According to the “royalist” camp of reactionaries, populated by the likes of Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and Kelsey Grammar, all cultures perish sooner or later due to “moral decay,” which they interpret as collective senility, as opposed to their perfect world of Spartan discipline and imperialist-fascist militarism ala the film “Starship Troopers.”
The more dynamic they are, according to this bogus “crisis theory,” the quicker they go. This is what is happening to the American culture, they say with such glee.
Comparing the life of the ancient Greek, Roman, Spanish, Persian and Carthaginian civilizations to America will certainly produce likenesses, but not in the way they intend. Rather, what we see is indeed the collapse of moral fiber not due to decadence per se, but due to the crumbling of the racist-imperialist and settler ideology that gave rise to those empires (including the American one) in the first place. Since the decline of the ideology, the decline of the empire soon follows.
Empires were always unstable things, even back to the tribal, slavery and feudal days. What we are seeing today is no mere “moral decline” because of the hedonistic joys of imperial plunder we as Americans all enjoy, but more like the natural ideological readjustment to a new set of living and working conditions. The ideological superstructure follows the economic base, and the base has been in up-and-down mode since the Great Depression and especially since Reaganomics. The same thing happened during the beginnings of the fall of Rome and leading up to the French Revolution.
In many ways a crisis in this rotten imperial civilization will be positive—a changing of the tides is necessary after 400 years of violence. It will eliminate a great deal of the absurd belief in bourgeois democracy as the bourgeoisie gets more desperate and terrorist in its methods, and it will wash away illusions of religious and economic obscurantism. Regarding current political and social change, I don’t believe there is anything happening that hasn’t already been predicted since the wide application of industrialization and machinery. Certain causes produce determinate effects, and the current outcome has been inevitable since the mid-19th century.
Once upon a time, Marx and Engels were confident in the victory of socialism—nowadays after the triumph of revisionism and counterrevolution in the USSR and Albania, the movement is hanging by a thread and nothing seems certain except the very collapse of capitalism which was to originally bring socialism to the rise. While the former “straight line” development of socialism has been a setback, the latter formula of crisis remains completely unaffected and charges ever onwards with suicidal temper. The crisis inherent in capitalism is astounding. Since the workers are not paid the full value of their labor and thus cannot buy back the products that they themselves produce, it becomes a giant pyramid scheme.