Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Danish Model

Think Positive!

That’s the motto that comes up from time to time in 910 Group discussions. We need a proactive and positive agenda, and not just “How can we counter CAIR effectively?” or “Islam is evil!”

Whenever someone solicits suggestions for a positive meme, I answer with one word:

DenmarkDENMARK.

The Danes are light-years ahead of the rest of the West when it comes to dealing with Islam, multiculturalism, mass immigration from the Third World, and all the other issues that generate PC plaque and clog the arteries of the body politic.

Everyone knows the “Swedish Model”: the perfect prototype of the Socialist state, the folkhemmet, the Home that everyone longs for, the all-encompassing cradle-to-grave welfare system, the warm and inviting Scandinavian womb.

But Sweden has morphed from a Utopia to a Dystopia in just two generations. It has become a soft totalitarian state in which dissent, rather than being silenced, is simply never voiced. The Swedish social fabric is disintegrating in the face of a sclerotic high-tax welfare state coupled with a flood of unassimilated third world immigrants, but the Swedes fastidiously avert their glance. In another generation Sweden is likely to join the ranks of failed states.

The Danes may have to dynamite the Øresund Bridge from København to Malmø in order to avoid infection by the Swedish Disease. But I’m sure they’ll do whatever is necessary…

Øresund Bridge from København  to Malmø

So let’s look at the “Danish Model” instead.

Queen Margrethe has written a book in which she demands that immigrants to Denmark assimilate. She insists that Danish cultural values are important, and that newcomers must adopt them if they want to become Danes.

The Danish system of jurisprudence now charges and convicts the entire family of anyone who commits an “honor killing”. The extended family of a wayward Muslim girl usually selects a teenage boy to carry out the deed, precisely because minors are treated relatively lightly by the Danish courts. Now the boy’s father, mother, uncles, and brothers face hard prison time for his violent act. This revolutionary method is timely, effective, and appropriate — and hell will freeze over before the same practice is adopted in Britain or the United States.

The Danes have tightened immigration rules so that the flood of illiterate Muslims from the Middle East and Africa has been reduced to a trickle. Some Islamic radicals are being deported, and others are leaving voluntarily in order to escape the newly unfavorable climate in their adopted home. At the same time, the number of well-educated and hard-working immigrants arriving in Denmark has increased — and, needless to say, most of these productive newcomers are not Muslims.

And now consider the story of Karen Jespersen. Zonka tells her story:

Karen Jespersen started out in Women’s Liberation, then joined Venstresocialisterne (hardcore socialists), then later joined the Social Democrats, where she became first Minister of Social Affairs from 1993 until 2000, and then Minister of the Interior for a year until the fall of the Social Democratic government.

So Ms. Jespersen is your common-or-garden European socialist, ready to run your life and take your cash, right?

Well, not quite:
- - - - - - - - - -
In the last couple of years she came under intense fire from the left-leaning faction of the Social Democrats for being a heartless hardliner, because she tried to stem the tide of the very open immigration policy, and for trying to impose strict measures against criminal immigrants, earning her the nickname “Island-Karen”, because she suggested that criminal immigrants be isolated on an uninhabited island.

Oh-oh. That’s doubleplusungood behavior, to speak ill of immigrants!

But it gets worse — in the end she realized:

that the Social Democrats could not be trusted to keep a strict immigration policy, despite their word to the contrary… So it came as no surprise that she left first the parliament, and then finally in October 2006, resigned from the party, having abandoned all hope that the Social Democrats could be trusted on the immigration issue should they regain power after the next election. Today it was announced that she has joined Venstre…

Venstre is the party of the current Danish government. It is the party of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Prime Minister, that is, the man who stood up to the rampaging Muslims during last year’s Motoon crisis. Ms. Jespersen has recently announced her support for the Prime Minister.

As a rough equivalent, imagine that Nancy Pelosi spoke out against radical Islam and open borders, quit the Democrats, joined the Republicans, and announced her support of George W. Bush.

Yes, I know. It burns out all your cyber-circuits when you try to think about it, doesn’t it?

It definitely can’t happen here.

Ms. Jespersen, in collaboration with her husband, Ralf Pittelkow, has written a book entitled Islamists and Naïvists. According to an article in The International Herald Tribune from last September:

Ralf Pittelkow and Karen Jespersen “Islamists and Naivists,” by Karen Jespersen and Ralf Pittelkow, …is causing a sensation in Denmark — in part because the authors are establishment figures previously known for their progressive attitudes toward Islam and integration.

The book is also gaining notice because Denmark, a country celebrated for its fairy tales, is on the front line of the culture wars between Islam and the West following publication in a Danish newspaper late last year of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad.

The book’s main argument is that Europeans who ignore the threat posed by Islamists belong to a new and dangerous tribe of “naivists,” a term coined by the authors. This may not sound so radical at a time when the pope has upset the Islamic world by quoting a medieval passage calling Islam “evil and inhuman” and when Islamic terrorist plots have put Europe on edge.

But the book also equates Islamic fundamentalists with Nazis and Communists — a provocative stand on the heels of the cartoon crisis, which strengthened a backlash against immigrants that was already brewing here.

Remember: George W. Bush caved into Saudi pressure and retracted the term “Islamofascist” as a description of the enemy we face. But in Denmark the Socialists are proclaiming it.

“The threat is that the Islamists and their values are gaining ground in Europe, especially among the younger generation,” [Pittelkow] said in an interview. “They try to interfere in people’s lives, telling them what to wear, what to eat, what to think and what to believe. They warn Muslims to create their own societies within Europe or risk disappearing like salt in water.”

Muslim leaders here have denounced the book, accusing Pittelkow and Jespersen of giving Muslim-bashing a respectable face in Denmark, a country that views itself as a tolerant and open society.

Well, then, you know they must be doing something right.

Pittelkow says that Denmark’s cherished openness is under attack by Islamists due to a clash of values epitomized by the cartoons. He argues that Islamic radicalism nearly triumphed during the crisis because many editors and political figures in Denmark and elsewhere accepted Islamic arguments that publishing the caricatures was an affront to Islam, turning their backs on free speech.

“The mixture of political correctness and fear all too often leads to compliance with Islamism,” Pittelkow writes in the book. “The fatal mistake of the naivists was to cave into demands for Islamic-style censorship.”

All across the rest of Europe governments are caving in and engaging in PC self-censorship to appease their angry imams. But not in Denmark.

