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Odds-n-Ends :: Learning From the Fall

U.S. News recently did an interview with Cullen Murphy, author of the new book, Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America. Murphy's book examines the striking similarities between present-day America and ancient Rome. When asked how we reverse our own tendencies toward decline, Murphy answered with the following:

"One way is to instill in younger Americans an apprciation of the outside world. That encludes encouraging people to learn at least one foreign language. Second, stop treating government as a necessary evil and start taking pride in what government can do well--and give government the means to keep doing it. Third, let's try to see immigration as a source of strength, and to play to it. And then, fourth, we have to take some weight off the American military, which means we need to stop giving it so many missions. There's one final thing, and that's remembering who we are. The Roman elites were not looking to improve life for the vast majority of the Romans. [But] Americans believe in self-betterment, in the possibility of improvement for everybody. That ethic is our saving grace: It's the empire of possibilty."

What do you think? Read the entire article at www.USNews.com (May 7, 2007).


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