In the middle of the 1800’s, the US stepped upon the road to Empire. By the middle of the 1900’s, the US was an empire. Today, that empire has expanded to its limit and is in decline.
Ron Paul at the Republican Debate was John the Baptist at Herod’s court. He was the child exclaiming the emperor has no clothes. He was the Ghost of Christmas Future pointing a bony finger at Ebenezer Scrooge. He was the Truth that can not be denied only denounced, ignored and expelled.
Denial is both grotesque and delicate. Ron Paul’s history in the Republican Party is who we like to believe we are but it stands in such stark contract to reality we can only turn our faces away in shame. The more base among us even want to shoot the messenger.
Our denial requires we say “super power” instead of “empire.” We like to see ourselves as a simple constitutional republic engaged in international free trade. That force is required to protect free trade is a harsh reality we never look at too closely. The world is full of pirates and crooks who prey on merchants. It takes power to protect the flow of goods. The power of an empire.
As our empire grew, force was required to open new markets. From Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan to the oil fields of the Middle East, these were trading arrangements created by the power of an empire.
In the declining years of our empire, our credit is backed by the threat of force. Now a nation of consumers, the power of empire is needed to acquire the goods of a world of producers we created.
This is not a new tale. Rome, the Aztecs, Spain, France and England have been down this road well ahead of us. Empires are not evil in and of themselves. Empire is the natural course of nations. From small tribes to world powers, all social organizations expand to the limits of their ability – then collapse.
Don’t get me wrong. I kinda like the lifestyle that comes with being the citizen of an empire. I’m just not in denial about the cost of my lifestyle. Ron Paul’s words didn’t shock or offend me. They were a simple statement of the truth. If anything, thanks to time constraints, his words fell well short of stating the full reality of our situation.
All the front running candidates both Democrat and Republican seem the same because there is only one issue upon which to campaign: pandering to the voters. The guardians of an empire must keep the public appeased to stay in power. No matter how inane, the public must be told what it wants to believe and given the creature comforts to which it feels entitled.
First, a politician can never admit we are an empire. A politician must swear to protect our environment and furry little animals. Whose environment is producing the oil and whose furry little animals are dying to keep our bodies warm and bellies full is not a subject for political debate. We don’t want to know how our sausage is made, We just want it served with a couple of eggs and country gravy.
All the politicians speak of the crisis about to happen but still in the future. “We have a looming Social Security crisis”. The government is taxing Social Security benefits, increasing Social Security taxes and raising the retirement age. It looks as if we are already well into the crisis and the only problem is running out of K-Y jelly before the next government solution assaults us.
The politicians can speak of protecting us from terrorism but heaven forbid anyone say the terrorists hate us. We are just a simple constitutional republican buying some oil to keep our wheels rolling to and from work. Our politicians can talk about evil oil companies but we don’t want to know about the force required to keep the oil flowing. We don’t buy oil from happy little democracies. It comes from hell-hole countries that never came out of the Middle Ages. The American Empire picks a side and keeps it in power so we don’t have to walk to work.
All our politicians want to get us out of Iraq and place the blame of being there on the other politicians they hope to defeat. Their pie holes are hot and loud about the public opinion that want us out but are strategically silent on any public blame for getting us in. When every man, Jack and potted plant on this planet knew the Hitler of Iraq was trying to make The Bomb, it was our war. When we found out war includes our people getting killed too, it became Bush’s war.
All our politicians look like empty suits ripped off the rack of some discount department store because we can’t handle the Truth. We don’t want to hear about a constitution that doesn’t include welfare, abortion laws, the right to health care, Social Security, child labor laws or wars against ism’s. We want what ever feels good and someone else to do the heavy lifting.
We are the modern Roman Empire. The words of our Founding Fathers is our Spartacus and the Constitution our Hannibal hammering at the gate. We force our politicians to become sin eaters feasting at the corpse of our liberty. All this and more just so we can believe we are just a simple constitutional republican instead of an empire.
Brian Wilson [send him mail] is a talk show host, author and speaker. He’s heard on better talk radio stations across the country through his Vacation Relief Service and most recently vented his libertarian views on KSFO/San Francisco.