Mother Jones


The fall of an empire is supposed to be a dramatic thing. It’s right there in the name. “Fall” conjures up images of fluted temple columns toppling to the ground, pulled down by fur-clad barbarians straining to destroy something beautiful. Savage invasions, crushing battlefield defeats, sacked cities, unlucky rulers put to death: These are the kinds of climaxes we expect from a narrative of rise, decline, and fall.

We’re all creatures of narrative, whether we think explicitly in those terms or not, and stories are one of the fundamental ways in which we engage with and grasp the meaning of the world. It’s natural that we expect the end of a story—the end of an empire—to have some drama.

The reality is far less exciting. Any political unit sound enough to project its power over a large geographic area for centuries has deep structural roots. Those roots can’t be pulled up in a day or even a year. If an empire seems to topple overnight, it’s certain that the conditions that produced the outcome had been present for a long time—suppurating wounds that finally turned septic enough for the patient to succumb to a sudden trauma.

That’s why the banalities matter. When the real issues come up, healthy states, the ones capable of handling and minimizing everyday dysfunction, have a great

Anda sedang membaca pratinjau, daftarlah untuk membaca selengkapnya.

Lainnya dari Mother Jones

Mother Jones3 mnt membaca
Plot For America
Locked in the worst economic slump in its history, Detroit is beset by unemployment and covered in abandoned lots. Surveying the ruins of a boom gone bust, an innovative mayor envisions a blooming city while a diverse population gets busy tilling the
Mother Jones11 mnt membaca
Going Postal
H. Drew Galloway, executive director of MOVE Texas, spends his life trying to register young voters. Typically, in the spring of an election year, Galloway would be overseeing a staff of about four dozen who, before classes end for the summer, regist
Mother Jones1 mnt membaca
Black Deaths Matter
For sources, visit ■