I’ve been using a term
a lot in recent articles, and suspect that I – if I haven’t, of course,
been taken out as a terrorist-sympathising danger to freedom – will be
using it more and more often in times to come, so I think I’d better
define exactly what I mean by it.
Since I’m too lazy to write the same thing over, and over, and over again, you know.
The term is the Empire.
Yes, it can be taken as short for “Evil Empire”, but all Empires are ipso facto evil in my book anyway, so let that pass for the moment.
What do I mean by this term?
obvious from the context that I used it that Empire has something to do
with the United States of America, and it’s easy to read it as a synonym for the United States of America. Unfortunately, and like most easy assumptions, it’s less than wholly accurate.
Of course, the Empire is based on the USA, but it’s both much less and much more.
The United States is a country,
and like all other countries, it has its good side and its bad side;
and like all other countries, it accumulates bad history the longer it
exists. Like all countries, too, most of its people don’t have a real
say in the policies followed by the government they allegedly vote for,
and (like many other people in all nations) are too wrapped up in their
personal problems to have much time left over to worry overmuch about
what goes on in the world.
That United States is merely a large, brash country, and it’s not the Empire.
Empire is not a single, unitary nation. It has no existence that can be
tied down in geographical area. It’s got a centre of power, of course,
and that centre of power is in Washington DC, but that power feeds off
sources from all over.
The Empire is, basically, a state of mind.
It’s a state of mind which takes for granted that a certain class of people
are privileged, in every measure, to rule over the world, and it’s as
natural as breathing that they should so rule over the world and do as
they wish to with the world.
As a corollary, anyone who wishes to
stop the Empire from ruling over the world is so obviously in the wrong
that it’s equally as natural as breathing to do whatever’s necessary to
put that person away.
It’s a state of mind that assumes that the
people need to be fed the comforting illusion that they have a voice in
how they are ruled, due to which they are put through faux voting
exercises which change nothing substantial, and absolutely nothing that
can shake the Empire’s position of power.
It’s a state of mind
that refuses to believe that it cannot shape, order and arrange what
happens in the reachable universe, even if the evidence is clear that it
It’s a state of mind that regards perpetual war as part
of a natural order of things that helps the Empire crush all opposition,
domestic as well as foreign, and plans for futuristic weaponry so
hi-tech that there are no conceivable circumstances in which they can
ever be used. Basically, these weapons are meant to be in the same class
as ceremonial uniforms and military parades – “feel good” stuff – as
well as a way of making money, Which brings us to the next point:
Empire is all about money. It’s ruled by the mega-rich for the
mega-rich, and exists in order to make the mega-rich even richer. The
mega-rich who comprise the Empire have no personal ambitions beyond even
greater riches, and they seek to achieve this through the agency of the
As a corollary, anyone who is not mega-rich does not
and cannot be part of the Empire. He or she can be treated either as an
enemy or exploited. To be ignored is a privilege, and usually a
temporary one, until the Empire can figure out a way to treat such
ignored people as enemies or to be exploited.
The Empire also, outside the core nation (the so-called “homeland”, as in “Homeland Security”) comprises two distinct classes
of vassals. The first class comprises the ruling sets of nations which
have completely abandoned all pretence of independent behaviour, to the
extent that they will place their own necks on the block, go
gratuitously to war, and do anything else required of them by the
Empire. An example: once Perfidious, but now merely Contemptible,
The second class of vassals would make the “wannabe”
group: the ruling sets of nations who desperately wish to be vassals of
the first class, but have not managed the transition yet. They, however,
bend over backwards to tailor their policies to what they imagine the
Empire requires of them, whether it does require this or not. Generally
speaking, these ruling sets continually and actively sabotage the best
interests of their own nations to please the Empire, and do this
voluntarily, unlike vassals of the first class, who no longer have a
choice. Example: India.
What is most important about the Empire
is its essentially illusionary nature. Despite its immense size and
apparent power and reach, the Empire is crumbling everywhere, and the
more it extends, the more fragile its structure becomes. That the same
Empire which can deploy satellite-guided nuclear missiles to hit targets
on the other side of the earth cannot defeat a fundamentalist band of
semi-literate villagers armed with AK-47s is proof enough.
Empire is doomed, and will end, as every Empire in the past has. Like
all Empires, it will take its time over its extinction, though it’s
likely that its collapse will take a much shorter time than, say, the
Roman or Mughal Empires, to name just two; and there will be, as in all
collapses, illusory moments of apparent revival. But in the end it will
bite the dust, and then the people the Empire ruled over will show no
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