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A Texas Reader Reminds Us That When Demography Runs Backward Fast Enough, Empires Can Fall—As Rome Did
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July 19, 2011, 05:00 AM
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Re: An Alabama Reader Respectfully Disputes Pat Buchanan`s Demographic Conclusions

From: Gerald Martin (e-mail him)

Although I wholeheartedly agree with most of what "Engineer in Alabama" says about demographics in his critique of Pat Buchanan`s column, I take exception to his statement, ". . . no society in recorded history has ever gone extinct because of not having any children."

Well, maybe not having any children, but what about not having enough children?

Tenney Frank, the early-20th century American historian of Rome, made the case that one society, or at least one people—the ancient Romans—did go extinct, precisely because they failed to reproduce themselves and were replaced by their slaves. Frank cites the vast numbers of slaves imported into Italy after the Punic Wars, who competed with the lower classes—the plebeians—for jobs, gradually replacing them as workers and farmers as small family farms—the mainstay of Roman plebs—were engrossed in huge latifundia (the corporate farms of the day), cultivated by thousands of slaves, the ultimate cheap labor alternative of the ancient world. Unable to support themselves, the plebs gradually disappeared or merged with the growing slave and freedmen classes.

The upper classes—the patricians—were devastated by the civil wars which wracked Rome as the republic gave way to the empire. Many of the oldest and most distinguished patrician families were wiped out.

There were other reasons for the decline of both groups, especially the hedonistic culture—fueled by the vast wealth flowing into Rome from her conquests—that was devoted to conspicuous consumption, gladiator sports, and orgies, instead of the traditional Roman values of family and children. By the time Augustus seized power, so few Roman men were getting married that he passed laws penalizing bachelorhood, to little effect. As Frank and other historians have observed, modern Italians are not so much the descendants of the Romans as they are descendants of Roman slaves.

VDARE.com readers can spot the parallels between what happened to the Romans and what is happening to us.

But our situation may be even worse. I am not aware of any society in history which was as anti-family and anti-children as ours. I blame this on the rise of the extremely powerful feminist and homosexual lobbies, who are steadily transforming our society in ways VDARE.com readers are all too familiar with.

Martin is a former Army officer and high school teacher descended from cowboys, Texas Rangers, and railroad workers. See his previous letters.