Messy Empires

In my pursuit of exploring the history of Barrak Obama and how he came to such influence I followed a lead to Bill Ayer and found this on his web site…..

The end of an empire is messy at best
And this empire is ending
Like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave
And the home of the free.

It is some lyrics by Randy Newman, from “A Few Words in Defense of This country”. It seems obvious that both Mr Ayers and Newman see an America with a drastically shrinking global influence, and only just around the corner. It appears they’re not sorry to see the empire label coming to an end. So why?

It caused me to think about what is happening in the US of A today. I’m sure most people regard the USA to be an empire, and depending on one’s morality, it’s either evil, or great. But before we talk about morality let’s look at that empire and talk about what others see.

The degree of influence a nation has on other nations is what makes a nation an empire. And the USA has indeed been a huge influence on the entire world, but is this empire the same as previous empires? Historically, the empires of the past have had their roots in the sharpest sword or the biggest canon but the US as an empire, is a rather unique entity.

The ’empire image’ held of the free US world, the ‘common folk working to swill coke and cram down big Macs’, is emulated by oppressed people throughout the world. In the collectivist nations, those who have them, need to protect their blue jeans from thieves. And the mindless electric guitar noise excites the youth around the world, not just in America. Is this the empire that is crumbling? It is the empire that many see as evil.

The American empire is unique in that it was not build with a club but rather it’s been held from spreading by a club. Whenever a group of people have been left free it’s the American model they build as their personal society. From Canada to France, to the now defunct USSR and China, the Muslim middle east and on around the world, political and intellectual leaders demand restrictions to stop their own citizens from emulating the ‘good ol’ US of A.

This empire is messy in the middle. The painful body piercing, the disfiguring facial tattoos , the shocking hairdos and outrages dress codes are all part of the messiness, as are the obnoxious language. The ipods and twittering and facebooking and bloggers are all part of this empire’s culture. As are highways and cars and airplanes and highrises. It remains incomplete if we throw in space travel, atomic weapons and cell phones and oh so much more.

An empire like none before with something about it for anyone to hate, just as there are a multitude of things to love. Truly a mixed bag that satisfies few, yet attracts so very many.

From its inception some 240 years ago, that small group of forceful individuals living in those 13 signing colonies, determined to fight unfair taxation and take their chances with forming a unique nation based on the view, ‘that all men are created equal’, could hardly have predicted the social upheaval they would cause. But from their writings, one can be sure those far-sighted individuals knew they were creating something unique, something never tried before. I believe the result would both astound them and anger them. They’d be astounded at what free minds can accomplish and be angry so few people had any idea that freedom built the country.

For the first 150 years of its history, America showed the world what freedom can do. The marginal existence, prevalent through all previous generations, disappeared.  And the legitimacy of inherited wealth giving permanent status to people fell by the wayside as an open market checked every action against freed choices. Those who get it wrong, get to start over.

In ever facet of life, new discoveries and inventions overturned the prevailing thought. Yet the change has not been without problems. Massive fight have taken place to halt change, to hold entrenched interests over the heads of unwilling markets until all power of resistance collapsed and a flood ensues to the freed actions long denied.

In the early part of the twentieth century the collectivist impediments started to gain strength and the rot of today is due to implementation of the policies started then.  One of the driving forces behind the messy mindless aspects of the American empire is the unjustified transfers of wealth brought about by the welfare state. When people spend money the have worked for they exercise some discretion about where they place that money. The welfare recipient works hard to get rid of the money so that he can truly claim need for his next check.

There is a second characteristic that has brought harm to a high standard. Business’s are penalized for refusing service to all. They are not allowed to discriminate. If people were free to deal only with the customers of their choice many transactions would not take place.

So for more than 100 years many investments have not been as rational as they would have been if money was more carefully spent and accepted. I believe the messiness of today’s society is largely due those factors.

So that brings us to, will the empire disintegrate or will it show an unexpected resilience and make liars out those who see an impending end? One often overlooked factor is the state of the rest of the world. There is little to make anyone believe there are a multitude of places ready to become the ‘top empire’ of this world. I believe the small amount of residual capitalism in the USA is the glue that still holds everything together. If the USA disintegrates the rotten foundations of the other nations of this world will not provide support.

To finish, the ‘bandage’ is frayed beyond repair, and the wound inflicted on the capitalist system some 100 years ago has run it’s course. There is little left to destroy. While the major players are now at a loss as how to manage the system, in the wings there are people who do know how but they have not been invited to participate. Will an apathetic public awaken in time and pass the reins of power on to the right people? Time will tell. Until then the messiness may well get worse.

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