So, small difference.
So it is totally irrelevant with the current situation.
I can envision terrorist attacks doing major irreversible damage to our society, but only through the fear, spiraling out of control, that they have the potential to cause. A fear so excessive that it could figuratively drive our society off the cliffs of Saipan.
Presumably (since you appear to be advocating fear, and since it would be plainly idiotic to suggest a sacking is immenent) you are suggesting a different mechanism.
So what is this mechanism?
An attack a hundred times more deadly (which would be something like 3% of NYC's population dead, if my mental math does not betray me, or something a little less than 10x The Blitz.) than 9/11 would be a tragedy with only a few parallels in history. It would be an astronomically staggering blow to our economy. Hell, the mangled remains of the economy after such an attack probably would not even be recognizable as an economy at all... But bring down our society? No, not unless we allowed our fear to betray us. Not unless we abandoned any pretenses of maintaining our morale. Not unless we permit it to destroy us.
To be honest, it really just sounds like you've been having too many Red Dawn fantasies. There are no more barbarian hoards; sorry to disappoint.
Here is the real trick though, this "New Rome" is not a city. We don't have a seat of power from which we derive our identity and shared culture, or any sort of sackable cultural Mecca which we define ourselves by. You could level NYC and kill every last person in it, dismantle the government and turn dollars into papiermarks, but you would not have dismantled the society.
Remaining you would still have hundreds of millions of Americans with no invading army to eradicate them and what they beleived in. More importantly, you would still billions of others, across the world, who would continue to make up bulk of our society. The worldwide shared culture of the 21st century, of which Americans represents but a fraction. A culture of appreciation for scientific progress, the arts, and political theories. A collective history, solemly remembering the same wars, sharing the same accomplishments. A Library of Alexandria that (thanks to dramatic advances in publishing and distribution since the last) cannot be burned.
A few well placed bombs by a few extremists who want nothing to do with any of this could never put an end to all of this. This is a society that cannot be taken, cannot be sacked; we can only give it up. Only we present an existential threat to ourselves.
Could there be massive lose of life, and would that be worth preventing? Absolutely. Are these people the Germanic hoards, posed to sack us? Are they in a position to dismantle our society? No.
Also, the word you should be using is 'hordes.' Hoards are things like piles of gold or other valuables.
What is your point? I am not claiming that the aspects of our society that we cherish are unique to our society, or were absent in Roman society.
"...a culture which is not nearly as universal as you seem to imagine."
We are talking essentially about the society of all developed and rapidly developing nations. This is not an American concept; even if this hypothetical mega-attack caused the American governmnet to go tits up it would survive, both domestically and throughout the world. Not even "starvation or hopelessness" would erase this modern identity. Not any starvation falling short of extinction-threatening.
Are particularly American perspectives in our modern society something that is, outside of the US, less than universal (to say the least)? Certainly. But 1) who cares? American perspectives are but few of many in modern society, 2) such perspectives are not endangered, and would not be endangered by any collapse of our particular current government.
By all means, you can all carry on being afraid. Your fear, your lack of resolve, your lack of confidence in our way of life... that is the real threat. It is that which the (few existing) terrorists wish to stoke.
You're defining "society" as a pointless philosophical abstraction. I'm defining "society" in terms of the only thing I care about: the people and country around me. I'm not interested in the history books that remain to be written. I think most Americans feel similarly. It might be satisfying in some intellectual sense if "the worldwide shared culture of the 21st century" (of which America might represent a small fraction numerically, but which is disproportionately American in its composition) survives, but does little good for Americans who suffer.
The country/government is irrelevant, the people are the society and that is what I am defining it as. Governments have come and gone with great frequency; societies almost always survive them. Really only genocides, cultural or otherwise, can halt them (and mad bombers are in no position to perform any sort of genocide against modern society).
It strikes me as a fairly American-centric viewpoint that conflates American government and American society. Plenty of other countries with strong, long-lived, cultural identities have gone through numerous governments in past centuries, many of these governments lasting a few short decades or less. A government is much easier to kill than a society, and dies with far fewer consequences.
If the death of a society is not what you are actually concerned about, then perhaps you should have put some thought into your initial comment before drawing comparisons to the fall of the roman empire. If merely the fall of governments and economies is what you are worried about, there are countless better examples.
I don't know that that's a likely outcome, but I think it's possible. In any case, I think this idea that we can pre-emptively kill everyone who might possibly attack us at some point in the future is both dangerous and evil.
Starvation or hopelessness tends to erode idealism pretty quickly. You don't need any kind of ridiculous Red Dawn fantasy to appreciate the possibility of critical injury; nor would the fall of an empire be an overnight thing. It's relatively easy to identify strategic weak points with the potential to tip a country into a tailspin.
We have numerous great examples of total societal collapse and eradication. Starvation to the point of extinction can do it on islands with no resources, disease can do it in previously isolated societies with no defense against it, invading armies can do it, and mass immigration and cultural conversion can do it. None of those is adaquate or available to a bunch of redneck bomb-chuckers. Not if they are trying to erradicate a society that spans countries, continents, languages, and armies.
Modern society simply does not face an existential threat from terrorists. They can do a lot of damage sure, but they will not erradicate modern society. If you want to suggest otherwise you are going to have to do better than "a few hundred thousand Americans die, the American government crumbles under the disaster relieve effort, then people start eating each other." I know you guys are really digging that fantasy, but you are delusional if you really think that would pose a threat to the modern global society.
that's one point of reference.
Here a different point of reference. It involved about 1/10 the number of annual automobile accident deaths.
Human beings are not automotons.
Huh? Are you replying to someone else who made a claim about resource allocation (bc I didn't)?