Chris Hedges has walked through the barren remains of Babylon in Iraq and the ancient Roman city of Antioch, the capital of Roman Syria, which now lies buried in silt deposits. He has visited the marble ruins of Leptis Magna, once one of the most important agricultural centers in the Roman Empire, now isolated in the desolate drifts of sand southeast of Tripoli. Civilizations rise, decay and die. Time, as the ancient Greeks argued, for individuals and for states is cyclical. As societies become more complex, they become increasingly vulnerable. When they begin to break down, there is a strange retreat by a terrified and confused population from reality, an inability to acknowledge the self-evident fragility and impending collapse . At the end, the "elites" speak in phrases and jargon that do not relate to reality, retreating into isolated compounds, whether at the court at Versailles, the Forbidden City, or modern palatial estates. I believe we are now at that stage in America, where elites indulge in unchecked hedonism, the accumulation of even greater wealth, while the toiling masses are doomed before our entire hollowed-out edifice collapses. As food and water shortages expand across the globe, as mounting poverty and misery trigger street protests in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, the "elites" do what they always do. They launch more wars, build even greater monuments to themselves, and when it all unravels, they take it out on the backs of workers and the poor!