Rome got too big, trying to “police the world”, got lazy and craved entertainment over about anything. Meanwhile, their government was devaluing their currency while they were being “entertained”.
While I’m not against entertainment, I do believe the government loves Americans being more “in the know” about what’s going on in a latest TV series, or on Netflix or at the movies, etc. They want the focus there, and not on them.
So yes, I agree with Danny’s comments above. It’s what we have happening today. It’s the traits of the latter stages of an empire.
What are some key signs of decline?
What are some common features of an empire’s culture in its declining period? Glubb describes developments like these:
1. Rampant sexual immorality, an aversion to marriage in favor of “living together” and an increased divorce rate all combine to undermine family stability. This happened among the upper class in the late Roman Republic and early Empire. The first-century writer Seneca once complained about Roman upper-class women: “They divorce in order to re-marry. They marry in order to divorce.”
The birthrate declines, and abortion and infanticide both increase as family size is deliberately limited. The historian W.H. McNeill has referred to the “biological suicide of the Roman upper classes” as one reason for Rome’s decline. Homosexuality becomes publicly acceptable and spreads, as was the case among the ancient Greeks before Rome conquered them.
2. Many foreign immigrants settle in the empire’s capital and major cities. The mixture of ethnic groups in close proximity in these cosmopolitan places inevitably produces conflicts.
Because of their prominent locations within the empire, their influence greatly exceeds their percentage of the population. Here diversity plainly leads to divisiveness.
We see this today in the growing conflict in European countries such as France and the Netherlands, where large numbers of immigrants are stoking violent cultural clashes. German chancellor Angela Merkel recently made headlines when she stated that attempts to create a multicultural society had “utterly failed” and immigrants must do more to integrate into society.
3. Both irresponsible pleasure-seeking and pessimism increase among the people and their leaders. The spirit described in 1 Corinthians 15:32 spreads throughout society: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
As people cynically give up looking for solutions to the problems of life and society, they drop out of the system. They then turn to mindless entertainment, to luxuries and sexual activity, and to drugs or alcohol.
The astonishingly corrupt and lavish parties of the Roman Empire’s elite are a case in point. The Emperor Nero, for instance, would spend the modern equivalent of $500,000 for just the flowers at some banquets.
4. The government provides extensive welfare for the poor. In the case of the city of Rome, which had perhaps 1.2 million people around A.D. 170, government-provided “bread and circuses” (food and entertainment) helped to keep the masses content. About one half of its non-slave population was on the dole at least part of the year.
True, helping the poor shows Christian compassion (Mark 14:7). But such help also can lead to laziness and dependency (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12). Such problems are especially likely when the poor believe state-provided charity is a permanent right or entitlement.
Some divide the rise and fall of an empire into 7 phases, other divide it into 5. Either way, it still goes through all of the same stuff: https://www.davidmurrin.co.uk/article/5-phase-life-cycle