America in Decline: Late Republic or Late Empire?
September 15, 2021 (3mo ago)

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Guest Post by Julius DeGrandin

If you have been paying attention you’ve noticed that the words “decline” and “collapse” are becoming more common in reference to the United States of America. Even GOP establishment voices like Erick Erickson are starting to see America’s decline as worrisome.

Supporters of President Donald Trump first began talking about a “national divorce” not long after November 2020. They had and continue to have good reason to doubt American stability. After all, as Revolver has shown, the election was a shambles rife with questionable and downright illegal activity. From the convenient closing of polls overnight only in swing states, to the use of cardboard barriers and sectarian muscle to stop observers from watching the count, Americans experienced Third World-style corruption.

Things only got worse once questions arose about Dominion software. A large segment of the United States continues to believe that unaccountable companies, many with reported ties to Democrats and their law firms of choice, conspired to rob Trump of his rightful victory. On top of this, fraud and graft were baked into the results long before the first votes were cast, as several states used COVID-19 as an excuse to implement mail-in voting, which is far more susceptible to cheating than traditional methods. As for the continuing audits, which hope to uncover just how much fraud was committed last November, they are being downplayed and censored by the media and even characterized as potential vectors for terrorism by the Justice Department.

When millions believe that the ruling government is illegitimate, you have the first step towards regime change or revolution. And things have only gotten worse since the election: the January 6th fiasco and its invocation as a way to kickstart a “Domestic War on Terror” (despite, or maybe because of, possible FBI involvement); the continuation of COVID-19 tyranny and the push for vaccine passports that would create a Chinese-style social credit system; rising inflation at the pump and the supermarket; and the malignant growth of Critical Race Theory and “woke” politics within the central government. The border crisis in the Southwest walks together with a declining white population while the latter is loudly celebrated. Afghanistan can now be added to this list of disasters and failures.

It is hard to understate the significance of the Afghanistan failure to the Biden regime. From almost every angle it not just undermines confidence in the U.S. government, but infuriates a wide swath of the domestic population. British intelligence agents characterize Biden’s blunder as the West’s “biggest defeat since Suez,” while millions of Americans watch in horror as the administration admits to leaving hundreds, if not thousands of Americans behind in Taliban-controlled Kabul.

The Biden administration considers Afghan refugees to be a higher priority than American citizens, most likely because Afghan refugees and their children will help to change the racial, religious, and political demographics of places like Wisconsin, Texas, and Florida. Thirteen Marines died needlessly so that their own regime could put as many unvetted Afghans on military airplanes as possible. When a brave few speak up about the insanity, they, in turn, are dubbed insane by their own government.

Given this reality, it is no wonder so many are talking about America’s imminent collapse. There are those who celebrate it and wish to push it over the cliff. Many are followers of the British philosopher Nick Land and his idea of accelerationism, or the notion that capitalism, digital culture, and neoliberal politics should be pursued with gusto until they inevitably collapse. This is the “meltdown” that Land predicts in the “near-future.”

Others, such as the Claremont Institute’s Michael Anton and prolific political philosopher Curtis Yarvin, aka Mencius Moldbug, openly talk about what comes next after the end of the American Republic. Collapse is a given; the only question remains is whether the United States is in its late republic phase or late imperial phase.

The terms “late republic” and “late empire” come from Roman history. Roman history was near and dear to the Founding Fathers, and much of America’s political culture seeks, or rather used to seek, a return to Roman traditions. As such, one can learn a lot about America’s past and its possible future by studying Rome.

The Roman Republic is generally agreed to have begun in the year 509 B.C. In that year, the Latin-speaking citizens of Rome overthrew their last king, an Etruscan by the name of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. Rather than replace one king for another, the wealthy class of Romans, known as patricians, established a democratic republic made up of popular assemblies and the Senate. The Senate, which was controlled by the patricians, was the source of power in Rome despite its official role as a body dedicated to suggesting policies rather than implementing them.