And here’s the punch line:

“Denmark and the rest of Europe need to integrate their existing Muslim communities,” Pittelkow said. “Multiculturalism has gone too far.”

Multiculturalism has gone too far. Amen, Brother!

The Danes have successfully bridged the gap between Left and Right on the issue of Islam. They’re by no means unanimous, but a general agreement is developing across the broad center of Danish society about what needs to be done.

The Danish model is a simple one; it’s not hard to understand. Yet no other Western country seems to be anywhere close to adopting it. Why?

The Danes are a lot like Americans or Britons. They are open-minded, tolerant, and revere freedom of speech. They value the rule of law and cherish their traditional institutions. Above all, they have a great sense of humor.

Yet we’re more likely to re-establish public flogging than we are to take up the Danish model.

If I ever figure out the reason for the chasm between Denmark and the rest of us, I might be well on the way to finding an effective strategy for the Counterjihad.

Something is rotten everywhere but in Denmark.


The hat tip for this topic goes to Zonka, and to Steen for the IHT article. As far as I know, none of the photos was taken by Steen, but if I’m wrong, I’m sure he’ll tell me.

48 comments:

Zerosumgame said...

This leads me back to the very first post (I think) that I made on this blog.

This is all wonderful, until you realize that Denmark, being a nation of 5 million in a continent of 400+ million, can not have much impact by itself, and I do not see Germany, Sweden, Norway, France, Belgium or the Netherlands being won over; they are too far gone and have surrendered to Islam (and yes, I include Holland in that bunch, too.)

As Islam takes hold on these surrounding nations, how will a defiant Denmark survive what will almost certainly follow: trade sanctions and boycotts, non-stop vilification by an increasingly Islamic media, and ultimately, Islamofascist terrorist attacks.

Kudos to Denmark if they can continue like this, but they will find themselves soon isolated like Israel (admittedly without the fierce, violent anti-Semitism that makes hatred of Israel so much more fanatic and irreversible).

I suggest Denmark start building up its military, fast.

And a few nuclear weapons for insurance might not hurt either.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Australia is not doing bdly either.

Besides Zero, Germany is far from dead yet. Just sleeping.

USpace said...

Very good news, hopefully these actions by Denmark will educate and inspire other Europeans to pressure their governments to start by admitting there is a big problem which is getting worse. Denmark needed to take drastic action, hopefully they will keep it up.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
don't wake the sheep...
.

Witch-king of Angmar said...

If I ever figure out the reason for the chasm between Denmark and the rest of us, I might be well on the way to finding an effective strategy for the Counterjihad.

Well the Americans are 300 million, the Britons are 50 million and both have nukes. The Danes are only 5 million and nuke-free. I believe they somehow realized that they would disappear as a nation at the rate they were going. Americans and Britons are still complacent because of sheer numbers of them an military might.

anti-uffe said...

Oh, uh, blush blush, you're too kind :-). Really, while we may distinguish ourselves comparatively speaking, this says more about the sad state of affairs and the conspiracy of silence in most of the rest of the world.

Reading blogs such as this I am constantly shocked by the intimidation and harrassment critics of Islam face by their authorities. We are probably less intimidated, it's true. However, we too as a nation are sharply divided by this issue, the majority (I'd estimate) believing that "dialogue" and speaking nicely is what it takes.

We too will suffer the long term consequences as pointed out by Zerosumgame. At best, we will make others follow our example.

skidget said...

Whilst Australia isn't doing too badly, peackeeper, there are still some signs of complancency - two pastors have been charged with racial and religious vilification after comments they made about Muslims, La Trobe university has rearranged its toilets for Muslims, and hardline radical islamist imams continue to preach freely in mosques, including sheik Hilali, Australia's "Grand Mufti" who famously (or infamously) compared women to uncovered meat, and another imam who called for child matyrs for jihad, and has not yet been charged with incitement to commit terrorism (or for that matter racial vilification for his comments about Jews, who are a race, or child abuse for his suggestions about raising children to kill themselves).

The national government's rhetoric is encouraging, as is the attitude of the general population, but their are still those who drag their feet.

Archonix said...

One thing that hasn't been noted on this blog before now, but which you might be encouraged by, is that the various Scandanavian nations don't like being the odd one out. Sweden and Denmark have a rivalry as old as that between Britain and France but, at the same time, they like to ape each other in ways that might appear surprising.

Again, I don't think it's even remotely fair to dismiss huge swathes of the continent as "too far gone", because it simply isn't true. It appears that way because you get a one-sided impression of the place, but that isn't the reality. Sweden may well be closer to following this "Danish Model" than you all realise.

Kim Hartveld said...

Denmark is simply a great country and I've visited it many times. And the Danes are a great people. Being Dutch, many of my countrymen, having been to Denmark for their first visit, will invariably comment: "Denmark is what we wish Holland would be."
I can't wait to go back and sip a Gammel Dansk in some sømandscafé.

D.K. Shideler said...

The Danish Model arose only after the Mo-Toon outrage. it seems to me that the Danes were shocked to find their ensign suddenly torched on the streets of Gaza, and elsewhere, and their peace-keepers called out as specific targets of murder and violence. That over-reaction for an act which could hardly be considered offensive by even the most inane led to the Danes' response.

That being said, here in America we expect our flag to be torched on "Arab Street" pretty much every day. And because America is more aggressively involved in world affairs, (because as a nation of 300 million, powerful GNP, technologically advanced military, etc, etc, etc.)there are more opportunities for apologists to say "We did something to cause this."

But as far as the need to develop a left-right, "popular front" (for lack of a better term) against Islamist expansionism, that part of the Danish model is a necessary step everywhere.

Phanarath said...

Following Zerosumgames scenario. I think a few things will happen before Denmark is isolated with Ummah all around her.
The cultural radical academian elite may talk the talk, but they will most certainly not walk the walk.

They will not live in a Muslim dominated area, they leave that to others who cant pick and chose. They will not let their children go to a school with a majority of muslims or have their daughters called whores and treated worse.

Close to where I live lies the first school in the country with no ethnic Danes among the pupils. Its not because there are no ethnic Danes in the area, there are, and I am sure that many of those voted for emigrant friendly parties. But after the ethnic Danes became a minority there, people began to find other schools more interesting. It seems that tolerance for some people, is a whole lot easier, when other peoples children are paying the price

So as the areas grow, where sharia inspired dress codes are enforced by rock trowing teenagers, the culture radicals will run to places where their Utopian fantasies can remain undisturbed and intact. There will be enclaves that will become more and more defensive. Should a country go down all together, people will flee to other countries and those countries will become more defensive.

