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Why Do Societies Give Up?

Stuart95 Wrote: Feb 14, 2013 11:12 AM
Rep: "When societies conquer others they tend to become too conservative and they crumble." We can parse definitions all day (and probably will), but Rep implies that conservatism causes crumbling societies. But today, liberalism describes big government intrusion into all manner of extra-Constitutional economic and social issues, and conservatism is (supposed to) describe smaller, less-intrusive government. Shoud Rep decide to read Hanson's article, he will see that big, intrusive government accompanied the decline of several notable societies. But we can't prove causation, so if Rep will produce examples of societies that crumbles because they left too much self-determination to the individual, I'm ready to learn.

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, as 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 implode civilization.

One recurring theme seems consistent in Athenian literature on the eve of the city's takeover...