The Roman Republic was designed to be a “republic of virtue,” wherein mos maiorum, or ancestral Latin customs passed down through history, united society. The early republic produced fine specimens of Roman civic virtue. Chief among them was the farmer Cincinnatus, who put down his plow and picked up his sword to lead Rome’s city militia against an invading tribe. The story of Cincinnatus inspired the citizen-soldier idea that animated American armed forces until the twentieth century.

“Cincinnatus chosen as dictator” -Giovanni Francesco Romanelli

However, despite Rome’s cultivation of civic virtue, its politics began fracturing just as Rome reached new heights of power.

Rome’s dominant position on the Italian peninsula and its military victories against Carthage and Macedonia expanded the size, strength, and wealth of the Republic. The city-state grew into an empire that included citizens who had never been to Rome. Many, especially the majority plebeians, felt that Rome’s institutions needed to change for it to be governed equally. The Council of the Plebs and various tribal assemblies were created to give the plebeians a greater voice in politics. It was still not enough, so, in the second century BC, Tiberius Gracchus and his brother Gaius Gracchus became radical populist agitators. They sought the redistribution of land and an increase in the grain dole. For these suggestions, conservatives in the Senate (optimates) created street gangs and urban riots, one of which killed Tiberius Gracchus and his supporters.

La mort de Caius Gracchus – Auvray Félix

The execution of the Gracchi did little to solve Rome’s woes. Military reforms instituted under Gaius Marius, who was a popular consul and general of the Roman army, forever ended the citizen militia of Cincinnatus. Rome’s military thus became a professional force with divisions, better equipment, and standard pay. As a result, Marius’s men became loyal to him rather than the Senate. This unsettling trend was further increased by Marius’ status among the populares, a political faction of Romans who supported radical populist reforms. As recounted in the brilliant book Party Politics in the Age of Caesar by scholar Lily Ross Taylor, Rome lacked political parties in the modern sense. Rather, wealthy and well-connected men became patrons for others, who in turn made and executed decisions for their supporters. To squash Marius and his supporters, the Senate turn to another brilliant general, Sulla.

In 82 BC, following his victory at the Battle of the Colline Gate, Sulla used his dictatorial powers to murder, rob, and exile Marian supporters. One of the victims of Sulla’s proscription was a young Gaius Julius Caesar. Decades later, as a consul and general, Caesar would lead his loyal legions into Gaul and Britain, and then back into Italy and across the Rubicon to start another civil war. Caesar triumphed. His next moves spelled the end of the Roman Republic, as he, a member of the populares, became dictator for life on the strength of his appeal to Rome’s masses. For this sin, members of the Senate murdered him.

The Death of Julius Caesar – Vincenzo Camuccini

Ironically, the Senate would turn to Caesar’s adopted nephew, Octavian, to put down another aspiring dictator named Marc Antony. Like his uncle, Octavian proved to be an excellent military commander. He was an even shrewder politician, for Octavian declared his triumph over Marcus Antonius and his Egyptian allies as a victory for the Senate. This magnanimity convinced the Senate to heap titles upon Octavian, who in turn renamed himself Augustus. In saving the Senate, Augustus weakened it and created the Roman Empire.

The Roman Empire was cheered by the majority of Romans, most of whom had no clue that the Republic was dead. The Roman Empire brought peace for centuries. In the East, where the grand Christian city of Constantinople was founded by Constantine the Great, Rome’s first Christian emperor, Rome would last until 1453. The Eastern Roman Empire continues to be a force in world politics. Russia and the Orthodox Church have even gone so far as to claim the mantle of the Third Rome. However, in the West, the Roman Empire lasted from 27 BC until 476 AD. In was here, in the lands stretching from Italy to Iberia and Great Britain, that the Roman Empire collapsed and scattered.

The late empire of the West was characterized by many problems that we would immediately recognize today. High inflation, which rose to about 150 percent in the third and fourth centuries, made daily difficult for Roman citizens and provincials alike. Emperor Diocletian, who divided the empire into a more manageable tetrarchy, attacked inflation by introducing price controls and greater centralization. During these years, economic inequality expanded at the same time as impoverished rural provincials felt more and more the pinch of higher taxation.

