We live in an empire. We live in an empire regardless of whether people recognize it as such. It is not all that difficult to reach that conclusion. One just needs to have a bit of historical perspective and have a wider view of the trends of the last few decades. An empire is characterized by sustained foreign intervention and ever-increasing levels of domestic despotism. As I shall show, The United States government satisfies both of my criteria.
There are U.S. military personnel stationed in over one hundred countries of the world. What is their purpose? The government and state worshippers will say that the U.S. is entitled to monitor and prevent conflicts as well as to provide assistance in international affairs. Yet if this is true, then why is it not the case for other countries? Most European countries, as well as China, for example, could easily open bases in the U.S and any other country that would allow them to monitor whatever they considered to be of national interest. The Federal government is the single largest force that the world has ever seen. With vast resources all over the globe, it intervenes in the internal affairs of most of the countries in the world: it supports and funds governments, gives regimes easy access to weapons, establishes laws, and uses its economic and political power to threaten and influence politicians. Those who claim that the military is "protecting and defending us" need to explain how "defense" became "offense." There is, however, some upper limit to intervention. When and how that occurs is still to be seen.
Another method of imperialism is to control the world's money. A huge number of countries use the dollar as their reserve currency. Over the years, foreign banks (both state and otherwise) have been buying U.S. debt at alarming rates. Since it is the purpose of an empire to become a hegemon, the U.S. government, via its inflationary tool, the Federal Reserve, continues to increase the money supply and add to the national debt. The money goes to fund domestic welfare and international warfare. As debt increases, the empire must continue to find ways to keep the demand for its money high. If this means further intervention, it must do so. A continuous inflationary policy, however, will inexorably lead to the fall of the dollar.
The central government is now the seat of a bipartisan group of egalitarians; they have embraced statism and collectivism and push forward their sociofascist agendas with extreme disdain. It barely matters if they do so under the rhetoric of "protecting our seniors" or "for the children" or "for your own good" or "compassionate conservatism" or "war on terror" or "war on drugs." In the end, every measure accelerates imperialism. Through their tactics of tax-and-spend or borrow-and-spend, the Federal government is trashing private property rights; it makes economic calculation more difficult; it diminishes our quality of live; and it hinders the peaceful and efficient market economy.
Every classical liberal lesson is ignored. We have a standing army. We go overseas for trouble. We are still mercantilists. We disarm the people. We lock up prisoners indefinitely. We issue fiat paper money. The Constitution is dead. Federalism is dead. Local police are being militarized. Secession is impossible. The rule of law has vanished and we're now being ruled by the tyranny of the masses: a social democracy where laws are determined lobbyists according to that day's political climate. Centralization of power, regulation and licenses, and heavy taxes are part of today's life. The police state is also here. Indeed, we are constantly attacked with searches and seizures. We are being watched and closely scrutinized while the socialists take our homes and the fascists regulate our lives.
Dr. Bill Barnett, in a recent interview, wonderfully summarizes the situation:
We have less freedom today in this society than our forbearers did two hundred years ago. They didn’t have this overweening federal government intervening in everything in their lives…
We have lost so much of the freedom that the people who went before us fought for and bled for that it’s immoral for us to just acquiesce in this loss of freedom that we have.
… our society, I believe, has been on the decline … [since] 1787 when Hamilton’s gang hijacked the Articles of Confederation, went to Philadelphia and wrote a Constitution… So I really think that in terms of human liberty we have been on the decline since then even though materially we’re growing. But now we’re going to reach a point -who knows, it could be very soon given the amount of debt that we have internationally and the way nobody’s saving domestically and the huge amount of government intervention – where we enter into a long period of economic stagnation and decline and of course with increasing losses of our liberty.
Nothing lasts forever and the U.S empire will fall one day. Perhaps the empire will fall as a result of military aggression. Perhaps it will fall due to monetary collapse, domestic uprising of maybe even secession. One thing is certain, though, there is an end. And it is not too far away.
December 2, 2005