incapable of caring the slightest bit for the republic itself. So that brings us to a time when it is obvious that we have one, maybe two last chances to save the centuries old birthright, a republic enshrined for the purpose of protecting freedom.