During the Crisis of the Third Century, power in Rome fell more and more into the hands of the military, whose commanders were crowned as emperors. These so-called “barracks emperors” ruled with only the army in mind. The incestuous political elite made a mockery of the empire’s continuing use of republican traditions and ideals, thus causing further demoralization among Roman citizens.

While Edward Gibbon’s magisterial Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire places much of the blame on Christianity and its upending of the Roman religion, more contemporary scholars understand that Christianity reinvigorated Rome, especially in the East. In Western Rome, traditions were kept alive by what would become the Roman Catholic Church. Rather than faith, immigration was the major reason for Western Rome’s fall.

During the height of the Roman Empire, Romanization took place in Gaul (France), Spain, Portugal, and even Britain. There, Celtic tribes were taught Latin, Roman customs, and what it meant to be a Roman citizen. While not always peaceful–local tribes did rebel often–these Roman provinces would go on to produce Roman emperors like Trajan, and keep Rome’s memory alive long after the city itself fell to barbarians. As for the barbarians, Rome spent centuries keeping them in check in Germania and elsewhere. Some even pledged loyalty to the empire and served as auxiliary troops.

Things changed drastically in the fourth century AD as Germanic tribes, most notably the Goths, began flowing across Rome’s borders en-masse to escape the marauding Huns, a still mysterious tribal people from either Central or East Asia. Rome’s tradition of border security broke down as waves of war refugees made their homes in Eastern and Central Europe. In 378 AD, Emperor Valens of the Eastern Roman Empire sought to bring the Goths to heel at the Battle of Adrianople. Valens failed, and the Gothic victory signaled to other barbarian tribes Rome’s weakness. By the fifth century, Rome’s military was reliant on Germanic foederati for military campaigns and internal security. Many of these Germanic mercenaries became loyal Romans (even including generals like Stilicho); others maintained their unique identities as Germanic tribesmen. Near the end, many Roman politicians dealt with the increasing power and prevalence of Germanic outsiders by seeing them as “more Roman than the Romans themselves.” The desire to use the Germanic barbarians to restore Rome failed, although, many centuries later, the Visigoths in Spain and the Ostrogoths in Italy did much to maintain Roman culture. Some Germanic kings also pledged loyalty to the Roman emperor in Constantinople.

The Fall of the Roman Empire – Thomas Cole

History is never as far away as we like to think. The ills of both the late republic and the late empire affect the United States today. Like the late republic, we are sharply divided by warring political factions, subjected to street violence, and grappling with how to save traditional political institutions in the face of wanton rot. Like the late empire, the United States is crippled with debt, inflicted with imperial overreach in military affairs, and unable to beat back unchecked immigration from foreign cultures. Indeed, in the last regard, America is in a worse predicament than Rome, for our immigrants come from across the globe and many have absolutely no interest in assimilating to American folkways and culture.

Understanding where America stands in relation to Roman history is important insofar as solutions are concerned. If we are in our Late Republic phase, then like the Roman Republic we may be able to solve our problems by discarding a rotten political structure and submitting to authoritarian rule based in Caesarism. Many in the obscure “neoreaction” sphere of online politics see this as a solution. They believe a pro-American, populist, strong dictator could solve many of America’s woes.

But, if we are in the Late Empire phase, then America as a united entity cannot and should not be saved. Like the battle-scarred Romans before us, we can find salvation in local autonomy and the creation of limited political structures based in city-states. Before becoming a powerful republic, Venice was born as a way for Italians of the war-ravaged north to save themselves. The Venetians built their city’s walls, and then expanded to become the premiere mercantile power of the Christian world. This process was repeated throughout Italy. It could be repeated here in the United States at the regional, municipal, and state level.

Rome withstood centuries of instability and civil war. The US is unlikely to do the same, and the rise and speed of digital technology means that history moves much faster.

In the end, we Americans must embrace either our own version of Caesarean authoritarianism, or work with the barbarians to effect the complete breakup of the Empire, in the hopes that something altogether new, beautiful, and grand might be build upon the ashes of our former greatness.

In either case we have a Rubicon to cross with the strictures and restraints of the past on one side, and a tumultuous, uncertain future on the other—a future that, despite its many secrets, promises to bestow its favor on the Wise and the Bold.

