Thursday, August 10, 2006

Decline and Fall, Part 4: Palatine or Palpatine?


Prerequisite reading:
Decline and Fall, Part 1
Decline and Fall, Part 2: Flexible History
Decline and Fall, Part 3: Civilization vs. Culture

The next point of Ward-Perkins I would like to address is the contemporary conception of “Empire” – that any such system is inherently evil and therefore must be destroyed.

Use of the word Empire to describe the negative context of current events has become quite fashionable. What, however, exactly is an Empire? Webster defines it as “a major political unit having a territory of great extent or a number of territories or peoples under a single sovereign authority.” To expand on that in a contemporary context, Empire’s central organizing principle, I believe, is a proactive need to control as many individual lives as possible in order to support the state.

Ward Perkins argues that greater Rome was not actually an “empire” by our modern definition – that is, by my armchair-historian definition, a central organizing principle of proactive need to control as many individual lives as possible in order to support the state. Ancient Rome, to me, was actually more of a realm of mutual economic protection than it was an oppressive central government. The complex economic system, in spite of its inequities and brutalism, eventually brought an unprecedented level of prosperity and sophistication to nearly all strata of classes within its “empire.” Millions of people throughout the "empire" significantly benefited in a higher quality of life and personal liberty as compared to other civilization around the world at the time. No wonder Thomas Jefferson thought they were so cool. Sadly, such beneficial innovations and social complexities were never again to be seen between for many centuries after the fall of the empire.

Our experience of the 20th century in “Wars for Empire” has certainly left a bad taste in our mouths. This includes not only the obvious colonial-flavored conflicts of the early 20th Century, but also the brutal imperialism of the mid- and late-20th century.

I can’t think of any societies that were more Imperialistic than Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and Communism, both Soviet and Chinese. It should be obvious to all with even a simplistic knowledge of WW2 and The Cold War era that each of these groups was an instigator of unspeakable horrors against millions of people. The Nazis took race-based elitism to a sickening new, and expansive, depth. The Japanese slaughtered and enslaved hundreds of thousands of Asian people in their implementation of a “Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere” (how’s that for foreshadowing P.C. semantics?) Soviet Communists killed and enslaved tens of millions of their free-thinking citizens in quest of a worker’s utopia, then followed up with the metastasization of oppression upon millions of Asian peoples.

So I now ask the question: as evidenced by the above Imperialistic behavior, can the United States be accused of Empire in its current fight against militant Islam and the despotic regimes that support and shelter it? We have gone to great tactical and strategic lengths to focus our violence and destruction upon a specific group of people who wish to hasten their own form of Imperialist oppression; a group of people, by the way, that has no such self-limitation or targeted use of force.

I submit to you that it is oxymoronic to insist that individual liberty can be forced upon a population. The hundreds of patriotic Americans that have come before me would probably agree with me, in that the Declaration of Independence doesn’t apply just to people living in North America. It applies to every single human being living today. Will we be brave enough to heed JFK’s words to do whatever is necessary to “assure the survival and success of liberty?” Can it be any clearer that JFK’s political party has lost its way?

We are living through an unprecedented time of supporting and defending the ideals of individual liberty by means of killing tens of thousands of people. The advance of technology combines with a brutal enemy’s deceptive tactics to challenge the foundations of our civil liberties. We severely restrain our capacity for horrific violence in order to preserve our own lives, the lives of innocents, and even the lives of our enemies.

Is this the behavior of an Empire?


whoami123 said...


We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.
As soon as we acknowledge
this Supreme Designer/Architect,
Who has erected the beauteous
fabric of the universe, our minds
must necessarily be ravished with
wonder at this infinate goodness,
wisdom and power.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
Dr. Whoami

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."

Mr.Atos said...

Wretchard notes a recent commenter posted this speculative piece of dialogue...

"Did you see the news today, Ahmad? All the brothers had to do was TALK ABOUT carrying bombs onto airplanes, and now they quake in fear of every gym bag! Until the end of time, no Infidel will carry a Godless bottle of water or satanic book onto an airplane! Millions of money and thousands of hours of aggravation, just from talk!"

There, is the chill wind of decline. Threat imposes the prohibition of volition. And deprived of the freedom of rapid movement, we are forced to withraw into our respective walls... to await.

It has become popular (at least on the Left) to compare Iraq to Vietnam. And yet, even a cursory look at the news of events depict a clear picture of progress and hope. Perserverence most often yields success. Surrender ALWAYS renders failure. Always! Far from Vietnam, however, and in light of even the slightest possibility that the US may fold on its committment provided Democrat direction, I am coming to see Iraq more like Rome's tragedy at Teutoburg Forest. Relying on deception, manipulation, and trickery, a small force of Barbarians was able to slaughter tens of thousands of legions and cohorts. Although occuring in the first century AD, it established the Rhineland as the frontier of Empire for imperpetuity. It also marked the origin in time and space of the Barbarians incremental advance toward Palatine.

We leave Iraq, and we will never go back. And left to fester and to spread their dogma of primordial hate, inevitably the Barbarians will come knocking at our gates, tugging a new frontier of darkness and chaos in tow...

... the reward of surrender.

dueler88 said...

Greetings, Dr. Whoami. Thank you for your kind words. We at MySandmen are who we are, no more, no less.

Your esoterica here and at your website are mildly amusing. I do hope that you will stop by again, albeit with more specifically contextual commentary.

Thank you for your support.

Mr.Atos said...

Better said, D88. Barbs retracted.