What Is the Right Model?

Posted on November 4, 2021


This is the third or fourth column this autumn on our basic history. I forget how many we have done over the years just like I forget how many times I entered a classroom or seminar room at UA for over forty years and taught a course. Hundreds? Thousands? Goodness, what a question, probably since I started composing this note right about birthday time this year.

Anyhow for those of you following this column you know my prejudice re. the four principal sources of our behavior: one, our faith, or Christianity in the main in our country; two, our families; three, our schools; and four, our history. If you get yourself, your children, your grandchildren, your parents, your friends, and not-so-friends lined up in these four categories to do and think the “right thing,”—always a slippery rascal—re. family, faith, and history– then we can move along to resolving much of what is wrong in our country.

Or are we doomed by history to come to end as a people and nation like the old Roman Empire? Did it really fall like described in the most knowledgeable—and often quoted—classic by Edward Gibbons, The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, in six volumes no less to establish its authority?

And below an ad for Samuel Bronston’s movie, The Fall of the Roman Empire, 1964.

Gibbons basically blamed Christianity for weakening and ultimately subverting the power of Rome. At the time he composed his volumes about Rome, his own British Empire was trying to deal with her revolting colonies in North America that produced the Unites States. New studies of the Roman Empire have concluded that the Empire did not really collapse like Gibbons framed the story, but it kind of slowly eroded in power and authority over the centuries.

Nations and empires do rise and fall according to most studies, not always done by historians by the way, but by anybody—philosophers, sociologists, priests, and pastors, you and me—curious about how the past is interpreted. How is an immense plethora of facts, names, and dates accumulated by societies over the centuries interpreted? Does it have any bearing on our lives and culture and civilization today?

No one political institution, such as a nation-state, has survived or dominated the geographic space surrounding it, or lands and people on other continents (colonial imperialism), for more than half a millennium or so. They all “rise” and “fall,” some more rapidly than others, like Adolf Hitler’s fascism in Germany (1920s-1945) or the British empire (early seventeenth century until late 1940s), depending on how you date beginnings and ends.

I am working on a book right now set when the Spanish empire in the New World was launched by the voyages of Christopher Columbus in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. More on that subject later, only observing that while the life of Christopher Columbus has not changed, the interpretations have changed from his being a hero of discovery and exploration to a scoundrel who opened the door to the conquest and subjugation of the Indian peoples by the cruel Spaniards. That’s a good example of the changing nature of how we interpret the past.

What bearing does the above have on us, or the U. S.? The question is, of course: Are we still “rising” or the midst of “falling?” I’ve been making a list of many of the things wrong with America. Here are a few: Unless you are totally removed from reality for whatever reason, you and I are living in troubled times. Let’s look at some of them.

  1. Systemic racism (critical race theory). Featuring the “Woke” point of view to explain the “true” reality of the American experience, overriding liberty, freedom of speech, the vote, democracy, and a few other principles
  2. Fatherless families
  3. Border crisis
  4. Police under fire; remove police as protectors of the communities
  5. Massive tax increases (corporate and private rates)
  6. Rioting, looting, and burning in cities
  7. Socialist/Communist agenda among radical Progressives, e.g., Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, AOC, etc.
  8. Lack of personal responsibility; outrageous sense of entitlement, especially among young, free this, free that, free everything
  9. Fear of being critical or honest
  10. Black Lives Matter movement, promoted by true Marxists.
  11. Hypocrisy on a massive scale. BLM founder lobbying for social justice owns four houses, including one worth $1.5.
  12. History being rewritten to suit ideology; trash Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus as old white racists, simply serving their needs and prejudices.
  13. Transexual revolution, boys in girls’ sports (radical feminism) locker rooms
  14. Doddering President Biden, in first stages of Dementia, now called “cognitive abilities.”
  15. The “snowflake” generation and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in higher education, or wanting to have it all, for all, relinquishing personal responsibility, self-control, and a need to work for one’s wellbeing rather than turning to big government.
  16. Teaching racism, sexism, gross expressions of debauchery and pornography in K-12 schools.

     And, to end for now: the question. Are we still “rising” or now, like every empire before us, “falling?” Let’s take it up later since there is an organization now about to appear in Alabama challenging CRT, the Woke culture, DEI in the colleges and universities, and the general degradation of our freedoms (like of speech) and liberties.

Published as “Is the U.S. still rising or falling like empires of old?” in The Tuscaloosa News, Sunday Oct. 23, 2021.

Footnote on the source of the image: https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=AwrJ7FzhZohhijsA.4dXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj?p=images+of+the+fall+of+the+roman+empire&fr=mcafee#id=46&iurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.doctormacro.com%2FImages%2FPosters%2FF%2FPoster%2520-%2520Fall%2520of%2520the%2520Roman%2520Empire%2C%2520The_11.jpg&action=click

Posted in: History, Politics