Julius DeGrandin is a writer in rural America.

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2 months ago

Moral rot is our undoing. When you ignore morality this is where you end up. We need to repent of our sinful ways.

2 months ago

We are approaching a Pluto return in the US natal chart. The point where Pluto has returned to its exact position in the sky where it was when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Pluto is about eliminating structures, paradigms, systems and beliefs, that no longer serve our universal growth. It unearths all buried elements and encompasses all things power, corruption, and complete metamorphosis, in ways painful and ruthless. All the questionable and corrupt social structures in our world will not survive this energy, either to be gone or to be evolved into something more suited to our lives. Will take years, and the ultimate outcome depends upon us, but the catalyst for the change is upon us now.

Becomes exact in February of 2022 but is well within the range of influence now, and will be impacting our country well into 2025. And during this time, we will either re-affirm our founding principles as a nation, or we will lose them, never to look back.

Laugh, condescend, ridicule, insult, roll your eyes 360 degrees around in their sockets. But realize, if you want to fight for the country, it’s now or never.

God and the universe are one.

Mac Baron (@macbogbaron)
2 months ago

China is 5000 years old, and how many iterations?
Pretty clearly the USA (and the West) needs major regeneration of its institutions and an a huge awakening of its peoples.
But, yes, overall, I agree, we literally have a government who are accelerationists, Nero like figures who want to burn it all down so they can turn us full communist.

2 months ago


The Wisdom of the Founders
2 months ago

The ultimate palladium the author offers is, unfortunately, directly contrary to the vision of the Founders, who had studied the failings of the Roman republic, as well as the flaws in many other historical republics, in crafting the Constitution. They would have vigorously opposed the creation of self-standing political confederacies within America. In fact, exhortations to unity abound in the Federalist papers, as well as warnings of the destruction that would be wrought by separation.

In Federalist 6, Hamilton wrote: “A man must be far gone in Utopian speculations who can seriously doubt that, if these States should either be wholly disunited, or only united in partial confederacies, the subdivisions into which they might be thrown would have frequent and violent contests with each other. To presume a want of motives for such contests as an argument against their existence, would be to forget that men are ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious. To look for a continuation of harmony between a number of independent, unconnected sovreignties in the same neighborhood, would be to disregard the uniform course of human events, and to set at defiance the accumulated experience of ages.

“The causes of hostility among nations are innumerable. There are some which have a general and almost constant operation upon the collective bodies of society. Of this description are the love of power or the desire of preeminence and dominion–the jealousy of power, or the desire of equality and safety. There are others which have a more circumscribed though an equally operative influence within their spheres. Such are the rivalries and competitions of commerce between commercial nations. And there are others, not less numerous than either of the former, which take their origin entirely in private passions; in the attachments, enmities, interests, hopes, and fears of leading individuals in the communities of which they are members. Men of this class, whether the favorites of a king or of a people, have in too many instances abused the confidence they possessed; and assuming the pretext of some public motive, have not scrupled to sacrifice the national tranquillity to personal advantage or personal gratification.”

In Federalist 7, Hamilton continued: “It is sometimes asked, with an air of seeming triumph, what inducements could the States have, if disunited, to make war upon each other? It would be a full answer to this question to say–precisely the same inducements which have, at different times, deluged in blood all the nations in the world.”

In short, the idea that a disunited America will save America is as utopian as the idea that turning the United States into a “democracy” will solves all ills, for as Madison wrote it Federalist 10: “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”

Despite our differences — daily inflamed by those who would divide us for their own benefit — the vast majority of Americans share similar values and love of country. Increasingly transparent attempts to divide us have helped awakened awareness of this fact. There may always be an audience naysayers, but it is dwindling as the genius of the People of America — a phrase the Founders often used — reject irrationality and force.

What Hamilton said in the very first Federalist paper is a true today as when he wrote it: “THE FATE of the United States of America presents the most interesting and important question in the world: whether societies of humans really are capable of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. We have finally reached the era in which that decision can be made.”