At the moment most culture radicals are in dreamland, only keeping themselves semi-awake by demonising evil nationalist liberals or conservatives. But when sharia comes knocking, political correctness will not be there to answer the door.

Translation to American:

Liberal = Champions of smaller state and free markets.

Culture Radical = Liberal in the American sense.


When the enclaves start to form, we will become a lot more aware of our own culture and appreciating it will no longer be seen as a nasty crime. There will arise a great sense of pride and togetherness. Things that separated us before will ether be forgotten or become a source of fascination. The scar from the iron curtain will heal and a new golden age will begin for all the free nations of Europe.

YEAH BABY

Marian - CZ said...

Hi all,

(this is my first comment on Blogger ever. Please be patient with me).

As I come from the Czech republic, which is, in size, quite similar to Denmark, I would like to drop my 2 cents regarding smaller European nations.

It seems to me that smaller European nations, especially those which live close to a much more powerful country, are definitely less multicultural and more proud of their heritage; this is definitely true of the western and southern Slavic nations, which have for centuries sustained their bare existence against German and Turkish empires, and I believe the same applies to Denmark, which is very uncomfortably placed next to Germany and the North Sea, once a big pool for the British Navy, so being essentially caught between those two powers. Also Ireland and Portugal seem to have higher level of patriotism due to the proximity of the English and Spanish.

A big exception is Belgium in general, perhaps because it is an artificial nation. But the Flemish population is definitely very patriotic, though not with respect to Brussels.

Also, the political trends in smaller countries tend to change faster than in behemoths like US or UK. The population is relatively small, which often, though not always, means that the politicians are in better contact with their voters. And small geographical distances make the situation distinct too. A MP in Czechia can visit the constituency in 2-4 hour drive, and often less, and it is actually done every week. This would be a problem for American congressmen.

And, last but not least, smaller countries have more diverse political spectrums. If some critical issue is ignored by the mainstream, often a new party will emerge just around that issue. Honestly, I cannot imagine the 2-party system myself.

---------------

As for the Germans, I wouldn't write them off yet. They have done a better job assimilating their Turks than the French and the British with the Arabs. Actually, most Turkish girls that walk the streets of Berlin or Dresden do not wear a headscarf, let alone something bigger. Some German Turks even keep pet dogs and walk them in the evening. Well, anecdotal evidence, but the contrast with London is still striking.

Also, the Germans are very methodic when it comes to enforcement of law. They take a long time to decide, because the country is big and the structure of the federation is deliberately quite complicated (to prevent abuse of law), but once they decide to do something, they probably will, and without exceptions. And a lot of Germans actually think that there is too much Islam in Germany already. I believe that should a successful terrorist attack happen on German soil, the reaction would be quite swift and probably more austere than in times of the Red Army Faction.

Phanarath said...

Marian - CZ

No Patience was needet. That was a great post. Completely agree with everything.

anti-uffe said...

"When the enclaves start to form, we will become a lot more aware of our own culture and appreciating it will no longer be seen as a nasty crime. There will arise a great sense of pride and togetherness."

Phanarath, I wish this were true, but look around you and tell me where you see any signs of this phenomenon taking hold.

France? Carbeques hardly get reported, certainly not as a major news item. No-go-zones spreading like ... like ... is not causing the general public to rise. Dhimmi politicians on both ends of the spectrum vie for the vote, with only the odd protest vote blemishing the halleluja consensus. The general public meekly accept an increased level of threat of physical violence. Hate speech legislation is enough to shut whatever opposition up. Like lambs to the slaughter meekly we walk.

For us Danes, I can only conclude by looking at Malmø or Paris etc. that things will get much, much worse before anything happens. If anything but self chosen conversion, death or dhimmitude happens, that is.

mellivora said...

While collective punishments (punishing a whole community for perpetration of one) do not have place in the Western judicial system, assistance to crime certainly has.

In my opinion sentencing the whole family from assistance to murder on such honorary killing cases is exactly the signal the Muslims understand. It is a signal the Western judicial system does have teeth (while it prefers to keep them hidden) and there is no use trying to find loopholes by hiring some underage punk to do the dirty work.

That is a very hyggelig solution for the problem. Simple, neat and clean-cut as Dannebrog.

Phanarath said...

Anti-Uffe

I see signs everywhere I go. When I talk to the man in the local store. When I pass people in the street or talk to someone at a bus stop.

Try to think back 10 or 15 years and compare to now. Danes have become more trusting towards fellow Danes, more friendly and accepting. 10 to 15 years ago there where Danes who would bully other people. You hardly ever see that any more. Bullyness have become a "muslim thing" Brian & Jonny are now Mohammed and Mustaffa.

What I am saying is based on feelings and "anecdotal evidence" - I just learned this great term from Marian - CZ :-)

Basicly what it comes down to, is that this is what I believe will happen. In a way its a worst case scenario. I was trying to follow Zeros way of thinking. But I do think it will get worse before it gets better.

France and England are burdened in this by colonial history. Sweden is also a little special in the way that most of the trouble with muslims is going on in the old Danish areas and most Swedes know by now that Danes are racist svine. So maybe they are not so willing to listen to complaints about this in Stockholm.

Papa Bear said...

The creed of Marxism is "From each according to their ability - to each according to their need"

Socialism collapses when the needs of the "needy" exceeds the productive capacity of those with ability. And the collapse is not pretty, as the Romans discovered when their "bread and circuses" welfare state could no longer defend the Empire

The Socialists are starting to recognize that socialism is not viable if hordes of unproductive mouths enter the country, to consume without producing. It does not take much smarts for ordinary people to recognize that their retirement will not be viable if the welfare state also has to support all these immigrants.

The civil war will erupt when those who work decide to refuse to support those who won't

mellivora said...

Papa Bear, actually the reason why the Roman economy collapsed was not welfare state. It was because it was unhealthy from beginning.

The Roman economy was based solely on loot and conquest and redivision of existing fortune - Rome had no production industry. Its production was based on slavery. Rome had no real middle class with no purchasing power, and since the slaves were not paid, there was no flexibility from working class to middle class. As the unpaid slave work ousted small farmers out of business, there really was nowhere to go - without bribing the vast unemployment masses with panem et circenses, the Roman state would have collapsed already 150 AD at the end of the conquest period.

Roman economy was nothing but Raubwirtschaft - the Byzantine Empire survived because it flunked slavery, turned productive and had its economy in shape. Yet there were the Hippodrome races at Constantinople too.

