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What do you think will be the downfall of America?(27 posts)

What do you think will be the downfall of America?Kristin
Jun 21, 2002 11:59 AM
I've been thinking of posting this for a few days. I'm not a genius about this stuff by a long shot; but all nations come to an end eventually--except for Israel, which has been destroyed and rebuilt countless times throughout history. I wonder what things will be like 100 years from now. There's so many threats--outsiders who hate us, insiders who hate us, apathy, economic collapse, slow decomposition of our freedoms, loss of balance and control within our government, the media, a war? Sometimes I sit and ponder which, if any, of these things will our undoing. And I wonder if we will have an undoing, or if we will rather evolve into some non-democratice existence. I'm not afraid of our country changing, I fully expect it. It will probably suck; but life goes on. As long as I live the truth I know to my best ability, then I believe I'll be content. (For me that means living for Christ.) I've pondered these things more over the past year than ever before.

For those history buffs, how long do democratic or republic nations (not empires, like Rome) tend to survive? (I'm thinking of nations that did not pursue world dominance.)
Well, democracy is a new thing...Wayne
Jun 21, 2002 12:16 PM
or at least democracy by more than an elite few. You could even argue that true democracy didn't exist in the US until the civil rights acts. We now live in times where in most of the world a military end to a government due to invasion by foriegn powers is almost unheard of, and it certainly ain't going to happen to us. All the things you outline can only happen if there is an economic collapse. As long as people have it good nobody's willing to die for a cause (and are there really causes worth dying for if you have it good), unless they have some real psycho issues, and that's never going to happen for a large enough number of people to threaten government stability. Don't focus on the media, things are absolutely 100% great here, it's just that the media focuses on the bad for sensationalism. If you watch the local news, it's nothing but murders and car wrecks with almost no informational content beyond sports scores and the weather. It's always about the economy until that really goes belly up there's nothing to worry about!
Please, Kristin, not on a Friday....AllisonHayes
Jun 21, 2002 12:27 PM
Just kidding. :)

Wow! Very heavy questions on this board.

The 20th century was America's century; people say the 21st belongs to the Chinese. But, what is democracy? It is an evolving experiment. We were successful (?) on the first try; it took the French at least 5 revolutions to get there and many of our principles of democracy were derived from them. The French revolution overthrew 1300 years of a christian monarchy. All church property was seized and a new bougeouis class was created overnight out of the spoils, not to mention the slaughter (guillotine) of anyone supporting Catholisim.

And to digress further, I just read "Quo Vadis" about the fall of Rome under Nero. What do these fallen nations/empires all have in common? An inability to evolve; repression of classes; restriction of rights. Can the Chinese rise to become the next superpower as predicted? Sheer population will help but it will also take much more.

What will be our downfall? When capitalism thoroughly undermines the principles of democracy. How close are we to that? Maybe closer than I would like to believe...

i In the effort of being brief, I will end it at that...I will let others add to the thread.
too much pluribus, not enough unum. (but i'm optimistic)128
Jun 21, 2002 12:27 PM
High time we made a stand and shook up the views of the common man
And the lovetrain rides from coast to coast
D.J.'s the man we love the most
Could you be, could you be squeaky clean
And smash any hope of democracy ?
As the headline says you're free to choose
There's egg on your face and mud on your shoes
One of these days they're gonna call it the blues
And anything is possible when you're Sowing the Seeds of Love
Anything is possible - Sowing the Seeds of Love
I spy tears in thier eyes
They look to the skies for some kind of divine intervention
Food goes to waste !
So nice to eat, so nice to taste
Politician Grannie with your high ideals
Have you no idea how the Majority feels ?
So without love and a promise land
We're fools to the rules of a Goverment plan
Kick out the style ! Bring back the jam !
Anything...
Sowing the Seeds
The birds and the bees
My girlfriend and me in love
Feel the pain
Talk about it
If you're a worried man - then shout about it
Open hearts - feel about it
Open minds - think about it
Everyone - read about it
Everyone - scream about it !
Everyone
Everyone - read about it, read about it
Read in the books in the crannies and the nooks there are books to read
Chorus !
(Mr. England Sowing the Seeds of Love)
Time to eat all your words
Swallow your pride
Open your eyes
High time we made a stand and shook up the views of the common man
And the lovetrain rides from coast to coast
Every minute of every hour - " I Love a Sunflower "
And I believe in lovepower, Love power, LOVEPOWER !!!
Sowing the Seeds
An end to need
And the Politics of Greed
With love

