Both see themselves as the center of the world, divinely appointed to lead.

Both have unusual capital cities where government is the main industry.

Both let the private sector exploit public goods.

Both are successful multi-ethnic empires, though with increasingly porous borders.

Both have militaries stretched too thin to maintain imperial power.

Both are unmanageably complex.

How is the United States unlike Rome?

The U.S. is a socially mobile, middle-class democracy; Rome was a rigid aristocracy.

Americans are reluctant to be an empire; Romans accepted it.

Rome was economically static; America is economically transformative.

Romans were self-satisfied by nature; Americans strive for improvement.

Romans committed to ruthless perseverance; Americans lack staying power.

How can we avoid Rome’s fate?

Accept that change is inevitable and that adaptation is necessary.

Instill an appreciation of the wider world.

Stop treating government as a necessary evil.

Fortify the institutions that promote assimilation.

Take some weight off the military.

– Rod Dreher


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