Of course, 300 years of defensive warfare with no chances of loot, taking slaves and attempting to save what saveable is must have also carved their own nick on the Roman economy.

But the very same phenomenon - collapse of Raubwirtschaft - occurred when the expansion of the Arabic Empire came to halt in the 10th century. Like the Roman economy, also Arabic economy was based on loot, taxation, slave trade and redistribution of existing wealth. Once this process halted, the Arab empire came to its end - sorry, no panem et circenses in Mecca.

Birkebeinr said...

I think Panarath´s and Marian comments is absolutely right on. Also a very good point about Americans calling their socialists liberals. The constitution of the United States is supposed to be liberal and the Norwegian one is largely based upon it. Funny how the Soviet was defeated by USA and NATO - United Socialist America and North Atlantic Trotskist Organisation.
Anyhow...

The ways certain immigrant nationalities behave them selves is getting very well noticed among younger people living in the few big cities of our small european countries. The backwardness of some immigrant groups makes us, post 68 generation, really appricate the rich, elaborate and deeply foundated culture we are born into.
Even left-radical "blitz" kids are getting bored with freeloaders taking advantage of their hospitality. Somali menfolk deserve their infamous reputation. And as violence and rape goes on and on, ingrate immigrants should curse themselves for never bothering to heed this

Forth shall one go, nor stay as a guest
In a single spot forever;
Love becomes loathing if long one sits
By the hearth in another's home.

A guest can never be a cherised member of the family and the household if he does´nt contribute.

Lots of able bodied, newly arrived, western world citizens will gladly live their life as welfare tourist. To parasite the north western welfare states might be good business for a while but in the long run run it will corrupt the system and ironicaly lead to it´s demise. Everyone have realised that the many islamists will do their thing regardless of native culture and such petty things.It is an extremely stupid position to take when one knows which things usualy happens in Europe during times of recessions.
I would´nt like to be a muslim in Sweden The swedes are getting angrier each day and they´re almost out of jews. So the ancient European tradition of pogroms got to go. The muslims are playing every card in the deck already so it will be the story of the nasty boy who cried wolf to many times. I´m sure that people will be surprised to see the south rise again. South Sweden at least...

David M said...

bprTrackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 02/07/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

Voltaire said...

Mellivora,

Your "understanding" of Roman history appears to be as lopsided as your graps of Second Amendment philosophy. ;-)

There is so much wrong information in the few lines you have penned that I don't even know where to start to answer you point by point (also b/c this thread is about something else).

Just consider that this fundamentally "unhealthy" city prospered for the better part of one thousand years, and that commerce, agriculture, mining, shipping, science, excellent standards of living and a very refined political system (so equitable for the time that much of it is still the basis for Euro-American laws) is what kept it going, not looting and slavery.

Sure, slavery existed, but to state that Rome's enduring fortune was based primarily on it is as simplistic and PC as saying that America's prosperity was due to slavery until the 1860 and is due to illegal immigration now.

It's become fashionable to spit on Rome--one of the pillars of our civilization--and downplay its immense achievements in favor of the "original sins" of slavery and colonization, which you seem to buy lock, stock and barrel (sorry abut the gun reference...).

Jason_Pappas said...

“The Danish Model arose only after the Mo-Toon outrage”. - D.K. Shideler

Au Contraire! I blogged about one notable Dane in April 2005 but didn’t realize the full resilience of the Danish people.

I vaguely remember the Danes’ rejection of a unified currency, back in 1992 I think, set back the cause for a decade.

For Europe it is clearly: Denmark the model.

Bravo!

gun-totin-wacko said...

I love hearing from our European friends! That's the best thing about GoV.

Here's the question I have: What do people across the Pond think will happen when Europe truly "Wakes up? Somebody recently had a review of Steyn's "America Alone", and compared it to another book which predicted that Europe will catch fire again, as it has in the past, and solve the Islamic Problem. Bearing in mind that Europe is the home of the "Final Solution", the reviewer commented that it's scary to think that this book is optimistic, compared to Steyn.

So what will it be? Expulsion, etc; genocide; civil war; or will Germany (for instance) awaken and then decide to "spread the Truth" to her neighbors again?

In any case, 3 cheers for Denmark!

Kirk Parker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kirk Parker said...

"Somali menfolk deserve their infamous reputation."

Not in the US, they don't--they drive all the taxis in the Twin Cities, and move all the luggage around at MSP--i.e. they're for the most part productive workers just like other immigrants. And though there is that little dispute about taxis and alcohol at MSP, if you read the linked article you'll see that quite a few of them consider the controversy the product of outside provocateurs.

In general, we do a pretty good job of letting immigrants assimilate (or pushing them, though we could certainly do more if unshackled from our PC-ness.)

gun-totin-wacko said...

Kirk,

Wow! Immigrants assimilate where you are? I'm impressed. Here in MI, we have storefront signs in Arabic and Spanish, and people that insist on conducting all business in their native tongue. Most of them don't seem to bother learning English, or adopting to American culture. How fortunate you are!

USpace said...

Go Denmark! Help Sweden! Merci!

absurd tanken -
Gud om Universum hoppas
Europa ge sig.

hata din stolt Kristen kultur
klandra dig och rättvis ge upp



absurd thought -
God of the Universe hopes
Europe surrenders...

hate your proud Christian culture
blame yourself and just give up
.

mellivora said...

Voltaire, those aren't mine thoughts alone, they are shared also by Arnold Toynbee and most other modern historians. The Roman Empire, just like the Arab Empire, was doomed from the start.

The problem with slavery was that it completely ousted away paid work. Since slavery is not paid, it does not create a middle class of skilled, well-paid workers and small enterpreneurs. Likewise, great estates, latifundiae completely strangled small farms to extinction. The small farmers and shop workers left unemployed simply had no way out and they just swelled the ranks of the unemployed proletariat. Bread and circuses wasn't the cause, it was the consequence. Without keeping the unemployed masses pacified the empire would have collapsed into chaos already during the Marian period.

The Roman economy worked just as long as the Roman empire expanded. There were loot, slaves, gold and taxes to extort, but there were no exports and no productive industry. Once the cash flow terminated (nothing any more to loot), the empire experienced deflation, which was attempted to counter by inflation - worsening the money. It was like fighting an acid spill with lye. The result was a rapid collapse of the empire - or rather, the western part of the empire, since the Eastern survived for another 1100 years.

