By Jeff Oakes
I am not sure who first coined the expression Pax Americana, but I first heard it in the seventies when I was very young. It did not mean much to me then, but over time the expression began to make sense as an apt descriptor of modern-day America.
This is the first blog on my site and I open with this title because pretty much everything else from here on is related in some way or another to that theme. Why?
For those who are unfamiliar with the expression, it derived from the expression Pax Romana. Around the time of Augustus, Rome adopted this term to describe the realm. It is one of the first examples of the government using a marketing ploy to win hearts, for it means literally, Roman Peace. Of course, when the Roman government propagated the expression, Rome was in any state but peace, but the idea was to promote Rome as a nation both at peace and loving peace. Indeed, in the city and nearby countryside, there was relative peace for most (if we discount the Coliseum and other such arenas), but abroad, Rome was in a constant state of war.
I grew up during the Vietnam Era and I suppose that is why this term stuck in my mind. Indeed, during that time and since, America has been at war either literally or symbolically. That is why I began to study the histories and social structures of the two civilizations and I have come to the same conclusion that many before me have come to: America is the new Rome.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, at least not for those of us privileged enough to be born and live here. Instead, I am simply viewing the matter from the standpoint of historian. For many years, I have been conducting research for a comparative history of Rome and America. The more research I do, the stronger my conviction becomes that both nations are running identical paths to destruction.
Some may chafe at my implication that America will one day fall, but history tells us in very clear terms that all nations fall eventually. To believe otherwise would be egotistical and folly. Will Durant, in his book, The Lessons of History, explains how every nation follows a certain “cycle,” passing from form to form until eventually it is either overthrown from without or collapses from within. He even stated in that book that America had already begun to show signs of collapse. He wrote that book in the late 1960′s. Since that time, much has changed, but the path predicted by Mr. Durant has been right on target. In his book, he explained, based on the lessons of history, what would transpire and how. He has been right all the way.
In 2002 I wrote a thesis on George Washington’s Farewell Address of 1789. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Mr. Washington drew the same conclusions as Will Durante and made the same predictions. Even more startling, the predictions made by our first President are coming true. Was he a prophet?
No. George Washington was just a wise and honest man.
Indeed, wisdom allows a person to see what is going to come if events continue to track the same path as currently tracking and honesty allows one to admit something one would rather not even state.
I do not like long-winded tirades so I am going to end this post here. The point it, I will be as honest and insightful as possible without taking any sides in the issue. This blog will be an honest look at where we are and where we are going if we maintain our present course. It is not intended to critisize, but rather present an honest–just the facts–look at life in our nation.
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