Recently, as I prepare for next semester, I have been looking into the fall of Rome. I am beginning to think, with historians like Peter Brown that to speak in terms of a “fall” is sort of irrelevant. He argues that the Roman Empire transformed rather than fell over many periods of history. This is incredibly important because we often, as Glen Bowersock has said, “We have been obsessed with the fall: it has been valued as an archetype for every perceived decline, and, hence, as a symbol for our own fears.” If this is the case, then I don’t think there is going to be one cataclysmic event that which sends the United States into some downward spiral or “fall.”
I think, rather, that the fall happens each day as Americans spend money they don’t have to buy cars that they don’t need or to move into the bigger houses they can’t afford. People are blaming Washington for what’s going on, but sometimes, as one Rabbi said in the first century, “Take the log out of your own eye.” We have spent and spent and spent, but there isn’t anything free in this world. Wherever you go, you have to pay your taxes. Even at Cal Poly, there are extra taxes that have to be paid even though the state should be paying me for the public service that I committing to do for them.
What is the solution? Start eating in the house. Walk instead of drive. Take the bus instead of commuting. Begin work on larger mass transit systems in California. Selling our houses and moving into houses with other members of your community. We have to take the money out of the “system” and start reallocating it so we can live.