All Empires Die (Including America)

This is not my idea, nor is it a particularly new idea. Unfortunately, as with most of my uniquely constructed ideas, I was not the first one to come up with this either. I mention it here only because its worth thinking about, especially as American has become hyper-nationalistic in the last decade.

All empires eventually grow old and eventually die. They can die violently through a war, or slowly through economic and political decay. You can see this with the great Chinese Dynasties, or the Roman Empire, or the Ottoman Turks, or the Mongol Conquests. Even in our modern times, we have witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union.

That leads to an interesting question: Will the American Empire someday collapse? I don’t mean America’s colonies world-wide, I mean the the continental US. I believe so. I don’t know when, and though it might be an interesting time to live through, I hope it happens well after my death. But like every other Empire, the American Empire, this great continental land mass from Coast to Coast, will eventually break up, have inter-state wars, and slowly come to an end.

In my opinion, it will happen primarily as a war between the federal government and state governments. While there will be “rally around the flag” elements of American-style protestant Christianity, urbanisme vs ruralism, racism and its retarded cousin nativism, its real root cause will be the crippling effects of the national debt on the economy. In short, the federal government will overspend, which will result in excessively high interest rates, a devaluation of the dollar, and possibly inflation. The federal government will install new restrictions and regulations on economic and human behavior in a vain attempt to curb the crisis. This will be interpreted as yet another federal overstep of power. It will initially be met with anger, then protests, then armed resistance of attempts to implement them from locals, then organized militias and finally the state militia, National Guard units, which answer to the governor not the president. The New England states, Northern and Urban states will keep DC and will symbolically be the capital of the US, as the Rome was the capital of the Roman empire. The Southern, Rural and Midwestern states will be disunited.

Okay, enough rant above. The point is, the US like all former empires will eventually grow old and die. So why have this semi religious-like love of the US? I don’t get it.

Book Topics I Want to Write

Here are some book topics I want to write (or see someone else write)

  1. History of Islam in the US
  2. A Snapshot of Muslims in the US (ie, communities and their origins)
  3. History and Modern Exposition of Muslim Ethnic Groups in Former Communist Countries

Given my drive and healthy obsession, I know I could do it too. I just need to do initial research, quit my job and get to it.

Historical Narratives Affect our Views

When I was in high school, I used to take classes on “World Civilizations”. What that really meant was that we studied a detailed history of Western Europe, such as the wars between the French, English and Spain, a history of Rome, an overview of the Greeks, the splits within the Church, and other uniquely Western European lessons. The few times we looked into other parts of the world, it was Egypt under the Pharaohs, maybe China and parts of South America where (again, related to Europe) the Spanish explorers had colonized the land.

Perhaps the course was misnamed. Why is this a big deal? While this seems trivial, one’s view of the historical narrative profoundly affects the conclusions that one derives thereof. And though these conclusions are solely dependent on what part of the world you study, our ignorance leads us to believe that these conclusions are objective and true. Perhaps the most vehemently defended example of this is the separation of “Church and State”, which was codified in the Establishment Clause of the constitution. Consider the following historical narratives and the conclusions that are drawn from it:

During the European “Dark Ages”, the papacy held considerable authority over state affairs. This time was strongly correlated with the worst social problems Europe had ever seen. To list a few, widespread poverty, disease, illiteracy, opposition to scientific inquiry, persecution of the Jews, and many others. Continued scientific development was perceived as hostile to Biblical interpretation of reality and violently opposed. The Dark Ages are regarded as the worst period for Europe. This era was succeeded by the Renaissance, a time when government and intellectual thought were secularized. This was correlated with the greatest advancements and achievements that Europe had seen in the fields of economics, art, science, medicine, and others.

Those who study exclusively Western History might conclude that state-law directed by a religion stunted human development. Conversely, secular governments leads to economic, social and scientific progress. Therefore, it behooves a people to opt for a secular government over one led by a religious institution. In other words, as we Americans call it, the “Separation of Church and State”. Religion is strictly a personal matter. Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. (Mark 12:17)

Now compare this to the Muslim historic experience. When Muslims applied Islamic law to the state, this was correlated with the greatest era of Islamic rule, nostalgically referred to as the “Golden Age of Islam“. Muslims excelled in all areas of human intellectual endeavor, such as philosophy, science and medicine. Islamic intellectual thought never perceived continued scientific developments as conflicting with Islamic belief. Instead, they were an explanation of the way God acts in the universe. This is in sharp contrast to recent developments in the Muslim world, where Islamic law has been replaced with secularism. (It is a wide-spread myth that Muslim-dominated countries adhere to Islamic law. Anyone who has even basic knowledge of Islamic legal principles would immediately recognize that literally all Muslim-majority states are secularist. At best, only some token aspects of the society implement Islamic law ). And in complete opposition to the European experience, the Muslims are now going through their dark ages, with economic stagnation, oppression of women, wars, corruption and countless other social problems.

If this was your historic narrative, you might conclude that the implementation of religious law leads to human progress and success. Therefore, it behooves us to implement religious law in the state. Conversely, secularism is correlated with societal degeneration.

The conclusions of the West and the Muslim world are diametrically opposed, not because one is objectively correct and the other is objectively wrong. The real difference lays in their historical experiences. Unfortunately, we Americans and Westerners in general (of which I am unapologetically one) are profoundly ignorant of the history of other parts of the world. Things we take for granted stem from our uniquely Western historical experience. If we take the time to educate ourselves about the rest of the world regarding their differing presumptions and unique historical narratives, we will gain a better appreciation of why others are the way they are, or even come to question concepts we take for granted.

The above is not only true regarding historical matters, it is also true regarding all aspects of the human experience, such as philosophy, economics, gender dynamics, religion, and more…

Comments? Thoughts?