The Decline and Fall of the Republican Empire

January 13, 2013
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It was a powerful empire while it lasted. Like the Roman Empire, it’s strength depended upon a strong military. During its heydays, the Republican Empire had military bases all over the world; the Republic’s mighty armies fought campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq at great expense and sometimes, with limited success.

Like the Roman Empire, the Republican rule fell under the weight of their own contradictions

It faced no real enemy; in 2012 it fought what could have been an easy victory against an uncumbent president struggling against a poor economy and a disfunctional congress. But it lost, and the loser, Mitt Romney was savaged by his own party just another sign of the growing divisions within the party.

What caused the decline of the Roman Empire? The general consensus amongst historians is that it was a combination of factors: too many wars, over-extension of the army, excessive corruption, outsourcing of industrial production and concentration of wealth within a small ruling class heavily dominated big business. Of course, women had few rights in this male-dominated empire.  There were also environmental problems, due to over-exploitation of natural resources. The church and the state worked hand in glove, after Emperor Constantine declared Christianity as the official religion.

 

The parallels with the Republican Party of today are amazing. just check out some of the core beliefs of the party today:

Glorification of the army and the doctrine of  pre-emptive strikes

Limited gun controls

Expansionism, in the name of spreading democracy

Lower taxes to facilitate growth of big business

Less environmental regulation

Supply side economics -produce more and consume more

Strong religous beliefs, bordering on fundamentalism

The Republican Party is a lobbyists’ delight. Major campaign donors include casino owners, big business and, of course, the all powerful gun lobby.  The shadowy world of lobbying was exposed to public view after the Sandy Hook  massacre. Instead of showing genuine sympathy for the victims,  the National Rifle Association simply dug in its heels, advocating using  more guns to control gun violence. It is using every lobbying weapon in its command to muddy the waters, making sure more restrictive gun laws do not get past the congress.  Significantly, the NRA has been a major fundraiser for Republican candidates.

Will the Republican Party last, or will it just fade away? It is unlikely to disappear, because the US does need a two-party system.Also it has a strong presence in the congress and the majority of State governors are republicans.

However, it may need to reform and get back in touch with the real world. It could do well to follow the Canadian example. The conservatives in this country rule with a gentler touch, governing a little right of centre, avoiding “hot potato” social issues. It does not take extreme positions on social issues and keeps religion in the background. This moderate stance has helped the party survive for the last nine years or so, providing a steady hand at the keel, steering the Canadian steadily forward.

 

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