TEARS FOR FEARS

"Sowing The Seeds Of Love"
Invasion by aliens from outer spacemr_spin
Jun 21, 2002 1:28 PM
Don't overthink this. Things are nowhere near as bad as they might seem. In this age of 24 hour news, it's easy to forget that good news is rarely reported, and normalcy is completely ignored. There have been far worse periods of time during the history of the United States.

Don't confuse the downfall of nations with the downfall of empires. Nations don't typically come and go. Look at England, which has been around as a nation for over 1000 years. England, or more accurately, Great Britain, used to have a worldwide empire that was almost entirely lost after WWII. Where's Britain today? It's still one of the great nations.

On the other hand, there's Poland, which has been partitioned out of existance and restored several times in the last 500 years. When you are a weak nation occupying coveted territory and surrounded by hostile neighbors (Russia, Austria, Prussia/Germany), you don't have a chance. Even today, the only reason Poland exists is because after WWII, the Soviet Union insisted on a "buffer" zone with Germany.

Contrast that with Belgium, which was an invented nation created by the great powers after Napolean's defeat. Two not necessarily friendly nationalities (Flemish and Waloons) were thrust together and told to become a nation. Somehow they did, and survived two invasions with massive destruction and loss of life.

The USA has many things going for it that will ensure it's existance well into the future. First, friendly neighbors in Canada and Mexico. Second, complete isolation from unfriendly neighbors due to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Unless Canada or Mexico turns on us, an enemy army or air force will never attack the United States. Third, a wealth of national resources. Unlike a country like Japan, which has very little natural resources, if the world imposed an embargo, the USA could survive for at least a decade with few changes in consumption, and indefinitely if rationing were imposed.

The great fallen empires of the past, such as Rome, fell because they became too big and unmanageable, cost a fortune to maintain, and finally imploded because of internal corruption in the government.

I think the real reason the USA will never go down is because of the strength of its ideas. I know this might sound corny and naive, but trust me, I'm no unabashed patriot. In fact, people who are too religious and too patriotic scare me! But I am a historian, or at least I have a degree. Anyway, the American form of government is the best in the world. Going way back to the beginning, when George Washington stepped down after his second term, no leader of a bloody revolution had ever voluntarily given up power before. From then on, a bloodless coup has been staged every four years, even during wartime. Think about that for a moment. It's quite amazing. However corrupt we think our politicans are, few if any have given any thought to trying to stage a coup. I'm not sure that's the case in your average Latin American or African nation.

I'm more worried about people like Oliver North, unelected government officials who do things they KNOW are illegal to support their own political agenda. There is nothing I can do about these guys, because they hide behind the government. I'm amazed that so many people regard North as a patriot today. Same thing for Nixon. Nixon did so many things that were illegal, and yet some supporters will literally fight you if you say he was a bad President. I'm convinced that most of the people who support these Machievellian schemers have very little idea what exactly they are doing. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

The US may have internal enemies, but they will have to stage an unbelievably massive effort to overthrow the government. And in the end, it's not worth it. Whatever internal dissention there is, the capacity of the American people to line up and stand firm when the nation is threatened has been proven many times over th
Hmmm...I hadn't considered thatKristin
Jun 21, 2002 2:38 PM
Its the element of surprise which makes the most sucessful campaign.

Thank you for posting all of that. It was very informative and well written--and exactly the type of response I was instigating. I would not have pegged you for a history major. I hope that you will post the rest of your thoughts.

~K
the restmr_spin
Jun 24, 2002 7:09 AM
The rest of my post was so rudely cut off! I forget exactly what I said but I'll try to remember it.

