Historians have pointed to a variety of factors to explain the collapse of the Roman Empire. They've cited foreign invasions, an overstretched military, political and economic instability, and the rise of Christianity, to name a few. But Tea Party hero and potential 2016 presidential candidate Ben Carson his his own theory: it was political correctness that contributed to Rome's fall, and it could lead to America's.
Carson expanded on the notion in an interview with Bloomberg Politics' Phil Mattingly. "For Carson," Mattingly writes, "the canary in the American coalmine is political correctness."
“The reason that is very troubling to me," Carson explains, "is that it's the very same thing that happened to the Roman Empire. They were extremely powerful. There was no way anybody could overcome them. But these philosophers, with the long flowing white robes and the long white beards, they could wax eloquently on every subject, but nothing was right and nothing was wrong. They soon completely lost sight of who they were.”
Conservatives, of course, have long assailed political correctness, particularly when they're called out for racially insensitive, homophobic, or sexist remarks. But Carson's theory that it's connected to civilizational collapse is certainly a new one.
If we go the way of Rome, however, Carson won't blame it entirely on political correctness; he has also written that marriage equality "is a slippery slope with a disastrous ending, as witnessed in the dramatic fall of the Roman Empire."
A new Bloomberg poll finds that Carson -- who rose to conservative stardom after denouncing Obamacare at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, as President Obama sat just feet away -- is a leading GOP contender in Iowa, the site of the nation's first presidential caucuses. Carson garnered 11 percent support in the poll, trailing only Mitt Romney, who has insisted he won't run for president again but nonetheless led the field at 17 percent.