America on same path as Mayans
TBO.comSo, the world did not end on Dec. 21 after all. Why am I not surprised?
Published: December 30, 2012
Published: December 30, 2012
Perhaps because, contrary to what has been reported ad infinitum, the Maya never said it would. Yes, the Maya did accurately project a calendar ending with the date 12/21/12, but any reference to that being the end of time was purely conjecture on the part of those who found that calendar amid the Mayan ruins. What the Maya did not project was the demise of their own society.
The Maya lived in what is today Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and parts of Guatemala and Belize. They formed an advanced society for their time and excelled at agriculture, pottery, writing, calendar-making and mathematics. They built elaborate, stepped limestone pyramids and left behind numerous impressive works of art. They also built some 40 cities with a total population of around 2 million.
However, beginning around A.D. 900, the great Mayan cities were gradually abandoned, and by the time Spanish invaders arrived in the 1500s, nearly all surviving Mayans lived in unimpressive small agrarian villages. Those who have studied the Mayan culture and excavated its abandoned cities generally agree that overpopulation, slash-and-burn farming methods, endemic tribal wars and extensive drought (climate change) combined to bring down the once mighty Mayan culture. In other words, the Maya were, for the most part, the source and cause of their own demise. Sound familiar?
Today, once great and mighty America finds itself in a similar long, slow decline. We led the way, showing the nations how a society built on freedom, capitalism and free enterprise could succeed like no other system ever tried. Yet today, it seems to all be falling apart.
So, let's tick off the causes of the Mayan demise and compare.
1. Overpopulation. Though ours is mostly caused by illegal immigration, the result is the same. Our resources, infrastructure and government can't keep up with demand for entitlements, goods and services.
2. Outdated farming methods. Witness the rush to pass the antiquated Farm Bill and thus avoid massive hikes in milk prices due, not to demand, but to the government's outdated farm legislation. We should trash the bloated 1947 Farm Bill and write a new one that recognizes the realities, methods, and needs of agriculture in 2013.
3. Endemic tribal wars. Could anything be more counterproductive or more self destructive than the bickering and backstabbing witnessed during the 2012 presidential election? In a word, yes: the ongoing fracas between the Republican House and Democratic Senate. It is a national disgrace. Maybe we should just push all of Congress over the cliff and let them duke it out. They seem incapable of resolving any problem in a civilized manner.
4. Climate change. This seems to be the catch-all boogey-man in the closet no matter what the issue at hand.
Welcome to 2013, America. Unfortunately, it looks a heck of a lot like A.D. 900: once-mighty cities in decline (have you seen Detroit lately?), constant fighting (unions and right-to-work states), supply and demand hopelessly out of sync (gas prices through the roof while our own oil sits under our feet, untapped).
Must history always repeat itself? My, oh Maya.