What I was saying was that the capacity of the American people to band together and fight or at least stand firm against the common foe has been proven many times. The obvious examples are Pearl Harbor and 9/11, but there are others. Americans sometimes may seem to hate each other and be at odds with each other, but in the end, they are Americans and will defend America to the end. During WWII, Japanese Americans lost their property and businesses and were interred in camps, yet some still chose to fight in the Army. Despite the horrible history of abuse of African Americans and segregation in the Army at the time, they also signed up to fight. Native Americans, too.

This behavior--defending a country that is mistreating you--isn't easily explained, and I can't think of any examples of it happening anywhere but America. Just look at France. During WWII, there was a civil war of sorts between the Communists and the Gaullists. Amazing. Their country is occupied, and they find reasons to fight each other rather than the enemy. After they were liberated, things really exploded. But that's another story. (Note: this isn't a cheap shot against France and the French - I love France, I used to live there.)

I guess the frontier spirit that built this nation has always given people great hope for the future, even those at the bottom of the heap. It may be bad now, but it will get better, and maybe I can try to make it happen. I'm not sure America is so much the land of opportunity it once was, but the spirit still remains, even as an undercurrent.

Finally, I don't think the world will let America fall. All around the world, nations and people hate America, but if America's existence were ever truly threatened, many of these same countries would help. There are obvious economic reasons, but I think there is something more fundamental that will never be forgotten. The blood of American soldiers, sailors, and airmen has been shed all over the world defending people and nations and freedom, but never in a war of conquest. (Some may disagree about the wars with Mexico and the Spanish-American war.)

I'm not a "love it or leave it type." I'm not naive. I'm not a conservative and I'm not a liberal. I don't think everything America does or everything done in the name of America is right. I think the great freedoms Americans enjoy are the reason for it's success, and I am amazed that certain people (Ashcroft, for instance) are threatened by them. But even there, America has on several occassions constricted freedoms only to later realize it overreacted.

In summary, I can't think of anything except alien invasion that will the downfall of America.
Thoroughly powerful response. You know your stuff. nmLeisure
Jun 23, 2002 4:31 AM
re: The Selling of the romantic concept of Freedom..jrm
Jun 21, 2002 2:11 PM
In order to support the agenda, envy and ego of the status que that runs this country. And a society that feed's on individualism, greed, materialism and excess.
Democracy will be the downfall of AmericaMatno
Jun 21, 2002 5:51 PM
One of the worst things that ever happened to this country was the shift from a Republic (whose founding I believe was inspired by God) to a Democracy. As a Republic, we had significantly more checks and balances to assure that our gov't did not get out of control. As a Democracy, we are only as solid as the moral character of our people, which is rapidly declining. You make a very good point when you say: "As long as I live the truth I know to my best ability, then I believe I'll be content. (For me that means living for Christ.)" The point is that whether our country maintains its greatness or not depends on individuals doing what they think is right.

Sadly, what we're seeing more and more is that there is no right and wrong. Only "what's good for me." Our society has become so individualized that we are suffering collectively. Think about the definition of a "right" and then compare that to the relatively recent surge of "human rights" that have sprung up everywhere. People have gotten so confused that now anything that someone wants is labeled a "right." For example, the prisoner who won a lawsuit against the gov't because his "right" to happiness was violated when they refused to give him crunchy peanut butter. (He didn't like creamy, and the verdict was in the thousands).
Some truth there, but a Republic is not the answer.Leisure
Jun 23, 2002 5:03 AM
That is still fundamentally removing power from the citizen. My feeling about the power of early America's message was inspired more from a people that understood what it meant to be beaten down, controlled, and dealt with unjustly, (under Britain, as it so happens) but were also highly educated and given a clean slate to start something new from (a brand new country and independance). The checks and balances you speak of were a direct result of a deep understanding of the roots of corruption and a sincere desire to stifle it's development in the future. It succeeded back then only because the people in power at the time hated corruption and wanted to create a better way of life; if we were to look at our wealthy and powerful today and ask them to do the same thing everyone would be screwed. Democracy is better. But you hit the heart of it when you note that it is only as good as it's voters. Which is why I believe an educated constituency is of utmost importance to the success of democracy. This must happen on more levels than just the schools, however. It also requires an educated and neutral media that can see through politically motivated statements, and a media who's interest is innately rooted in properly educating the people on facts of the issues. Yeah right, that'll happen. At least it's not as bad as the yellow press of yore.
Aye. You're probably right.Matno
Jun 24, 2002 6:32 PM
A republic would still be plagued by the same sorts of problems. My point was that THIS republic, as originally constituted, was designed to make change hard. Since that time, leaders without that innate distrust of a powerful central gov't have taken it upon themselves to do "what is best for the country" (not hardly) with little regard for checks and balances. Unfortunately, while I would like to blame it on one political party, the fact of the matter is that both major parties have been consistently responsible for eroding the foundation of a freedom preserving gov't. (Perhaps I should join the conspiracy theorists and blame it on the secretive Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) since every single president we have had since it's creation has been a member thereof).

