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Distractions Cause Civilizations to Fail

In this ongoing series with Dr. Jack Alpert, www.skil.org , you become an integral player in the human experiment of the 21st century.  How will human numbers affect you, your kids and future generations?  What will you do to change course?  Something?  Nothing? Just ride out the consequences? Will any national leaders take the initiative over human overpopulation in America?

In an intriguing interview, “Distractions cause civilizations to fail.” Dr. Alpert presents a few simple realities facing future generations.  Might I add, as a journalist, I witnessed most of what Alpert describes in my travels across the globe.  Many ‘failing’ civilizations today such as Bangladesh, Haiti before the earthquake, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Darfur, Sudan and many others offer harbinger illustrations to America’s fate.

“There are many historical and philosophical descriptions of Rome's fall. The new territories got too far from Rome,” said Alpert. “Generals and administrators acted as independents, less interested in the empire than their own self-aggrandizement. When the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, the empire collapsed under the increasing costs of maintaining the rule of law. Romans got lazy. Other civilizations grew more skilled at war. Rome's conquered constituents revolted.

“Let's assume these descriptions were heard and responded to by the Roman administrators before Rome fell. The wise leaders set a limit of how far the farthest province could be from Rome. They rotated generals from one army to the next. They often changed administrators preventing local personal empire building. They taxed the rich to prevent extreme stratification of wealth. They used the taxes to level the playing field for each new generation, ensuring that each individual had access to education, and opportunity.

“Rome, shared technology with its neighbors. Rome gave up the slave economy and the practice of taking resources by force. Instead they included neighbors in their free and open market economy.

“So the question is, "If Rome heard and implemented these changes though administrative behavior would Rome have fallen anyway?"

“Is it possible that perceiving these problems and implementing these actions would not have prevented Rome's fall? If so, these problems could be considered distractions. The historians and philosophers were not looking in the right places to see what was really causing Rome's fall.

“If they had looked more carefully they would have seen that the total human footprint of the Roman Empire was crashing into the empire's existing carrying capacity.

“They could have seen that, while the carrying capacity of the empire was growing because of improvements in technology and the acquisition of new resources through conquest, the total human footprint (made up of the collected footprints of individuals within the empire) was growing even faster.

“If this latter fact were true, the success of some to achieve improved wellbeing would transpire at the expense of others. A zero sum game would nullify beliefs that, a rising tide raises all ships, priming the economic pump improves everyone's wellbeing, and benefits trickle down.

“Rome fell because its resources and technology did not supply its needs adequately to prevent the creation of a zero sum game. The same is true for the Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Asian, and Native American civilizations before Rome, and a similar number of civilizations since Rome.

“So we must ask the question, "Why does each civilization not see and not address the problems of their total human footprint crashing into existing carrying capacity?"

“One answer is that each civilization is distracted by the more visible and immediate but less important problems.

“Is it possible that today climate change, consumption of non-renewable resources, over consumption of renewable resources, species extinction, social conflict, and overly risking extensions in technology, are problems that appear to us as larger than the unseen and unvalued problem of our total human footprint's approach to our existing carrying capacity?

“Is it possible that we do not see that our personal actions of, recycling, conservation, and more efficient use of resources will not prevent this collision or our civilization's collapse?

“Is it possible that we do not see that the policies (within the scope of our institutions) that encourage ecological actions in both the individual and commercial arenas will not prevent our civilization's collapse.

“Is it possible that these problems and these actions are distractions? That if these problems are aggressively addressed by these behaviors, our civilization will collapse anyway.

“Is it possible that we do not see that this time, collapse will not be a local dark age? That this time a new civilization, one that was waiting in the wings in a distant resource rich valley, will not emerge. This time it will be a global civilization going down. This time the hidden valley with the rich resources will have been found and included in the fall. This time the gifts of non-renewable resources will have been exhausted and the renewable resources will have been consumed to extinction in the social conflict that will end our global civilization.

“There is a way to deal with the problem of total human footprint crashing into carrying capacity. It's called Rapid Population Decline (or RPD). It requires universal compliance with a one child per family behavior.

“This behavior will keep our civilization from going the way of Rome -- if we are not too distracted by our more immediate problems to see the bigger problem and implement RPD to solve it.”

Visit Alpert’s website where you will see an overloaded Earth with a seven minute video that brings our human plight in graphic reality.  www.skil.org


Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents – from the Arctic to the South Pole – as well as six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border.  In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece.  He presents “The Coming Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it” to civic clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges.  He works to bring about sensible world population balance at www.frostywooldridge.com  He is the author of:  America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans.  Copies available:  1 888 280 7715




1 Comments in Response to

Comment by TL Winslow
Entered on:

Sorry, but the Distraction Theory is too simplistic, and no, it wasn't about mass immigration of M---cans or overpopulation, disease and wars depopulated Italy before the big fall in 476. Nobody knows for sure why Rome fell, it was theirs to lose and took a long time, but the biggest factor seems to be the fact that the Roman Catholic Church and its pope and clergy hated and couldn't stand the existence or Roman citizenship of illegal alien German heretic Arian Christians (who thought the Trinity was pagan and stuck with the Bible, which doesn't seem to preach it unless it's twisted out of context), and indeed it was the Arian Visigoths who finally took over the Western empire and split it up among themselves, while the pope turned into a big boss in Rome with secular and military powers, subbing for the kaput emperor and launching a remorseless war to convert them Arian heretics no matter how bad it hurt civilization, helping with a fifth column in Gaul to allow the orthodox German Franks to take it over, splitting the Germans against each other so nobody could reuinite the empire and resulting in the wasted Dark Ages, not that it wasn't already practically in place already after the destruction of all pagan learning and wisdom by the Christian emperors.

In the case of the U.S., if there's any threat that can do us in, it's resurgent Islam, and unless we recognize the threat and unite against it, it's a coin toss whether the U.S. will join the scrap heap of history. It's not just al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Iran, Pakistan, etc., it's a far greater threat called the Khilafah Movement, which wants to bring the Islamic caliphate back and unite all Muslims under it. What is a caliph? He's the official successor of Prophet Muhammad who has the power to declare jihad. The last one was abolished in the 1920s by pro-West secular Muslim leader Kemal Ataturk, whose grave they spit on. Right now Osama bin Laden has taken it on himself to declare jihad against the U.S. and Israel, but since he's no caliph that's the only reason he attracts thousands instead of 1.x billion to his call to arms. If you think I'm nuts check out this fun vid I got from a Pakistani site: Khilafah Conferences Study Islam's history free with me online and supercharge your mind with a rich golden brick road of key facts and knowledge to understand current events: http://go.to/islamhistory