23 December 2006

If you're going to make an analogy, this is how you do it.


For the record, I don't always agree with Card. I happen to have little interest in his books, which leave me cold the umpteen times I tried to read them. "It's a Science Fiction Classic. . . "

Yeah, whatever.

On general principle, I despise analogies to the "Fall of the Roman Empire," especially those made by Fundamentalist Protestants who wish to attribute it to moral degeneracy. (For the record, the high point for moral degeneracy was the first century or two AD, before Christianity had any influence, and that was the most stable and peaceful era in history).

In general, folks who make big sweeping statements about the Fall of the Roman Empire know nothing more than that it "fell" a long time ago.

OSC is not that stupid. The statements he makes regarding the Western Roman Empire are correct--and the trade issue and collapse of civilized (meaning "centered on cities") life in the West are the major factors in the collapse, and the causes he discusses are broadly accurate.

I'm tracking the analogy to the modern situation. I don't know enough about economics in the 21st century (or, really, any century after the 17th) to be able to intelligently argue for or against his main argument. On the face of it, it sounds plausible to me


Blogger Zero Ponsdorf said...

Thanks to the transnational business mind set I think the parallels are spooky. And, file under stating the obvious, it doesn't take a paranoid to recognize that we couldn't field you folks for long if the sources for our stuff failed. In OSC words:
What people overlooked was that everything depended on the Roman Army. The army wasn't carrying the goods, it wasn't even actively protecting the trade. The army was mostly stationed at the border, while the economy boomed in an empire so safe that none of the cities had walls. But the economic system that offered so much prosperity could only last as long as merchants could trust in the safety of the goods they transported, and as long as people could remain in place to do their work instead of having to flee barbarian invaders.

I included the last sentence because it begs a question.

4:09 AM  
Anonymous nerdasaaurus said...


I am temporarily back home in Dallas, having started a new job in San Antonio last week. I'll have the next week off and then sometime in early January I will call Jen. Perhaps she can tell me the best Mexican food in the city.

At some point, you should get the Christmas present I sent you about 6 weeks ago. I hope I sent it to the right addy.....else it will be forever before you get it.

8:08 AM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...


Thought you might find this interesting.

Love you,

8:26 AM  
Blogger Tim Covington said...

If John doesn't mind, I would like to comment on that op-ed piece. The author has fallen into the ultimate form of arrogance (in my opinion). He tries to speak for all people who proclaim a certain belief. It doesn't matter if you are Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Asatru, Moslem, Wiccan, Athiest or whatever else. Not everyone in these belief systems holds the same views.
As an aside, I believe that atheists live in a colder, harsher and more lonely world than persons of faith.

4:28 PM  

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