Empires (Like the U.S.) Fall When Corruption Becomes Rampant

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Top Tier Gear USA

This post originally appeared on Washington’s Blog.


Widespread corruption destroys empires.

By way of example, corruption was one of the main causes of the collapse of the Roman Empire:

The Praetorian Guard—the emperor’s personal bodyguards—assassinated and installed new sovereigns at will, and once even auctioned the spot off to the highest bidder [and see this]. The political rot also extended to the Roman Senate, which failed to temper the excesses of the emperors due to its own widespread corruption and incompetence. As the situation worsened, civic pride waned and many Roman citizens lost trust in their leadership.

The Ottoman Empire started its decline when the sale of offices, bribery and corruption became widespreadIndeed:

Most historians point to “degenerate Sultans, incompetent Grand Viziers, debilitated and ill-equipped armies, corrupt officials, avaricious speculators, grasping enemies, and treacherous friends.

The Yuan Empire (led by the Mongols) also collapsed due to corruption:

The decline of the [the Yuan empire] was a result of a number of factors, these being incompetent and rivaling leaders, corruption, revolts, decadence, factional struggles, assassinations, external attacks, and disease.


Toward the end, corruption and the persecution became so severe that Muslim generals joined Han Chinese in rebelling against the Mongols.

Former history professor at the University of Alabama Larry Clayton notes:

The [Roman] republic evolved into an empire and the empire grew corrupt from its own tremendous power. There arose, like mushrooms after a long rain, self-indulgent vices driven by pride and power. An oft quoted observation noted:

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” wrote the English essayist and historian Lord Acton in 1887.

Long after the Roman Empire disappeared, other empires, notably the ones of France, England, and Spain began with the conquest and settlement of the New World. By the end of the nineteenth century, European nations had created economic, military and commercial empires across much of the globe.

Watching the rise and fall of empires is like watching a predictable ballet or opera, or even a Hollywood movie, all with distinct beginnings, middles, and ends, marked by triumph after triumph, crisis after crisis, and then the resolution of it all at the end. The curtain drops. The lights come on. The European empires lasted until the Second World War, and then crashed.


We come full circle to our question, “why do empires fall?” An empire falls when it becomes so self-important that it loses touch with the values that produced it. They begin to think they are destiny of the world.

There is a glowing sense of power that is irresistible, and those who get to the controls lose touch with the ancient virtues that gave their people their value and worth.

Indeed, an ancient Chinese principle holds that empires collapse when:

Corruption becomes rampant in the imperial court, and the empire begins to enter decline and instability.

(Indeed, Bastiat showed that corruption at the top leads to lawlessness among the people.)

As we’ve exhaustively documented, corruption is rampant in the the U.S. today.

In addition, widespread corruption leads to runaway inequality. Specifically, one of the biggest causes of runaway inequality is that the big banks are manipulating every market, and committing massive crimes. Fraud disproportionately benefits the big banks, makes boom-bust cycles more severe, and otherwise harms the economy … all of which increase inequality and warp the market. These actions artificially redistribute wealth from honest, hard-working people to a handful of crooks.  And corrupt government officials have aided and abetted this.

Runaway inequality – in turn – leads to the fall of empires … through unrest or revolution.

Indeed, inequality was . In fact, inequality in America today is twice as bad as in ancient Rome, worse than it was in in Tsarist Russia, Gilded Age America, modern Egypt, Tunisia or Yemen, many banana republics in Latin America, and worse than experienced by slaves in 1774 colonial America.

Institutional corruption is also leading to a lack of trust … which is collapsing the economy.

Spending $5 trillion dollars on imperial wars of adventure which make us less safe than ever is also destroying the economy … and America’s prestige.

And throwing trillions more at banks which committed massive and systemic fraud is killing the economy … and the belief in a free market in the U.S.

Indeed, the U.S.A. is following the pattern of ALL past empires as they declined:

  • They financialize their economy … going from manufacturing to speculation
  • They incur very high levels of debt
  • They overreach in costly military adventures
  • They become arrogant and lazy
  • They collapse soon after their peak

No wonder the American Empire is starting to collapse …

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  • md

    good article. need to proofread your typing

    • jame watts

      Stfu!!! No one give a fuck about the typing errors you ass swipe.the point was made, and as long as you understood it it did not matter. Now keep your fucking mouth shut until your fuckin balls drop you got it.

  • Guillotine_ready

    I was considering an appropriate punishment for members of congress, bureaucrats and greedy money grubbers, I think I have one that would satisfy me.
    Put them on a stage 10 at a time, the rules are simple while the music plays they dance, and I mean an energetic dance no slow stuff. If one drops or stops dancing while the music plays they are shot. No questions, no appeals, no hesitation.
    Awful and disgusting to have to think this way but the way they have treated us for so long makes it impossible to avoid thinking about justice and retribution sometimes.

    • Lance Elliott

      Justice for those who destroy the Earth requires Cosmic resources of supernatural origin. http://biblehub.com/revelation/11-18.htm

      • Lydiahwang

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    • archer

      Why not just tar and feather?

    • doucyet

      Just an observation…………..

      Bill the eighth – Sunshine 18 hours ago.

      Agreed, cops are the biggest criminal gang in the country.

