From the Financial Times:
Is Walker’s assessment of America’s current situation accurate? Are our “moral values” and “political civility” really any worse than in earlier times? Is our government really any more fiscally irresponsible? (I don’t think the charge of military overextension is really debatable.) What does this portend for our future?
Is comparison to latter-day Rome really apposite? As I understand my history, the Empire stopped being geographically overextended when Hadrian succeeded Trajan and withdrew from Mesopotamia, Assyria and Armenia. As for “moral values,” they were at their most decadent in the early Empire, the time of Caligula and Nero; the Antonines’ Rome was rather austere and Stoic, and Christian Rome even more so. And “political civility” was at its worst in the late Republic; the emperors wouldn’t allow political disturbances, or for that matter real politics, of any kind. What disturbed the later Empire was not “incivility” but an endless series of civil wars for the throne.
Anyway, what can we do about it?