The three branches of our government have all changed so much from what was originally intended that it is almost difficult to see the connection. Administrative agencies and executive orders are virtually limitless, the judiciary has become a law-making body (founded on personal interests), and the legislature is corrupt. The media is greatly to blame for much of the moral & political decline (people believe anything they read or see in the news). My motto is: All people are idiots until proven otherwise in a court of law. (Not really, I am actually quite good at giving people the benefit of the doubt, or at least I was before I moved to the Bronx...) I do believe that this is still by far the greatest country on earth (nowhere else has a standard of living nearly as high). I am indeed proud to be an American.
I should add...Leisure
Jun 24, 2002 10:57 PM
that you're also right to comment on the seemingly declining moral character we have today. In the process of emphasizing the importance of education, I tend to overlook the role of morality, which is just as important and distinctly separate. (I remember going to Cornell being all enthusiastic about how I would be surrounded by people that were educated which somehow equated to having higher ideals, ethics, and therefore morality. Boy did I have a lot to learn.) A teacher at my highschool once commented that technology is growing too fast for our morality. It may not be that our morality is deteriorating as much as technology continues to lump on ever-more complex issues for the average person to know how to handle. We have all these new powers, and we don't know how to wield them, or just find them too easy to abuse. I think there's some truth to that, but also there's the increased stress required to maintain our lifestyles that make people wig out and do stupid or mean things. This is what I think of when you talk about how people just create their own moralities of convenience and everyone else has to give credence to it. Hopefully one day we'll catch up to ourselves. I think it will happen eventually.
America is a republic with democratic electionsKristin
Jun 26, 2002 8:58 AM
It appeared debatable after the last election, but the only thing democratic about America is our elections...right? Our founding principles have never changed. Many new levels have been built; but the foundation is fundamentally the same. You're right about corruption. I think that corruption in politics is seen as a necessary evil. Perhaps people don't agree with it or like it...but I believe most people feel they can do nothing about it. I wonder how long it will be until things erode so much that corruption will be forced out? Or perhaps things have always been that way and will not change. Perhaps George Washington was not so different from all the others? Perhaps, at 32, I'm just now realizing the way things work. I'll never understand how people can be schrewd or deceptive. Its just not in me.

Follow up question: Was there ever a time when the American media acted as a non-biased third-party? Wasn't this the original dream for the press? Did that ever happen? From my perspective, the media is driven by agenda and pushes its agenda onto society with a great degree of success. In this age of knowledge, its easy to feel overwhelmed; and easier still to allow others to do the thinking.