Raubwirtschaft (literally "plunder economy") can and will produce excellent results as long as the empire is on expansion. That is exactly the case with the Arab empire as well, which was fundamentally an "unhealthy" empire. Yet the Arab empire prospered for the better part of three hundred years, and flourished with commerce, agriculture, mining, shipping, science and excellent standards of living. Yet it collapsed about as quickly as it arose. The reasons are the same with the Roman empire - it was doomed from the start. It too was based on looting and slavery - looting and slavery produced excellent living as long as there was loot to extort and slaves to do the work for the haves, and something to keep the have-nots in control.

Why did the Eastern Roman Empire survive for the better part of another thousand years, and produce commerce, agriculture, mining, shipping, science, excellent standards of living and a very refined political system (so equitable for the time that much of it is still the basis for Euro-American laws - it is Corpus Iuris Civilis, not Lex XII Tabulae, which is the basis of Romano-German jurisdiction) ? It is because the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) economical basis was healthy. Abolition of slavery along with thorough Christianization and feudal economy helped to create a steady basis for the state. Likewise, production of silk and other export industry provided steady cash flow - the Byzantine economy didn't rely on solely on mines and loot. That is also the reason - the unemployed masses found employment in productive industry and trade - why the Byzantine Empire never was so cruelly divided into haves and have-nots, and there never was the mass unemployment as in Roman (and Arab) empires.

The Western Roman empire collapsed on itself - its economical basis was unhealthy and it was doomed from the start. The Eastern Roman empire endured for another 1100 years and was conquered violently by enemies at all fronts. This is something to think about.

We Westerners nowadays know why the Western Roman Empire collapsed and Eastern Roman survived - it was all about productivity and economy. The Muslims refuse to realize why their very own cherished Arab empire collapsed and why the collapse was so quick and so thorough.

mellivora said...

Voltaire, the bad thing on slavery and imperialism isn't that they were morally wrong or sinful. The bad thing is that they are disastrous to the economy in the long run.

When inspecting the American economy, the same process as with the Roman economy was already going on in the South - slave work ousting away paid work and creating proletariat. The white populace of South was starkly polarized into Southern gentlemen and white trash, with little to speak of middle class. In contrast, the production industry in the North was based on free, paid, workforce - and the North was industrialized rapidly with middle class emerging. Nothing similar happened in South before the ACW.

The circle of slavery is especially vicious. When work is cheap, it is frittered, and when workforce is free, there is no incentive on investing on productivity. Because of slavery, no productive industry arose neither in Rome, Arab empire or Confederate. The Romans invented all the devices pre-requisite for the Industrial Revolution - but no industrial revolution occurred since there simply was no need for increase in productivity, slave work was so cheap it was wasted. Only when work is expensive, there is a need for increasing the productivity - prompting to invention, discovery and innovation. Societies based on slavery may stagnate for centuries, perhaps millennia, on the level once achieved and not develop any further.

If the American Civil War had degenerated into war of attrition, the South would have been doomed. It would simply have gone bankrupt - just as the Roman and Arab empires did. In a sense it was luck of the South it was conquered by military - the Confederate wasn't milked dry and bankrupted so badly than it would have been in a prolonged war of attrition. South rose quickly, this time just like North as work had now price and there was incentive for productivity.

It must be remembered Rome didn't collapse AD 395 or AD 476. It was just the Western empire which collapsed - its fate was inevitable and it was doomed from start. West had gone to decline already on 3rd century and become nothing but a degenerate rudiment. The true Roman empire was the Eastern Empire - the Byzantine empire - which outlasted the original unified state and was finished only 1453 - or 1461 when the Empire of Trapetzunt fell. It was not the Islamic Arabs but the Christian Byzantines who preserved the Romano-Greekish-Christian heritage and culture through the Dark Ages and formed the basis for the rise of the West in the High Middle Ages. There wasn't no "gap" between Roman Empire and Renaissance, but a continuum of the Roman Empire as Byzantine Empire straight through the Dark Ages and High Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It wasn't just re-finding the Roman Empire and its heritage but transfer of the Byzantine heritage from the militarily doomed Eastern Empire to the arising West.

Nothing similar has happened with the Arab empire - once it collapsed, there has been no renaissance as nothing remained from the original splendour of the Caliphate and its civilization once it went bankrupt. Likewise, there never will be any Arab renaissance or revival of Arab civilization - there is nothing to revive any more, no "Arab Byzantine" empire to preserve the heritage.

anti-uffe said...

"So what will it be? Expulsion, etc; genocide; civil war"

I believe it will be a slow genocide against us. Faced with increasing demands from the growing Muslim minority, Europeans will cede ground in the name of "tolerance" and "diversity." First, compulsory niqab in certain city areas and separate sharia courts dealing with family matters. Targeted violence against critics of islamization will make opposition increasingly risky. Slowly, slowly, as the demographics shift, Europeans will find themselves up against the wall. A new generation will grow up who have never experiences the freedom we have taken for granted. Somewhere down the line, perhaps in decades, we will find ourselves in a situation similar to e.g. the Copts of Egypt. Urban warfare may take place locally, but as to the Europeans rising up and fighting for their way of life, no, I don't see that.

mellivora said...

Anti-uffe, the key of survival is to know your enemy and to exploit his weaknesses.

The Muslims are strongly opposed to usury and they are not too business-oriented - banking as we know it is naujubillah for true Muslims. The direct consequence of that is that big business in the Muslim countries is staunchly on the hands of Christians and Jews - the People of the Book get their revenge in economical ways, and money buys you priviledges and protection.

Jason_Pappas said...

Voltaire is closer to the truth. Consider what you say here, Mellivora:

The Roman economy worked just as long as the Roman empire expanded.

This is just not true. It expanded continuously when Rome was a Republic. When Augustus came to power and created an Imperial rule, he immediately cut the military in half. There was some minor cases of expansion but Rome entered in the phase which is called the Pax Romana. The next 250 years we’re saw general stability punctuated with the excesses of some Emperors. It was the end of this period that Edward Gibbon, writing in the 18th century, says:

“If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world, during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus.”

Fellow Peacekeeper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fellow Peacekeeper said...

...perhaps in decades, we will find ourselves in a situation similar to e.g. the Copts of Egypt.

Aye, though no need to go so far. The Serbs were a clear majority in Kosovo in the 18th century, to ~10% in 1998, and <5% now. Notably, the total Serb population stayed the same while becoming a smaller proportion, while the Muslim population exploded (8+ children per family - average)

gun-totin-wacko said...

