H.G. Wells makes a compelling argument that one reason for the fall of Rome was a total lack of interest in knowledge in general, and science in particular.
As Well’s wrote, in Volume 2 of his Outline of History,the Roman imperial system was remarkable for an
absence of any free mental activity and any organization for the increase, development, and application of science. It respected wealth and despised science. It gave government to the rich, and imagined that wise men could be bought and bargained for in the slave markets when they were needed …
Sounds all too familiar. Our system puts our “wise” people in academic enclaves, pulling them out when they are “useful.” Thus, we see many governors and attorneys general arguing that climate change does not exist, ignoring all the while the experts working for them at their own state academic institutions. Remarkable.