I'll tip my hand a bit here...I'm not unintelligent by any stretch; but I am under-educated. That lack of education and knowledge puts me behind the curve, and leaves me feeling as if I'm hopelessly off-the-back. I know I have the potential to compete; but I lack the muscle to catch up. As I think about this, I wonder about people who are trapped in ghetto's, or who speak no english or are poor. There are a whole ton of people in our nation with very little education. This has got to affect how government operates. A notable portion of society lacks the means to discern agendas and lies.
America does, unfortunately, pursue world dominanceweiwentg
Jun 22, 2002 4:29 AM
domestically, this is presented in a non-overt fashion, but ask a lot of non-Westerners (and MJ). America and American corporations dominate institutions governing world trade and international law. often enough this is RELATIVELY benign. sometimes it is not. people will debate with me on this, but I'm not going to answer that right now. as I said, ask a non-Westerner, preferably a Muslim.
so, I see two outcomes. one, America's downfall happens due to ecological reasons. two, America's downfall happens through social reform - the highly preferable option. BV might disagree with this, but eventually I see the world moving towards a post-capitalist democratic state incorporating socialist and capitalist principles in government. the question for me is whether this happens before or after ecological destruction, which may be overrated, but which probably is not. If I had to bet, I would put my money on 'after', though.
sorry if I sound too pessimistic. my life experience has taught me to be realistic.
America does, unfortunately, pursue world dominanceBikeViking
Jun 22, 2002 7:37 AM
Socialism (dictionary.com)
1. Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.
2. The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved.

Government is incapable of efficiently contributing the the economic well-beiong of a nation. It has a role, but controlling puts too much power in the hands of bureaucrats. Can you imagine how CORRUPT our gov't would be if you gave it that power? It's bad enough NOW. Scialism/communism suppress the individual, that's why they are dying/dead and they'll never succeed.
America does, unfortunately, pursue world dominanceJon Billheimer
Jun 22, 2002 8:08 AM
I'm not a socialist. However, I don't think governments are any more or less corrupt than corporations, all other things, such as absolute power, being equal. Remember the adage, "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Which do you prefer? A corrupt government or Enron? Probably the only countervail here is an informed electorate on the one hand and informed shareholders and consumers on the other. It all brings back the responsibility for the quality of our world to each of us, regardless of what kind of political and economic system we choose to live with.
socialism: definitionweiwentg
Jun 22, 2002 10:13 AM
that may be how dictionary.com defines it, but ask the European socialist-democratic parties and you may get a different answer. socialism isn't necessarily a stage in Marxism. although the first definition isn't incorrect.
socialism is supposed to generate positive freedom - not freedom from wants (negative freedom), but the freedom to self-actualize. Communism is tyrrany, but socialism is not communism, which is a mistake many Americans unfortunately make.
that said, yes, it is true that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. a compromise can be found. in a potential future society, different countries could hold seats in a rotating world government. each state within a country would determine its own laws, but follow a small set of general rules set by international consensus, that would cover welfare issues, labor rights, environmental issues, etc. this is (I think) how the EU does it. I'm just saying this to make you aware of alternatives to present-day, American-style democracy. in reality, this would of course be difficult to apply globally. most Asian countries and Muslim nations are not big on absolute freedom of the press, and even European countries seem to be less liberal in that one regard than the US. everyone has a different concept of what labor protections there should be. in my country, there is no welfare system as there is in the US; we believe that people have to help themselves. on the other hand, health care and education are public institutions, not private ones. and unlike Britain (sorry, Brits) this has not resulted in our health care system deteriorating.
my point is, I guess, that there are a lot of options available to create a more just form of government. and a lot of them are socialist in nature. capitalism is ultimately self-interested. the case can be made about trickle-down benefits, but ask someone in a ghetto (no offense to anyone) and you might get a different answer.
on an aside note, every time I talk about Marx in class, a lot of the White students will give me the 'he's a Chinese Communist Party spy!!! run!!!' look. and I actually get the same reaction from everyone back home. which is a pity, but oh well.
Credit CardsPaulCL
Jun 22, 2002 2:22 PM
Taking an economic downfall point of view.

High personal debt, high corporate debt, high government debt, leads to a stranglehold on our economy. An economic downfall - a prolonged one - will snowball to a radical change in government, cataclismic changes in our way of life, the call for radical change through the appearannce of charismatic individuals (the Hitlers, Mussolini's, Mao, moonies, Barney the dinosaur, etc of history)etc. leading to the downfall of America as we know it.