2 months ago

My knowledge of Rome is dangerous (ie very limited). Like many I imagine the comparison between Rome and the US the way Marc Andreessen obviously did in this June 2021 quote (which I probably lifted from an article linked to Revolver):

“If we’ve learned one thing from the last 2,500 years… it’s that all progress out of humanity’s default state of misery and despair comes from being able to freely think, write, and argue.”

During that 500 years before Rome / Christ that he is alluding to, republican Rome gave the world the arch, the road and the aqueduct – probably Rome’s 3 greatest civil inventions. Rome’s military might and methods were also established during the Republican period. And the great mass of humanity that gathered under the Roman umbrella so gathered bc of a level of organization brought by equitable laws, the unprecedented participation and political buy-in of the broader masses, and the flow of prosperity enabled by Roman power.

The comparisons with the US are obvious.

As to where we go from here: the US will write it’s own historical pages, and decay and decline are not imho inevitable. The present time is also an opportunity for regeneration and correction. It’s a mistake to view the US as an obstacle to globalism. Globalism is a given. The real question is whose globalist vision is the best one, and to my mind it is Trump’s. He called it “America First” – and that is really another way of saying that regions need to have adequate control over their particular affairs, while also ceding to higher authority. The “United States” is really the best model for regional organization.

As to what brought us to this point: “corruption” is not mentioned in the essay, but imho it’s integral.

2 months ago

I don’t think that it is necessarily “either/or”, as suggested here. I do think that the situation is closer to late Republic, but that doesn’t mean that the required response is a benevolent dictator. There are aspects of late Empire, but that is, to my mind, more reflective of how pretty much everything is accelerated in the modern world, a rate of acceleration that is tied to scientific advance; as pointed out, “History moves much faster” today.

Honestly, I don’t know that the country CAN be saved; there is now a significant portion of the population who either despise the country, and/or have no allegiance to it other than what it can provide for them, and that only while it does/can. Can such disparate groups not only live, but thrive, together? I have grave doubts.

Personally, I think that the country is headed towards a breakup in the near future, one that may involve some form of civil war…

Craig Nelson
2 months ago

America is not in decline. This is and will be our finest hour. The idea that evil will not challenge America is insanity. It is the left that would have you believe that all is lost. NO the founders knew this day would come. The 10th amendment is stepping into the fray. It is clumsy and slow but it is happening. The American people are also saying NO. We are made up of an amazing array of people, ideology and religion but we are not stupid and we can do math. We know that there is something wrong when a so called pandemic has a recovery rate of 99.972% if you do nothing. Sure this all lags behind what government tells us to do because we do not have puppet strings. That is not a sign of weakness it is a sign of restraint. The liberal/progressive/demorat /left/confederates (LPDLC) want a w*r either internally or externally and they are not getting their wish. Instead slowly and with restraint we are seeing investigations and Senator Paul telling it like it is. NO history will not look at America as a failure. This will be an exercise of our constitution not tossing it aside to become like the evil on the LPDLC side.

2 months ago

Any decline of civilization is due to liberal policies of buying the vote, everything is for sale for power worldwide. When complete power is obtained communism and socialism will crush humanity.

2 months ago

We are currently at the Gaius Marius stage. Like Marius, Trump identified the real enemies of the people, because the enemies of freedom switch from barbarians from without, to the exploitative senatorial class within. We still have time.

Robert Tribou
2 months ago

I simply cannot see how this country can survive when no institution retains any trust any longer.
The citizens now see thru the lies and the cheats and no longer trust anything.

Once every institution is seen as deceitful such as the media, the government, the intelligence agencies, the FBI, the medical groups, the judicial system even science then I see no road to salvation. I doubt given the current players under the current system there is any recovery possible. It will take the proverbial strongman to arrive and so far no one is visible.

I think we finally need to admit that liberalism and its symbol democracy are done. This ideology has proven it defies reality and is not sustainable. Add to it that the system of equality under the law has completely broken down so the sub structures that held this facade together have failed.

2 months ago

History is useful for many purposes and it may even rhyme. But it is not a deterministic system as the Marxists like to pretend. Each nation and its history, influences, character, legacy and destiny is unique.
That America arose at all is improbable and unique, so there is little reason to assume its demise will follow some preordained course. Our heritage is rich, singular and not even close to spent. It has been allowed to be taken for a joy ride by a group of adolescent hoodlums, but I believe their free ride will come to an end in due time and our heritage reestablished by the millions of remaining adults.

