Author: CharmingDevil PM
This essay: The current crisis in Europe and the dilemma facing the Germans and the GreeksRated: Fiction K - English - Chapters: 5 - Words: 8,504 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 06-18-12 - Published: 02-03-12 - id: 2994268
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THE FUTURE OF NATIONS
A series of essays and musings by an advocate of a universal, objective, rational nationalism
Let me start by telling you what this isn't.
Empire, and all such related words-imperialism, imperium, as in the title-are controversial words the world over. They are often used by advocates of isolationism, socialism, and communism, to demonize current foreign policy of the United States, or even to criticise domestic policy and attitudes. Across the political spectrum, the word is used mostly to demonize. It is close in reputation to the word 'fascist'-no longer a specific accusation, but rather a vague, but vitriolic, expression of disapproval with certain policies. I am well read enough to know that most works in which the words "America" and "Empire" are conflated in the title are singular criticisms from varying viewpoints of American foreign policy.
That is not what this is, though I am not advocating America's current foreign policy, nor condemning it, universally. I take these sort of things on a case by case basis.
There is also a smaller cadre, though very vocal, who in general approve of attempts by the US federal government to influence the culture and the policy of foreign nations through the use of military power. These authors often portray themselves as mavericks, set as they are against a larger pool of ideologues who disagree with them, and embracing the much demonized term 'Empire.'
That is not what this is, either. I am not universally pleased with US foreign policy, I find many of America's wars foolish, poorly thought out, and incompetently executed, with no clear goal in mind.
Why then do I choose the word Imperium, with all its political and historical complexities? Because I find that word most accurately describes the state of national influence and politics that America finds itself in. The term is quite closely related to Empire, but does not mean quite the same thing. It is one of those shades of the english language that is extremely subtle and prone to change, and I myself, in fact, plan to take quite some liberties with the word during the course of my work here.
The dictionary defines imperium as:
1. Absolute rule; supreme power.
2. A sphere of power or dominion; an empire.
3. Law: The right or power of a state to enforce the law.
And in the meantime, Empire is defined as:
1. A group of nations or peoples ruled over by an emperor, empress, or other powerful sovereign or government.
2. A government under an emperor or empress.
3. Supreme control; absolute sway: passion's empire over the mind.
For my fellow Americans, does this sound familiar to you? It should. Empire is a heavily demonized word here in America-carrying connotations of dependence, arrogance, brutality. We fought a war against an Empire so that we might be a republic. But you should also recognize that such things are not always black and white. You can be a republic, and an Empire, and you don't need an Emperor to be so. The territorial United States is a group of nations and various peoples ruled over by a powerful sovereign government-by many measures, the most singularly powerful sovereign in human history-and it has been since its inception. We have also been a republic. These things are difficult for us to grasp-for the casual student of history, a republic is incompatible with Empire. The Romans were a republic, they lost their freedom, became an Empire, and fell. But the Roman Empire pursued many of its greatest territorial conquests while it was still a republic-for the Romans, republic and Empire went hand in hand for centuries.
So take my assumption here, that the territorial United States, arranging over a diverse population of various ethnic groups and peoples, and holding significant territory over which the federal, state and local governments are individually sovereign, is a Republican Empire-indeed, always has been. Our powerful sovereign is not an individual Emperor, but rather a representative government, democratically elected-popular sovereignty by proxy. But that alone does not quite describe the entirety of the situation the United States finds itself in, does it?
I do not mean for this paragraph to sound like I am extolling the glories of America, so do not accuse me of such. I recognize that not all of these are things people are proud of or agree with. But we have military outposts that span the globe, we have created international institutions for the maintenance of free markets and global trade, our navy plies the oceans in protection and maintenance of the massive business we generate, we are the world's most singularly desirous market to sell to. We have direct, commanding political authority in many nations in the world, and heavy political influence in most. Culturally, we are so influential that many make the disparaging remark that the United States has no culture because in many nations American culture is so gratuitously present that it is almost universal. These collection of factors-some of them more present in some parts of the globe than others-is what makes up the broad sphere of influence that is the American Imperium, at the heart of which is the Republican Empire of the United States itself.
It has not always been so. Though we have always since our birth as a nation been a Republican Empire over the continental United States, our foreign presence outside of the realm of trade was barely noticeable. We were isolationist all but economically, quietly industrious, but for the most part remaining uninvolved with the rest of the world. It wasn't until the second half of the nineteenth century that America began to truly look outward, culminating in the explosion of American influence during World War II. That monstrous conflict wasn't where the American Imperium was born, but where it was revealed. The war that left much of Europe and Japan as extended American protectorates was also the war that opened us up to much of the world culturally and industrially.
If the American Imperium is the most potent global force today, and the Republican Empire of the continental United States is the heart of that Imperium, what then is the heart of the Empire? In a country evolving as we are, it can be difficult to tell sometimes. But there are common recurring themes that give us a glimpse.
This work will be a collection of essays and musings on those common recurring themes, as well as occasional commentary on foreign and domestic affairs. I know the effect the word Imperium is going to have, as well as the word nationalism-I can only request that you do not make assumptions of me. I refuse to subscribe to the polarizing and utterly inaccurate classifications of politics as 'left versus right'. I am not a stalwart defender of every war America gets itself into, nor am I an unthinking critic of every foreign policy carried out in its name. I am an advocate of objective truth-not subjective opinion dressed up as objective truth. I am an advocation of a rational, universal nationalism-not a nationalism that places the native born or a certain ethnic group above all others.
Above all, however, I reject the coward's way out of debate-the impulse all too common nowadays to ignore vast differences of opinion and turn a blind eye to values anathema to you because it's happening to other people and that's okay, as long as it's not bothering you. Hearing a man beat his wife and children half to death in the house across the street, would you simply make the request that he keep quiet about it so as to not bother you? No? Then why are so many people today so willing to ignore and block out murderous political garbage, so long as nobody bothers to advocate it to them, when it has even more disastrous consequences? Debate involves a certain degree of confrontation, it's true-but defend your beliefs in the face of those who disagree. Don't use the mealy-mouthed excuse I hear from so many today-"Well, you can believe what you believe, and I will believe what I believe." I expect many will disagree with the things I am saying. I promise you I will always do my best to change your mind and try to take your points into account. I will never dishonor you with the excuse of "Let's agree to disagree."