Or we'll be hit by an asteroid. Paul
won't happenDougSloan
Jun 23, 2002 4:01 PM
I'm think the United States will be fine. If anything, apathy will be the largest problem. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)

Doug
either being a consumer nation or supporting Isreal too much -nmTig
Jun 23, 2002 4:40 PM
DOH! meant "Israel". -nmTig
Jun 23, 2002 4:41 PM
About ten years ago...Leisure
Jun 24, 2002 10:31 PM
I watched a documentary on Nostrodomus. It went over how accurate some of his predictions have turned out to be. You've probably read enough of my posts to figure I'm the science type that doesn't buy into a whole lot of this stuff, but I found the similarities between his predictions and what eventually happened to be pretty freaky.
One prediction that the documentary was saying hadn't happened yet pertained to the beginning of what he called the third great war (WWIII?), which would begin with an attack from a middle-eastern source on a city bearing the longitude and latitude of New York City.
OMIGOD!!! We're all gonna DIE!!!Sintesi
Jun 26, 2002 5:48 AM
Does Nostrodomus say who wins and where we should all move to to avoid be pummelled by the flying debris?

Seriously tho, Was this the program hosted by Orson Welles? i saw a program on Discovery that made hash of that show because of the bad translations/interpretations and the omission of all the bad predictions. However I am intrigued. This will be my Nostrodomus internet research day. : )
I found this cool website. Oh and stay clear of Villanova d'AstiSintesi
Jun 26, 2002 7:04 AM
They have a cool FAQ on Nostradamus and the writer seems pretty sober minded on the subject. Anyways, thought you might like it.

What about the Kennedys and the future nuking of New York?

A. This recent tradition likewise owes much to Erika Cheetham.
Nostradamus does admittedly refer on a number of occasions to 'three
brothers', but in terms that generally suggest that he is actually
talking about the leaders of three allied nations in a future
Muslim/Christian conflict, not a single dynasty. Besides, Edward
hasn't been obliging enough to get himself assassinated yet. Much the
same applies to the alleged nuking of New York. The city is in fact
never named: the widespread tradition (especially popular, curiously
enough, among Americans) derives from VI.97, where a 'grand cite
neufve' on latitude 45 degrees is attacked with fire from the sky.
Since New York city lies well to the south of this, New Yorkers can
sleep soundly in their beds again. The reference is clearly to some
town or city that, like Naples (< Greek 'Neapolis'), is actually NAMED
'New City' (this substitution-procedure is perfectly normal in
Nostradamus): Villanova d'Asti in Italy and Villeneuve-sur-Lot in
France are geographically the best candidates.

Here's the link:
http://www.nostradamus-repository.org/faq.html
What Lat is Indian Head or Three Mile Island???jose_Tex_mex
Jun 28, 2002 7:06 PM
Nostradamus was working with Lats and Longs of the time. The Longs were off as they were based on the Portugeuse Madeira Islands and not Greenwhich. I wonder if there could have been some trouble with Lat's. See my posting below - Greenwich Mean Time vs Madeira Mean Time for references.

As for NYC being "well to the south" of 45 degrees Lat I disagree. The city center is only 5% off. I almost hate to even suggest this. However, what Lat are the nuclear reactors? They are North of the city, only I wonder by how much.
Greenwich Mean Time vs Madeira Islands Mean Timejose_Tex_mex
Jun 28, 2002 6:53 PM
Nostradamus was born in the mid 1500's correct? Portuguese map-maker Pedro Reinel first drew latitude scale on the prime meridian in 1506. This point was NOT Greenwhich.
For the next 300+ years the world calculated longitude from Portuguese islands. Even as their sea-power waned, Portugal's prime meridian remained the world standard until the English achieved dominance during the nineteenth century.

It would appear safe to say that if Nostradamus had predicted a Longitude it would have been on the Potugeuse scale and not our Modern. Thus, one would want to consider this when predicting the city.

If what he said was accurately written down and translated I would be very interested in his work. However, I doubt the accuracy of interpretations - hindsight is 20/20. Who was it that said Nostradamus did for bullsh** what stonehenge did for rocks.

Source: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~feegi/chart2.html