Actually, I guess I should have been clearer. The author in question felt that it was the Europeans that would rise up and (possibly) commit genocide against the "outsiders".

gun-totin-wacko said...

Rather that it "would be". Must be correct. That's what happens when typing in haste.

mellivora said...

Jason Pappas, you forget I've read military history and what I said about the Roman Empire, is true.

First, the Roman Empire experienced a continuous expansion from Marian period to Trajan. The reason why Augustine cut the military in half was the civil wars which had strifed the empire during the last years of the republic and after the assassination of Caesar. There was no reason to maintain an oversized army since conquests could be done with less force as well.

Second, plundering the provinces, extorting taxes and redistributing loot took its time. Likewise, the proletarization of the free work force and petty farmers didn't happen in one year. But once the expansion ceased during Hadrian's reign, what followed immediately was deflation, which was countered by inflation on behalf of the state. Once the cash flow in form of loot and taxes ceased, money withdrew off the circulation - and that was encountered by debasing the money. The end of 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries were continuous inflation, and in the 5th century, the Western empire was simply in bankrupt. Money had devalued so badly it was no more trusted, and it had replaced by barter economy.

The panem et circenses was simply Realpolitik. With no work and income for the idling proletariat (slavery had ousted paid labour off the market) not bribing them being docile would simply have torn the empire into pieces - the revolting masses would have caused an anarchy within. It was consequence, not the cause, of the economical disaster - Roman economy was doomed from the start.

The Roman ecomony was based purely on Raubwirtschaft - just as that of the Arab empire. There is no denying on that. But even Raubwirtswchaft can produce pleasant result, as Roman and Arab empires prove - just as long as there is a steady cash flow of loot to consume and to redistribute.

And what comes to Edward Gibbon, he wrote in the 18th century (it is 21st now) and he is today considered more or less a joke amongst serious historians. His only credit today is the introduction of referral of sources. Incidentally, the period from Domitian to Commodus (96 to 180) was one of aggression, expansion and border wars - Domitian was a tyrant, Nerva was a lawyer, Trajan was a conqueror, Hadrian went defensive, Antonius Pius stabilized the empire and Macus Aurelius warred with Germans and started the 500+ years of wars with Persians. Not too good choice from Gibbon.

Jason_Pappas said...

What you say about the inflation is true. However Rome had a 1000 year run that established levels of civility, prosperity, and law that weren’t seen again for another 1000 years. A thousand year run isn’t a failure. Slavery or not, the failure to maintain the rule of law, soundness of currency, and the respects for the rights of freeman collapsed the will to fight. This is why 20 thousand barbarians could conquer several million Romans in Iberia and North Africa.

Actually the parallels with Rome and America are startling. During the 1st 300 years AD Rome continually increased measures to protect slaves from ill treatment and increase the ease of manumission. At the same time freemen lost more and more rights.

In the Civil War, slaves were freed but the federal government gained a power with which it eroded the rights of freeman over the next 150 years. We’ve seen debasement of the money supply, strangling regulations, and entitlements “for the masses.”

I still agree with you that slavery is a blight that weakens the work-ethic. And sudden increases of slavery often put the poor farmers out of work as it did in Rome. But I don’t hold that factor to be central to the problem of Rome's fall.

Uncle Pavian said...

At the risk of being off-topic, Baron, I'd suggest an alternative one word response: Jesus.
The Muslims are who they are and Islam is what it is.
It's good that somebody is saying, "Thus far, and no further,"but let's not forget that those of us who are Christians are responsible for preaching the Gospel to every creature, including the bearded ones who want to kill us.

Phanarath said...

Uncle Pavian

I believe we also have a responsibility to protect our families and out nations. Love our fellow man and give to the emperor, and all that. A responsibility that has been terribly neglected.

Jesus set an example to be kind also to strangers. But I don't think he meant: "Let the rapist sleep among your daughters.

Since I am no holy man, I don't know if we are neglecting one more then the other. But I think we should try to make sure we are also here tomorrow and the day after.

Michael said...

I'm writing from Germany, and I can assure you that many people I know who were once tolerant of Muslim immigration have realised that this forms a threat to the democratic structure and society. They're not xenophobic, just aware that Islamism's absolutism is another unacceptable totalitarianism--we suffered enough from that already.

How the state will react is one thing; how the youth will react is another.

mellivora said...

Jason Pappas, don't restrict your scope of the Roman Empire only to Western Roman empire - it was the Eastern Roman Empire which was the "true" empire and which survived and prospered for over 1100 years after the collapse of West. Do not forget the Eastern, Orthodox Christian, Europe is similarly the descendant of the Roman Empire - the Byzantine Empire - as we westerners consider ourselves as the heirs of the West.

Rome became an empire only after the Punic Wars - before that Rome had only been the hegemony holder in Italy similarly as Athens or Sparta in Greece. So I would personally consider the imperial period from 160 BC to 395 - 550 years. Of that, the first 250 years (160 BC to 117 AD) were expansion, 50 following years (to death of Marcus Aurelius) stability and next 250 years desperate struggle of existence - fighting deflation with inflation, degeneration of monetary economy, civil wars, barbarian incursions and continuous war against Persia.

When the two empires finally parted (death of Theodosius 395), the Western Empire was basically in the state of bankruptcy. When the Western Empire fell, it wasn't because of military defeats. It was because of the West being simply insolvent - monetary economy been replaced by barter trade. The West, which had defended itself against the barbarian incursions for 300 years (from 160 AD to 479 AD) finally found itself unable to afford any more armies to defend itself.

Yet the East survived - East was never conquered by barbarians - and prospered for 100 years to come. Why is that?

Why is that? Answer is simple: Raubwirtschaft of the West.

When Rome first emerged as local power, it was a typical city state - a city at nucleus, surrounded by petty farms all around. Military service was based on conscription and society was pretty egalitarian. The economy was based on natural products and city-countryside trade.

But an empire cannot be run like a city state and the economy of an empire is different to that of a city state. When Rome became an empire, the wars and the development of economy proved a catastrophe for the paid workforce and yeomen - the wars both claimed lives of the farmers with grand estates claiming their lands, and prisoners-of-war meant slaves, which ousted the paid work force. They meant swelling of the idle proletariat, which basically was a time bomb with lit fuse. The situation had gone so dire that Marius finally abolished conscription and made the army as purely rofessional force - there simply were no more free Romans left outside the equestrian class who could afford the legionary equipment.

