posted on Jul, 30 2011 @ 11:21 PM
One of the things I've learnt from my ongoing study of the collapse of complex societies that that the government itself never collapses unless there
is an outright invasion followed by sustained occupation.
Instead, what usually happens is that the previous form of government continues in some form, but it becomes less and less relevant. Names are
"updated," but the tools of government are "streamlined" until no longer recognizable.
I am convinced from my research that Rome as an empire actually had collapsed earlier than most historians date it (by 300 AD), but the same old
labels were used, when the political reality had been already transformed.
I believe that Constantine effectively founded a new state. He used old terms for the sake of continuity.
In the West, Rome itself was the last outpost. There are folks who continued to proclaim themselves "Emperor of the West," but the title meant
almost nothing. By 480, warlords of the city had quit even bothering to use the title. the population had declined by 95%, and most of the Urbis
Romanae was literally a crumbling tomb, with weeds growing in the streets and flocks of sheep grazing among the ruins.
The Western church claimed the legacy, hence the title "Roman Catholic Church" even as its administrative center shifted to the foothills of the
alps. And Charlemagne styled himself as "Holy Roman Emperor," but had none of the other imperial institutions.
So what does this mean for us?
Probably that movies like "The Postman", and "High Plains Drifter" show how government will be re-created after the fall.
That's what America did, self-consciously copying the trappings of Rome, as the antidote to the British Empire: The imperial eagle, the "Senate"
as a title for the governing body, with a fasces as it's emblem, the capitol modeled on the Roman Pantheon. They put on the respectability of the
ancients, like children playing dress-up.
This happened time and again. Charlemagne's grandfather had been a king's butler. The ruling house of Scotland, the Stuarts, were originally the
"stewards"---accountants, of an ancient regime. The same with every ruling house in practically every country, as well as every revolutionary
True then, and true down to the Texas frontier, when "judge" Roy Bean proclaimed himself as "Law, west of the Pecos," armed with A Bible, a copy
of Black's law dictionary, and a sawed-off shotgun.
Like Ceasar in the original planet of the apes; you pen some Sacred Scrolls, and start calling yourself "the Lawgiver" when you have a band of