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PostOn Hegemony and Imperial Decay (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA, 01/12/19 4:19 am)
Gary Moore writes:
Ric Mauricio (January 10), in his observations on imperial decay, might find a supporting voice in Toynbee, whose whole deal was that the consolidation of the greatest extent of an empire, in itself, is a sign that its decay is already well begun.
Well, okay. And the earth will be a cold cinder someday. Who could argue with that? The difficulty is in Ric's own specialty, numbers. If the "decay," as seen in thousand-year hindsight, started at, say, the beginning of the Augustan consolidation, then for any given individual there, or their children, or grandchildren, or grandchildren's children, the earth was unlikely to become a cinder that they noticed. Technology makes the world an ever-new riddle--and the speed now makes any assumptions seem old. Three hundred years hence, I'm going to be checking sharply on Ric's impression of a possible rise and fall of China. Speed? In an age that is collapsing even such cultural icons as homophobia, smoking, and mere language translation, might even the word "hegemony" become somehow a musty over-simplification? Probably not. So don't hold me to this, three hundred years hence.
Coming soon: analysis of Trump's Tuesday night (January 8th) wall speech. Short answer: too dismal for words--because not just Trump but all of them, on both sides, are distorting the facts. Should we apply for membership in some more logical species, like the tapeworms or botflies? The slow, fragmentary, painful, illogic-strewn continental rapprochement of Spanish-speaking North America with English-speaking North America may be a historic imperative that will continue to produce surprises. Who would have thought, as recently as 2014, that a wall could even be proposed? In the Mexican Revolution a century ago, as a catastrophically convulsing nation's population dropped by a million, people on the US side of the border sat on rooftops and watched, as an entertaining but contained spectacle, the disastrous battles just over on the Mexican side; there was already some kind of wall, not a material one but dramatically sealing off the chaos (Pancho Villa's saddlebag jerry cans of kerosene at Columbus, New Mexico, only proving the rule). The deeply mystical-seeming differences have now produced another landmark, a few nights ago.
JE comments: In the long term we're all dead, but you and I are going to revisit this topic in three centuries, Gary!