Rome went on conquest for good after the Marian civil wars and Caesarian period. The conquest went on continuously from 60 BC to 117 AD - this conquest funded the Roman economy, bringing in gold, taxes, loot and slaves. Raubwirtschaft will do just fine as long as there is a cash flow. The stable city state trade economy had turned into rapine economy once the city state had become an empire.

This is exactly the same process as with the Arab empire - as long as Mecca was nothing but a city state, its weconomy ws based on petty trade: when Arabs went on conquest, their economy became rapine.

Why the failure to maintain the rule of law? Because of the failure of economy. Money is the nervus rerum of all societies - everything goes fine as long as the economy is sound. Once the conquests ended and the cash flow was terminated, the economy began its deterioration - and it also meant the deterioration of the law. This same process has been apparent everywhere - in our times Soviet Union is the most striking example.

Why the deterioration of the currency? Because of the deflation, which is an inevitable consequence of Raubwirtschaft getting saturated. Bad money ousts good money, and the good money withdrew from circulation. The state combatted the deflation by debasing the currency (releasing bad money to keep money circulating) - causing inflation. That eroded the economy and monetary system and in the end West went into barter trade.

What about the rights of the freemen? Rights of the freemen make sense only when the economy is sound and when there are opportunities to get wealthy on one's own work. Once the economy deteriorated and the population polarized into haves and have-nots and later into have-mores and have-nones, maintaining the rights of the freemen meant simply endangering the whole society falling into a civil war and anarchy. The empire had to become an Oriental-ish despotism during the reign of Diocletian to save what saveable was - without it the empire would have fragmented into squabbling petty states in the end of the 3rd century - so dire was the economical situation.

What about the will to fight? Who wants to defend the capitalist's purse with no compensation? Who wants to fight if there is nothing to gain and your live to lose? What is the morale of levies pressed into service against their will? The only ones who had any will to fight were the equites, and the late Roman armies were cavalry armies, with cataphracts being the most powerful arm. There is no evidence the Roman armies of the 4th and 5th centuries were any worse or any worse morale than those of the early empire - but certainly they were far more expensive to maintain. 300 years of defensive warfare contributed the fall of West. Yet those exactly same armies saved East - it is because the center of economy had shifted in the 2nd and 3rd centuries from West to East. The armies did excellent job on defending both empires - it was that in the end the West simply had no more money to maintain the army (or any organized society).

The barbarians didn't conquer a sound, healthy and vivid but demoralized and decadent empire. They conquered the ruins of an empire which had gone bankrupt long before the conquerors had even been born and where any organized society had ceased effectively to exist long before those warbands ever took field. The 200 000 barbarians didn't conquer several million Romans - they conquered several million stranded people who had no more an organized society behind them.

The East avoided all this - because its economy was healthy, because it had productive industry and it had turned from a plunder economy into trade economy.

What comes to the Civil War, the defeat of South and consolidation of power to the federal government actually saved South from inevitable bankruptcy. On what comes to debasement of money - well, that has not happened. US dollar, along with euro and Japanese yen, are the most trustworthy of all currencies in the world.

Again military service gives you perspective and also the second opinion: in the army the rights of the freemen are extremely restricted and the discipline and regulations dictate what you do, but at the same time the action is extremely well coordinated and unison, and an army can function far better than a disorganized mob of freemen with all rights and no responsibilities. Having served in army I do not see restriction of rights of freemen and centralized power a necessarily bad thing - an army can function only as a disciplined and organized system, not as a mob. Sometimes restriction of the individual rights and concentration and consolidation of power is the only way to save a society from falling into anarchy and rise of Warlordistans.

mellivora said...

Michael, it is the very same here in Finland. I mean, you can lie to all people some time and to some people all the time, but you cannot lie all people all the time.

The issue is that Islamophobia is the problem of the intelligentsiya, while Islam is the problem of the general populace. And while you can fool all the intelligentsiya all the time, you cannot fool the general populace.

Sooner or later people will count 2+2 and get result as 4: Islamophobia is not a phobia, but a realistic way to relate a real problem, and that the intelligentsiya either has lied or has had no idea of what Islam really is. And that awakening will be rude.

Uncle Pavian said...

It's a tough call, Pharanath. On the one hand, Jesus told Pilate, "If my kingdom had been of this world, then my followers would have fought." On the other hand, He said, "When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace." Luke 11:21.
Yes, there has to be a line in the sand and people willing to keep the bad guys from crossing that line. We each do what we can.

Phanarath said...

Thats interesting Uncle Pavian, I didnt know he said that. As I see it, the two statements have pretty much the same moral.

Our Kingdoms are of this world and so we should fight for them. We should arm ourselves and keep our goods in peace.

As for that other kingdom; Hopefully we can defend our Nations out of Love and Duty and not so much out of hate and fear. So that we might save our lands and still keep our souls.

Jason_Pappas said...

The Eastern Roman Empire (and yes, Millivora, with a name like Jason Pappas I am well aware of the Byzantine Empire and its fall in 1453 AD) continually lost ground to Islam. Was it a strong Empire if a band of Bedouin savages could easily conquer the vast extent of the Byzantine Empire (the Middle East and Northern Africa) in a half century? The Byzantine Empire continually contracted and could only hold Constantinople due to its fortifications and the invention of Greek Fire.

Scholarship suffered as the Academies were close; an oppressive atmosphere (compare to Cicero’s Rome) stifled creativity; the Byzantine bureaucracy continued to weaken and crumble. You’re romanticizing a slow death.

Rome was built by assimilation. Starting as a city-state it conquered other Italian cities and ultimately made them citizens. It continued in that vein for centuries. Its benign rule (for the time obviously) was such that one Greek King (I believe it was Pergamum in Asia) willed his Kingdom to Rome. Slavery existed everywhere and it had its toll on every society. But your summary doesn’t do justice to the situation.

Civilizations die because of a cultural (i.e. spiritual) disintegration. It wasn’t financial bankruptcy (that was the result); it was a moral bankruptcy.

Rome was essentially gone by the end of the 3rd century. The empty shell was ready to collapse. The consolidation and fortification at Constantinople only created a city that held back Islamic imperialism but it continually lost ground until it was surrounded. Slow death is not health.

Sorry to hijack the thread but I know our hosts enjoy history; and we want to avoid a repeat of that history.

mellivora said...

Jason Pappas, I see you are influenced heavily by Edward Gibbon, but modern historians have proved almost all the claims of Gibbon to be false.

