On this day 2,061 years ago, in 42 BC, the Roman civil war caused by Julius Caesar’s assassination culminated in Brutus’ suicide at the Battle of Philippi, with Mark Antony and Octavian emerging victorious.
I don’t know nearly enough about ancient Rome to compare it to the United States today, but my colleague Tim Murphy does. His father, Cullen Murphy, wrote a book answering the crucial question: Are We Rome? As Murphy the Elder told Murphy the Younger in an interview we recently published:
I think people have a wrong sense of what the quote-unquote “Fall of Rome” actually was…It wasn’t a single catastrophic collapse. It was a slow, lumbering, messy deterioration. When you look at what is happening to the United States right now you see something very similar. It’s not being caused by one single silver bullet of a threat. It’s many things happening at once, whether it’s lack of investment in core activities, whether it’s diminishing trust in institutions, whether it’s growing corruption, whether it’s inequality.
Oof. If history repeats itself, take it from Brutus and don’t try to assassinate any dictators. It only leads to trouble.
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