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First and foremost, an American Fall is not pre-destined. That we have historical knowledge about Rome’s mis-steps is an advantage Rome didn’t enjoy.
Interesting interview in ‘Vox’ is with Dr. Edward Watts, historian at UC San Diego and author of the new book “Mortal Republic.”
Is the real lesson, “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it?” Jim

“‘The story of Rome’s fall is both complicated and relatively straightforward: The state became too big and chaotic; the influence of money and private interests corrupted public institutions; and social and economic inequalities became so large that citizens lost faith in the system altogether and gradually fell into the arms of tyrants and demagogues…

“‘But the representatives are making the choices — and people have noticed that that works fine until those representatives either stop making principled decisions or become paralyzed by the vicissitudes of popular opinion.

“‘Both of those things started to happen when Rome began to decline, and both of those things are happening in the US right now…

“‘They could’ve recognized what their system was designed to do, which was produce compromise and consensus. Ultimately, it’s better to make no decision than to make a bad decision. What the Romans failed to appreciate was that their processes were slow and deliberative for very good reasons: that’s how representative systems avoid disaster, how you get people to the table to work out compromises…

“‘But it’s up to Americans, just like it was up to voters in Rome, to defend our institutions and to punish people who are misusing the tools that are supposed to make it strong to instead undermine it. No one else will do it on their behalf.

“‘So I think it’s by no means a foregone conclusion. History doesn’t work that way. And there have been moments where the US looked to be in grave trouble and managed to bounce back. But we have to be really vigilant and defend the integrity of the republic, and defend the integrity of our system, and punish those who abuse our institutions and violate our norms.”