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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Monday, June 18, 2007

Did Rome Fall Because of Immigration?

I doubt that the favorite historical analogy of the anti-immigration Right holds water.

Rome's economy can be tracked by measuring the lead content of peat bogs in Spain. Those bogs show that Rome's GDP (and probably other measures of its power) was well down from its peak even before Valens invited in the Visigoths. The barbarian invasions were a consequence of Rome's weakness, not a cause.

It's unlikely there were very many Gothic immigrants anyway, or at least not enough for much of a linguistic impact. The languages spoken in most of Western Europe are derived from Latin, not German.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Dave said...

Promised myself I wouldn't give up on reminding you every time it comes up: There is no anti immigration right. All Americans, without exception, are unequivocally in favor of immigration.

Conservatives believe that government policies have unintended consequences. This doesen't only apply to Libertarian pet causes. No matter how true EVERY argument in favor of open-borders may be, that does not mean that we should act like there are no legitimate security concerns, TB isn't contagious, none of the precidents being set here are at all worrysome, law abiding English speaking immigrants who intend to assimilate are not prefferable to illegal non-English speaking immigrants who do not intend to assimilate, that the socialist policies that made citizen labor too expensive in the first place aren't being perpetuated by making non-citizen labor exemp, that there is no number of unassimilable aliens that a nation could take in without any adverse long term cultural impact at all.

Now that I'm all worked up, I'm goint to demand that you justify your discrimination against Asian, African, and European immigrants.

5:54 PM  
Blogger kate@warrenandkate.com said...

I would have said the opposite - in the end, Rome fell because it was no longer flexible enough and/or willing to continue to absorb other peoples into their empire. The number one reason Rome grew so fast in the first place, and I am not sure #2 is even close, is because it developed a flexible system for integrating and absorbing other peoples as it expanded.

This effectively stopped by the time of the conquests of Julius Caesar. In fact, they left the Goths and other new tribes of Europe as outsiders, eventually leading to Rome's downfall (when combined with the dysfunctional precedents that had been set since around 100BC for use of violence in internal politics and rule succession.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Now that I'm all worked up, I'm goint to demand that you justify your discrimination against Asian, African, and European immigrants.

That reminds me...

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

I am for reverse migration. Let Americans start crossing the border into Mexico in the millions and begin to set down roots there. Turnabout is fair play !

6:37 AM  

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