Specifically, I am interested in the decline of virtue and its impact on society. The period right before and during Caesar's rise, reign, and assassination saw an increased abandonment of the core principles, values, and responsibilities that girded the Roman Republic. The following is an apt description of the times.
"As soon as riches came to be held in honor, when glory, dominion, and power followed in their train, virtue began to lose its luster, poverty to be considered a disgrace, blamelessness to be termed malevolence. Therefore...riches, luxury, and greed, united with insolence, took possession of our young manhood. They pillaged, squandered; set little value on their own, coveted the goods of others; they disregarded modesty, chastity, everything human and divine; in short they were utterly thoughtless and reckless."
Now you can understand why people like Cato were so ticked. But doesn't that also sound like today in America? Causes, unity, and respect have given away to TMZ, boorishness, selfishness, self indulgence, and laziness. We've gone from the "Greatest Generation" to "Generation X" in less than 40 years. I don't want to be the bum who says that the sky is falling but I can't help but look at the above quote and think it does such a good job of encapsulating one of the big causes to the fall of one Republic and the weakening of another modern one.