2 months ago


2 months ago

Roman history does not predict well for the United States. Unfortunately, as did Rome – albeit slower and more painfully, like a man stricken with a vicious, slow-moving cancer – the United States began its death throes only a little over one hundred years after its Revolution. The U.S. self-inflicted most of these never-ceasing benign, yet ultimately fatal wounds upon itself. We grew away from the Constitution by establishing unnecessary and dangerous amendments pushed by the neo-barbarians, Leftist intellectuals who began organizing and pushing suicidal policies, drip-by-drip, on this society. It started in the late nineteenth century, but became manifest in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments to the Constitution. Both were ratified in 1913. These amendments gave the federal government control over the income of the citizens, and it removed Senators from the bothersome, yet necessary vagaries of state politics. Senators now had no real, direct, responsibility to the state from which they came. And the state legislators could no longer remove them if they swerved from the stated policies of their home state.

During FDR’s long term of office, federal control over the economy became solid, and he engineered the Social Security System. While that system may seem humane and necessary today, it became the first of many relatively small – in the beginning – federal programs to create a dependency class of citizen. LBJ completed, more or less, the “takeover” of the United States by implementing a plethora of programs designed to further the dependency stranglehold of the United States populace. The most important of which, I would argue, was the Hart-Celler Act of 1965, which opened the U.S. borders to virtually anyone who wanted to come here. It removed most of the well-designed pressure valves of the immigration system, and allowed millions of people to come here over a relatively short amount of time, without any break during which these new arrivals would have time to fully acclimate to our language, customs and mores.

Without completely repealing the Hart-Celler Act, and modifying a significant portion of these dependency programs, the United States will become Rome.

We are they; and They are US.

2 months ago

If only the American Empire was in decline! Instead American values on porn, sodomy, usury, diversity abortion, feminism , vaxx mandates are strangling freedom everywhere on the planet. F Joe Biden.

2 months ago

Look to the North; look to the East. The turmoil within the USA has great similarity with that being experienced in Canada and most of Western Europe. Any strategy to correct course must consider the extremely powerful external forces (most prevailing IMHO) driving the need for our internal political, social and religious restructuring. The USA is not the only sovereign on this journey.

2 months ago

It is unlikely there will be a collapse. Everything that is happening is happening according to a plan whose end goal is increased power for them and decreased freedom for us. A collapse of order such that new systems can be built up from scratch is a coping mechanism so that people don’t have to make any hard choices today.

2 months ago

Mac Baron:

China has been filled with Chinese for 5,000 years. America is no longer filled with Americans.

JD Johnson
2 months ago

Our immediate ancestors, Fathers and Grandfathers, had to adopt the mantle of Empire to quickly deal with the onslaught of technical advancements, especially in nuclear weaponry. We had to ACT like Empire to survive the Cold War. They knew it would be up to you and I to return our Constitutional Republic from the sick and perverted temptations so many have become addicted to. We have ceased acting like Empire and have become one. Again, we must find it in us to do the Exceptional Thing and shrug it off. The Impossible, we have done. The Exceptional may take a little bit longer.

2 months ago

“work with the barbarians to effect the complete breakup of the Empire, in the hopes that something altogether new, beautiful, and grand might be build upon the ashes of our former greatness.”

The hard left rioters from 2020 were saying the same thing. But with very different gripes about the present and very different visions about the ideal future.

Timothy Stewart (@tsstewart)
2 months ago

“Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” Some believe that God will save us, or the planets. Not so. The American Empire is indeed deceased and the republic died long ago. Civil War isn’t necessary to hold together a rotted corpse. Rather, best to break up into city states, or nation states and bypass the bloodshed. The best government is small and closest to the people it serves.

Rob Frankel
2 months ago


1 month ago

Early Empire, if Americans are smart enough. We can restore the Republic once the rot and cancer are removed and love of country and GOD is restored

1 month ago

Or worse beginning Empire

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