"What shall be done with the four million slaves if they are emancipated? ... Primarily, it is a question less for man than for God -- less for human intellect than for the laws of nature to solve. It assumes that nature has erred; that the law of liberty is a mistake; that freedom, though a natural want of the human soul, can only be enjoyed at the expense of human welfare, and that men are better off in slavery than they would or could be in freedom; that slavery is the natural order of human relations, and that liberty is an experiment. What shall be done with them? Our answer is, do nothing with them; mind your business, and let them mind theirs. Your doing with them is their greatest misfortune. They have been undone by your doings, and all they now ask, and really have need of at your hands, is just to let them alone. They suffer by every interference, and succeed best by being let alone." ~ Frederick Douglass
Does the American Empire Deserve to Die?
Exclusive to STR
November 2, 2009
I’m halfway through a reflective book written by an old curmudgeon. Part patriot, part historian, all gadfly, Gore Vidal wrote Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia in 2004, just before the upcoming national elections. Almost a time capsule coupled with dire prophecy, the book is a sober, sometimes cynical look at
Not a chance.
“We hate this system that we are trapped in, but we don’t know who has trapped us or how,” wrote Vidal. “The American press has generally shied away from telling us about ballot fraud . . . . Yet at the dawn of the empire, for a brief instant, our professional writers tended to make a difference.”
Vidal traced that “dawn” back to the Spanish-American War at the turn of the 20th Century. Yet the historian in him also notes that we’ve always been empirical, back beyond the so-called Mexican War more than 50 years before that. So why haven’t our professional writers of today readily admitted that we are indeed an empire and have been an empire for a very long time, and yes, that we indeed “create our own reality”?
So I posed the question to various well-known and respected writers from the left, right and center: Does the American Empire deserve to die, and if NOT, why not?
“Our founding fathers never intended the country that they created to be an empire,” replied Paul Craig Roberts, former top Reagan Treasury official.
Roberts, who penned such un-Reaganite columns as “The Rich Have Stolen the Economy” and “The US as Failed State”, added: “The political system is unresponsive to the American people. It is monopolized by a few powerful interest groups that control campaign contributions. Interest groups have exercised their power to monopolize the economy for the benefit of themselves, the American people be damned.”
American people be damned?
So the empire would then deserve to die, right?
“Short answer: Yes,” replied columnist Dave Lindorff. “If
Lindorff composes columns for Counterpunch.com such as “Depleted Uranium Weapons: Dead Babies in Iraq and Afghanistan Are No Joke."
Some conservative media heavyweights might disagree.
“Doug — I think the
Likewise longtime activist and 9-11 truth advocate Devvy Kidd politely replied to me: “Do I believe our constitutional republic should die? Of course not. Do I support the destructive foreign policies over the past five or six decades? Of course not. A return to true constitutional government under our Constitution will do just fine.”
Nice to see some people believed a return could happen before we expire, like
“I suppose all Empires deserve to die in the end, usually when the marginal rate of return to inhabitants becomes too burdensome, as with
“Key for me is that all empires overreach and self-destruct,” replied columnist Stephen Lendman, of the Centre for Research on Globalization. “We sure as hell are doing it big time, and one of my (radio show) guests makes an important point. Having been a former high-level insider, she believes the power elite has given up on
“As to your question, the first part would definitely be yes,” wrote Alex Knight, “though that need not mean the death of
Do ALL empires deserve to die? Or just some more than others?
George Smith wrote: “The word ‘deserves’ is a bit tricky, but otherwise if you're asking whether I would like to see the empire die, the answer is emphatically yes. Empires necessarily entail war and a resource-consuming military establishment . . . The government has been very successful in keeping Americans believing most of what it does is, at worst, a necessary evil. With that kind of support, the empire can make the claim it deserves to exist.”
History is undeniable. All empires die. No exceptions; only a matter of time when. Whether all empires deserve to die, even our own, is arguable. In any case, the implication is that we the people do not. Whether left, right or centralist, the implication is that the republic may be a distant memory or a myth but a fond one. No power of recollection, no road map back, no more Manifest Destiny (if we ever had one), unless some serious, SERIOUS reunification happens soon. An ethical revitalization, if one is ever possible, at the most crucial moment in a tottering empire’s lifespan.
Personally, I believe that all empires deserve to die, some sooner than others. Just imagine the tens of millions of innocent people crushed beneath the juggernaut of the American Empire in the past century and then try your best to justify their deaths. Could you? If you can, than yes,
Good Luck to us all, and to those nations around us.