James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Empire and Interest

Tom Englehart's interview with Chalmers Johnson (part 1 and part 2)has helped me frame what I mean by calling the USA an "empire:"
Empires are defined so often as holders of colonies, but analytically, by empire we simply mean the projection of hegemony outward, over other people, using them to serve our interests, regardless of how their interests may be affected.

So what kind of empire is ours? The unit is not the colony, it's the military base.
[emphasis added]

Forcing one group of people to serve the interests of another is at the heart not just of empire, but of the State itself. It doesn't start out that way, at least not in appearence. Our troops occupy a country for its own safety and security. We're the altruists. We have good intentions. Just as we pour money into social programs at home: we are interested in fighting poverty, illiteracy, illness, crime, etc.

And there are indeed some low-level and mid-level bureaucrats who do try to do the right thing, just as there are some Congressmen who actually believe that pouring more money into some program will do a lot of good. There are some American officers in Iraq who really are trying to make it less of a mess.

But once we let go of self-determination, whether as individuals, local communities, states, or even small countries, we find that the people in charge, the people determining our future, are not concerned with our own good, but with their own financial and political interests.

When a true believer of the State finds out he's been wasting his life defending a criminal racket, the consequences can be tragic. Ask the family and friends of Col. Westhusing.

Many reject individual freedom because they think people are too sinful and/or ignorant. But when coercion is introduced in a formerly voluntary state of affairs, the flaws of humanity instensify - not just among the coerced, but especially among the coercers. The arrangement soon abandons such notions as justice and security, except for rhetorical purposes. The real business is distributing the cash in such a way to keep the powerful in power rest economically dependent or too fearful to resist.

And when this untenable system finally does crash, it will be, just as it was in Russia in the 1990's, the very same powerful interests that will loot the remaining assets.

Only then will it occur to most Americans that the country is run by some really bad people.

1 comment:

  1. An empire need not engage in "direct rule", and "indirect rule" through proxies where possible is a much less expensive way of maintaining control. The process of decolonialization in the last century saw colonial powers cutting the costs of more direct rule and replacing it with more subtle influence. Also, indirect rule is easier to mystify.