The reason why the Arabs advanced so quickly in the 7th century, namely after the battle of Yarmuk 636, is that the Byzantine Empire had exhausted almost all its resources defeating the Persian empire (yes, the 500 years war which Marcus Aurelius initiated) and had simultaneously troubles with Khazars. Remember the mighty Persian empire likewise collapsed completely to the very same Bedouins. The Empire, which held against Rome for half a millennium, collapsed to Muslims in half a year. Exhaustion of resources.

Claiming "the empire merely continuously contracted" is patently false. The Byzantine Empire saw various periods of both expansion and contraction - it was on both offensive and defensive in turn. It was on its largest during the Justinian period, consisting of almost whole the old Imperial area sans Gallia and Britannia plus new conquests in East, was on the verge of bankrupt and collapse at Heracleian period, went again in offensive in the late 7th century, faced the Slavic and Bolgar invasions in the 8th and 9th centuries, assimilated them, and went again on conquest during the late 10th century - the period 963 (accession of Nikephoros II Phokas) to 1071 (catastrophe of Manzikert) is called the Byzantine Golden Age. Only after the sack of Constantinople (1204 by other Christians) the Empire finally was doomed. Yet it defended itself against Hungarians, Serbs, Catalans, Venetians, Alans, Russians, Mongols and finally Ottoman Turks for 250 more years before being conquered.

It wasn't merely the pyr thalassion, Greek Fire on which the Byzantine Empire defended itself. It was the cataphracts, light horse and thematic infantry consisting of pikes and bows, which were the nucleus of its army. The Byzantine army was the most sophisticated, refined, best disciplined and trained in the whole world until the advent of the Mongols - only Tang Chinese could be compared to it. Usually when the Byzantines lost, it was due to incompetent generalship and not failure of the troops. Gibbons theory of "continuous degeneration for 1100 years" is simply false in the eyes of modern history research.

I don't necessarily see the Byzantine Christian atmosphere any more oppressive than the continuous anarchy and chaos in the aftermath of the civil wars in Cicero period. After all, it is a matter of taste whether you rather enjoy gladiator fights in amphitheater or races at Hippodrome.

No empires are held together without bureaucracy. That is called statesmanship. The Byzantines developed Realpolitik centuries before Machiavelli, and it wasn't merely the lances of the cataphracts which defended the Empire, but also skilled diplomats. The same holds true also with contemporary China (Tang and Song periods). The same tradition continued well until sack of Constantinople 1453.

It can be safely claimed the Byzantine Empire was the mightiest state in the whole Europe in the Dark Ages and HIgh Middle Ages and before rise of England and France in the 14th centuries - and perhaps in the whole world with possible exception of Tang China.

Civilizations do not die by demoralization - that is patently false. They die by going bankrupt. There is not yet a single civilization which had died because of demoralization, but gazillions of examples of bankruptcy: Western Roman empire, Maya empire, Persian Empire, Spanish Empire, French Empire, British Empire - and finally Soviet Union, you name it. They all simply became insolvent and went out of business. If a demoralization occurs, it is consequence, not cause - the British, fortunately, avoided the demoralization. Usually bankrupt is consequence either of incompetent economy or continuous war of attrition.

It is all question of economy. It is money - nervus rerum which decided over life and death of a civilization. Rome indeed was gone in the end of the 3rd century because it was ready for bankrupt - the Raubwirtschaft simply could produce no more cash flow. It was only the Diocletian reforms and rise of the Eastern Rome which saved it and bought it time to reorganize the economy (where it was reorganized) and to survive. East survived, because its economy was sound; West didn't, and it went bankrupt and the bankrupt estate was finally claimed by the barbarians.

How about the other empires who relied on slavery and not of paid workforce? When inspecting, those which survived had one thing in common: they waged export trade and had productive industry. Rome and Arab empire didn't. It was this economical deficit which made them both doomed from start.

What can we learn of this fate? First, economy is the number one priority. Be productive and create steady cash flow. While slavery, outsourcing and short-term profits may sound lucrative, they are extremely destructive in the long term and strategically. Second, make sure you have enough money, It sure is the nervus rerum. Third, be certain your wars are short and successful, and deal with diplomacy what you don't need to take with violence. The fate of both Roman and Arab empires should warn us what happens when the economy is based solely on conquest, loot, plunder and taxation instead of production and industry.

Jason_Pappas said...

Justinian was before Islam. You’re not focusing on the big picture. And yes the Persian Empire was also weak. And no you can’t blame Marcus Aurelius for Constantinople’s war with Persia any more than you can blame the 300 Spartans. Persia was always a threat. Yes, the East’s decline wasn’t a monotonic decline but the net effect was disintegration and death. No, my main source isn’t Gibbon but contemporary scholarship read with a very critical eye.

Your biggest mistake is: “Civilizations do not die by demoralization - that is patently false. They die by going bankrupt.” Financial problems follow cultural problems. The British Empire, which you chose as an example, was pro-socialist long before it was bankrupt. It had long abandoned the ethics of individualism. And so have we! Your view of history – “They all simply became insolvent and went out of business.” – is silly. That would make ideas inconsequent and for human beings, the mind is the most important factor. Your suggestion – “Be productive and create steady cash flow” – is most banal. Without respect for the individual, human initiative, self-responsibility, rational and productive activity, one doesn’t respect the source of wealth creation. The spiritual comes first; economics follows.

Of course, Rome was a mixed bag. That goes without saying. Cicero fought but lost the battle for a Republic that respected rights, he fought to deal fairly with provinces, he fought corruption, he wanted to protect the farmer from plunder, etc. There were multiple forces in Rome’s history and the good didn’t always win. Slavery is inefficient just as it is unjust. Pandering to the mob (democracy) continued to grow. Self-sufficiency and decentralization kept the Empire from bureaucracy until the façade of checks-and-balances fell and the true face of tyranny brought all of the Empire, including the east, into serfdom.

You’re cherry picking mostly correct details but it doesn’t give a balanced picture. Rome was vibrant but dissolution in spirit begat disintegration in material affairs. The Byzantine Empire continued to decline with, of course, counter-cyclic episodes along the way. It could only defend the city of Constantinople consistently. A city isn’t enough.

Jason_Pappas said...

I just re-read substantial portions of Byzantine history from modern sources. You are just wrong. I was tempted to quote a few thousand words at my blog but I don’t have the time today. I do want to mention one point however. I agree that the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine) was unfairly disparaged by historians. However, I think you go to the other extreme. And you unfairly disparage the achievements of the Roman Republic and 1st 250 years of the Roman Empire. To settle this would take 1000s of words on both our parts.