      Guillotine_ready – Bill the eighth 16 hours ago.

      Yes that is exactly what they are. And the culture they help to
      create is a big reasons gangs exist. Gangs start by offering mutual
      protection and a chance to belong to something. Watching the cops would lead a lot of people to glorify crime.

      Guillotine_ready 16 hours ago.

      I was considering an appropriate punishment for members of congress, bureaucrats and greedy money grubbers, I think I have one that would satisfy me. Put them on a stage 10 at a time, the rules are simple while the music plays they dance, and I mean an energetic dance no slow stuff. If one drops or stops dancing while the music plays they are shot. No questions, no appeals, no hesitation.

  • hadabellyfull

    This how fued it is now with obummer


  • Tatiana Covington

    Problem: people are not equal.

    • sunshine

      And no amount of wishing and hoping REALLY hard will ever change that. Neither will pretending, forcing people to pretend, or anything else.

  • Corruption only develops where it is tolerated and profitable to the corrupt.
    If We the People would just shun the corrupt and refuse to support or tolerate them, they would go somewhere else. Most people are too busy working 9 to 5, or 6, or 7, or… trying to hold onto a standard of living that is being taxed away from them by inflation to be able to form a formal response to corruption. Society is better maintained by the Heinlein principle than by officialdom.

    • sunshine

      You get a lot of flak on this site, but I really enjoy your comments. They’re very insightful.

      • Thank you. Your posts are better when you do your own thinking instead of being swayed by evidence which is no more than spun statistics, which is what I suspect anything from the DOJ of being, FWIW.

        • sunshine

          Understandable 🙂

    • berrybestfarm

      The corrupt will not go somewhere else. They arrest and jail those of us who educate and actively oppose them. You can’t participate in the revolution from jail.

  • jim_robert

    Not sure if this article is true… but then, I guess that depends upon what the meaning of “is” is!!!

    But seriously, the article is spot on.

  • Libertarian Jerry

    The Roman Senator and historian Tacitus once stated,almost two thousand years ago,”the more laws the more corruption.” With over 100,000 laws,statutes,ordinances and regulations now on the books nationally is it any wonder that the American Empire is corrupt to the point of collapse.

  • archer

    In other words the “fish rots from the head down”.

  • Nexusfast123

    Lucius Annaeus Seneca wrote that “increases are of sluggish growth, but the way to ruin is rapid.”

  • nonsheepoele

    So, the US government lied to its own people and the world when they accused Al-Assad of using sarin gas on his own people, and wanted to “sell” that as the excuse to invade Syria.

    This is why, every time any representative of the US government makes a statement, it is most probably a lie to sell the American people an agenda, the most commonly more war.

  • Reverend Draco

    Power addicts. Absolute power addicts absolutely.

    Look at anyone in a position of power – they’re like a tweaker or crackhead, spending more time looking to score the next dose than in actually taking care of business.

    They’re not so much corrupt as they are desperately staving off withdrawal symptoms. . .

    • SP_88

      Like how 0bama was campaigning throughout his whole first term. He was more concerned with securing a second term than being the president. He even spent a billion dollars to be re-elected. What a small man he is. It’s all political theatre and it’s for the purpose of inflating the egos of these pitiful men with a quick fix of power to be injected right into their veins.
      And you can tell when the shakes are getting bad because they start acting very irrational and worrying about political enemies rising to power and trying to steal the throne from them. Wars, martial law and crackdowns on dissidents will usually accompany the fear of losing their power and the withdrawal symptoms of a burned out politician. I think that 0bama is getting the end of his presidency withdrawal symptoms. He knows that once he is done here, he is done, and there is nowhere to go but down. All his political actions will likely be dumped out with him because they are so unwanted. And he will sink back into the unknown from whence he came. And he can’t stand the idea of being a nobody once again. And he likely can’t stand the idea of knowing that so many people will be glad to see him gone.
      And instead of being remembered as the first black president, he will be remembered as the worst president who was a communist party sympathizer that attempted to undermine the constitution and our freedom, but failed miserably because of the resolve of the American people. Good riddance.

      • Reverend Draco

        Good riddance, indeed.

  • AllodialTitle

    Unlawfully detained by Godless P’sOS? Sue the Hell outta’ the swill:

    http://openjurist.org/741/f2d/336/trezevant-v-city-of-tampa-c-trezevant for one fun case concerning the right to liberty.

    http://www.aele.org/law/Digests/civilmenu.html and enjoy these 269 grounds to sue the pukes that be, make them the vomit that was.

    don’t let the feds get bribed legally: http://www.ini-world-report.org/2014/05/20/payoffs-for-judges-prosecutors-is-legal-by-statute/ object on the record.

    demand ratification of commencement / demand a real party in interest :

    http://freedom-school.com/law/ratification-of-commencement.html and:


    Get some learning so you are not intimidated by pukes: cops/lawyers/’judges’

  • AllodialTitle

    maybe chromebook is too much of a hassle to bother

  • Meltonmark

    I don’t know which is worse, US, UK, or EU. Look at the ills facing the world today. Almost all of them have their origins in the US.UK axis, with contributions from the EU just for good measure. It isn’t the American or British people. It is corrupt leaders. There again, who votes for them every time…?