The Decline of America - History shows that the destruction of affluent societies is often self-induced
Victor Davis Hanson writes on NRO: Why do once-successful societies ossify and decline?Hundreds of reasons have been adduced for the fall of Rome and the end of the Old Regime in 18th-century France. Reasons run from inflation and excessive spending to resource depletion and enemy invasion, when historians attempt to understand the sudden collapse of the Mycenaeans, the Aztecs, and, apparently, the modern Greeks. In literature from Catullus to Edward Gibbon, wealth and leisure — and who gets the most of both — more often than poverty and exhaustion, cause civilization to implode.
The gradual decline of a society is often a self-induced process of trying to meet ever-expanding appetites rather than a physical inability to produce past levels of food and fuel or to maintain adequate defense. Americans have never had safer workplaces or more sophisticated medical care — and never have so many been on disability.
History has shown that a government’s redistribution of shrinking wealth, in preference to a private sector’s creation of new sources of it, can prove more destructive than even the most deadly enemy.