Monday, September 3, 2012

The Mind Of Empire

Today we will discuss the notion of "empire" and the psychology that underpins it.   The Samuel Johnson dictionary of 1785 gives us the following definitions:


1. Imperial power ; supreme dominion; sovereign

2. The region over which dominion is extended.

3. Command over any thing.

DOMI'NION. n.f. [dominium, Latin.]
1. Sovereign authority; unlimited power.

2. Power ; right of possession or use, without
being accountable

3. Territory; region ; district : considered
as subject.

4. Predominance ; ascendant.

5. An order of angels.

I'NSOLENCE. "1 n. /. \infolente, French ; /-
I'NSOLENCY. J Jolentia, Lat.] Pride exerted
in contemptuous and overbearing
treatment of others ; petulant contempt.


1 . Supreme in power ; having no superiour.

2. Supremely efficacious ; predominant
over diseases.


Supreme lord.

Cl'VIL. adj. {civilit, Lat.]
1. Relating to the community; political;
relating to the city or government.

2. Relating to any man as a member of a

3. Not in anarchy ; not wild ; not without
rule or government.

CIVILISA'TION. n.f. [from civil.] A law,
act of justice, or judgment, which renders
a criminal process civil ; which is
performed by turning an information
into an inquest, or the contrary.


Empire is relatively new to humanity.  There appears to be some contention as to how long empire, often incorrectly confused with "civilization", has existed but it seems safe to say that it has been around at least eight to ten thousand years.

During most of that time empire was confined to those geographic regions that were  materially able to support it to the degree and in the ways that contemporary technologies allowed. Technological evolution eventually enabled empire to expand into areas where only ruler-less societies had previously existed and proceeded to systematically wipe them out as such, either converting the indigenous populations to those of empire of flavor X, or murdering them. This is the nearly universal pattern and it tells you much (perhaps enough) about the fundamental nature of empire. Given this, ask yourself just how well has empire (AKA "the state") worked out for people? To my eyes, not so very well. In fact, it has amounted to nothing better and nothing less than a catastrophic plague that has ravaged the face of the planet.

The single, sole, and so very lonely advantage that empire holds over free society is that of raw, brute power. People working in well controlled concert constitute what becomes functionally indistinguishable from a super-organism. Much as the power of a single cell of a human body generally pales in comparison with that of the larger organism, so the power of the individual similarly and generally shrinks into insufficiency beside that of a large population of individuals acting as one. The power of the concept of the division of labor and of workforce management cannot be denied. We experience its effects every moment of every day of our lives. That this be the case, it does not of necessity follow that such an arrangement is superior to that of greater material weakness in other terms.

Human beings are almost universally fascinated with power. It tickles and titillates them endlessly. They seduce themselves with the illusions that arise in power's presence. This is all well and good in terms of individual choice for oneself, but it tends to fail spectacularly in practice because of the overwhelming tendency for a materially more powerful individual to impress his will upon others regardless of whether it is wanted. Welcome to Empire.  The Empire Mind is precisely that which chooses to ignore what is morally justifiable for the sake of exercising power over others to the greatest degree that material might will allow. The Empire Mind, knowing at its very core that what it wants and does is morally unjustifiable, concocts and contrives all manner of rationalizations to absolve itself for its actions.  These stratagems range from absurdly and pathetically transparent to those that are very emotionally compelling.  All of them, however, are rotten to their cores with fallacious presupposition and wildly flawed logic.

It has been endlessly argued in justification of Empire that it has provided us with "more" than freedom ever could. Technologies that improve our health, enable us to travel to the moon, computer networks, and so forth would not have been possible without the cooperation of many. This is arguable, but even if we accept it for the sake of argument, it is a great presumption to assert that these things have made our lives better, particularly when the sum total of the associated costs are taking into consideration.  Is one's sacred right to free life worth throwing to the winds for the sake of video games or whatever other trinket might be used to entice one to give it up?.

