By Keyla Sweeney
In his book Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1787), atheist Edward Gibbon, who studies the Roman Empire for 20 years, concluded that there were 5 main reasons for the collapse of the most powerful Empire of history:
- Undermining of the sanctity of the home, rapid increase of divorce; family is the foundation of any thriving society;
- Higher increase in taxes; over spending of money in entertainment and too much leisure time;
- Excessive pursue for pleasure, worshiping the culture of sports, becoming every year more exciting and more brutal;
- The building of gigantic armaments, when the real enemy was within; the decadence of the people. They were also threatened by northern European tribes and had low funds for defense. There was also disloyalty, lack of patriotism, and corruption.
- The decay of religion; faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life.
At the end of the book he also observed that those 5 elements not only were the cause of the downfall of the Roman Empire but that they may be present in greater or lesser degree in the collapse of any society.
What role does Patriotism plays in all that? Patriotism refers to the love and loyalty that we feel towards the country we live, while corruption refer to lack of honesty and integrity and there is a direct relation between Patriotism and Corruption.
I will give you a example. I’m from the Dominican Republic and in the last 15-18 years I have notice an interest for the authorities in the Government in rewrite the Dominican History. Erase some fundamental historical facts and some traditions that made us who we are. Is like an invisible hand was deliberately trying to erase our identity and when any nation don’t have a clear identity, of their roots; madness reigns. Think for a moment of countries that are currently in chaos? How is their level of Patriotism? Is there an army of their citizens willing to defended it? Do they respect their own laws? Do they keep a high standard of their institutions? No, they don’t. And that’s why Patriotism is so important. Now think of flourishing countries? How is their level of Patriotism?
In words of Mario Benedetti, my strategy instead is deeper and simpler. My strategy is that history and patriotism remain as a fundamental in the education. To instill in citizens love for their land, that they may be able to articulate clearly who they are and from where they came from. Patriotism is important for so more many reasons, but without its presence in citizens of a country, it cannot succeed. If the soldiers of a country did not love their homeland, then it would be hard for that country to win against an enemy that is jeopardizing the safety of the nation. Countries that had to fight for their independence were found by patriotic men and without their patriotism none of them would be enjoying independence today. Patriotism builds. Corruption destroys. It may seems simplistic but I read everyday headlines demonizing Patriotism and rename it as Racism and for all the canned beets on the earth, it’s not.
These are my two cents for today! I invite you to share yours in the comments.