By what standard are we judged as having been improved? By the elimination of certain manifestations of Empire past, only to be replaced with new and often worse ones? Perhaps, but how, exactly, does one fix the evils of empire with more of it, regardless of superficial differences in appearance? Empire brought much suffering, death, and misery; it has stamped out our abilities to live in accord to the dictates of our consciences when they do not coincide and comply with the mandates of the "state". Empire always employs force in some form - whether directly or through having imposed such an environment that allows for nothing better than misery and death for those who exercise their "freedom" to decline participation in "the system".

One would have to be able to go back to a time prior to empire, to a time where small societies of truly free people lived and, apparently, flourished. Those people, so it seems, were not living in misery despite the dearth of technologies that today so many regard as absolutely essential to survival. How, pray tell, did those ancient people manage without them? How miserable their lives must have been! The provisions of empire have been often used to justify its imposition upon those who preferred not to participate. This is a cornerstone of the Empire Mind - of the thought process that underpins the concept and the consequent practical implementation.

This is essentially what your "state" is. That is all it has ever been. That is all that it ever CAN be. The "state" is non-existent, yet functions within the confines of peoples' skulls as the somehow credible cover, justification, and excuse for one group of human beings exercising arbitrary power over the rest. The exercise of this power invariably leads to, and in fact depends upon, the application of force to obtain compliance with the will of that mob, AKA "the state".

Was the time prior to empire an idyllic period in human existence?  The answer depends on one's definitions and what it is that is considered more important.  But to be conversational, it may be plausibly answered in the negative.  No, life was not perfect.  It was most likely very difficult at times, but was it worse than it is now?  Back then, men were free to live as they saw fit.  Having not developed the great technological infrastructure we now have, the nature of life was very different in certain details.  From the medical standpoint, puncture wounds and broken legs could be a death sentence.  There were the hazards of wild predators, not to mention the predations of other human beings whose cultural orientations constituted perhaps the seeds of empire to come.

But now consider today's reality: we are free, but to exercise that freedom poses very direct and possibly terminal threats to our lives.  We have war on scales the ancients could not imagine where entires cities can be wiped from the face of the earth literally in seconds.  We still suffer the ravages of disease, polluted environments, levels of stress that are often fatal, anger, hatred, misery and a host of other very destructive effects that have arisen directly as the result of the sum total effects of the Empire Mind.

Has it been worth it?  Trading our ability to safely live in freedom for the token fortunes offered by the lie that is empire?  Can you say that trading your freedom in exchange for museums, public school, ball parks, roads, and all the other bright and shiny things empire has provided been equitable?

And who is to say that had we avoided empire that these minor wonders would not have come eventually anyway?  It is a most arrogant presumption to accept the premise that without the tyrant we would have no roads, no hospitals, and that we would still be living in trees, scratching our asses with twigs as we waited for the lions below to skulk off in search of other meals.  It is interesting to note, and indeed a credit to the human spirit that virtually ALL of the creative genius of humanity has issued from the efforts of the individual and never from the end of the sword.  There is no doubt whatsoever that we could have built everything we now have, probably better than it has been, without the violence of the whip upon our backs.  People by their nature are social beings and are well disposed to cooperatively creative projects.  So why, then all this violence against our inborn freedom?

What is accomplished with violence and force that could not be accomplished with freedom?  Nothing save for one: the realization of goals that NOBODY ELSE shares with you.  If your goal is to do 'A' and everyone around you says, "WOW!  That is so cool!  Can I be part of it?" there is no need for threats and force.  But if the response is negative, you have a choice to make: accept that you will have to give it up (or try to do it yourself) or employ FORCE to make others toe your line.  Things are as simple as that.  The King wants to build a great monument to himself.  He announces the project and nobody could care less.  The King then gathers up his army of bully boys and "acquires" bodies for his task of self-aggrandizement.  Those  refusing are welcome to join others in the dungeon or to die on the spot, or perhaps have an eye put out or a hand cut off as a message to the rest.

This is the essence of Empire.  It is founded and fueled by nothing less than outright slavery, for if you are compelled to act against your wishes you are in fact a slave and nothing better.  Freedom is an all or nothing deal.  If you are not free, you are in fact a slave of some form and of some degree.  Make no mistake about that; do not fool yourself into believing otherwise, though it is very easy to do so.  It is the easiest thing to fall for the cleverly contrived justifications that tell you that you must concede your rights for reasons such as "the greater good", "need", "social justice", "the planet depends on it", and so on down a nauseatingly long litany of phony baloney.

Empire is the greatest scam of all time.  It is based on pure pragmatism as its only guiding principle, which in this case predicates as right any act that one may pull off successfully while avoiding all  undesired consequences.  Success, therefore, becomes its own goal and its own justification in the minds of all tyrants, though some may be of a nature to cloak this truth under a veil of good intentions and rationalizations of false morality.  Might, in whatever form it may take, makes right and by its very nature the Empiure Mind denies human equality and in so doing justifies the hand of the tyrant in all he may do, no matter how capricious, arbitrary, and barbaric.

Empire can take any of a grat multitude of forms in its manifestations. For example, there are no defining physical limits for Empire in terms of size or numbers of people. This makes empire difficult for many people to identify.  If there is no Stalin or Mao at the head of state or an absence of death squads, many people fail to recognize empire and the tyranny that underpins it even as they are dragged away to cells, perhaps never again to be seen or heard.

The only thing one must apprehend in order to identify empire is the underlying tyranny that says this group of individuals over here are empowered to impose their wills upon the rest regardless whether that will is welcome.  It is as simple as that.  It is in fact rather easy once a person makes the quantum mind shift in perception, that shift being the most difficult thing that many people will ever attempt to do in their lives.  Or not attempt.

Perception is 90% of nearly everything in our lives.  Changing deeply seated notions can be terribly difficult, but in the case of empire it is the only thing that will put one on the road to a proper understanding of the nature of the relationship between the presumed master and the mastered.  I say "presumed" because there are no actual masters of other men.  The tyrant knows this and he knows too well the hazards of openly violent force against those over whom he would reign.  Therefore, the intelligent and prudent tyrant works to gain the willful and even eager acceptance of his position as master of the rest.

Perhaps 99% or more of all that the usurpers do is made possible only through the voluntary cooperation of those upon whom their wills are imposed.  Could the US Congress prevent an active rebellion of even five percent of the population?  Not likely.  Therefore, those in power have endeavored since the earliest times of empire to attain and keep the good will of the people in pursuit of their agendas with every manner of deceit, nonsense, and outright lie imaginable.  How else could any nominally intelligent and rational man regard assertions such as "divine right of kings", "manifest destiny", "God's vicars on earth", and so on as anything but the utter nonsense used by tyrants to cow others into doing their bidding?  That is the bulk of the operational basis of empire.  The rest consists of threats of force (the stick complementing the carrots) and actual application to make examples of the few who resist in some conspicuous or otherwise undesirable manner.

It is a very perfect system of control that relies on all the worst proclivities of the great majority of human beings.  Most of all, it relies upon ignorance and lassitude such that the lazy will choose to believe pretty lies that comport well with some personal desire.  A chicken in every pot!

Empire is a scourge upon the face of the earth.  It is responsible for the brutal slaying of hundreds of millions of people over the ages, the twentieth century alone accounting for well over one hundred million souls put to the sword in an orgy of technologically mechanized slaughter.  For all practical purposes, empire may be credited for virtually every woe suffered since its unpropitious inception so long ago.  It alone has provided the conditions that have lead to endless human suffering, death, disease, and poverty.  It has waylaid the human race utterly and yet so few people see it.  Most of them have been bred into timidity such that they not only accept the master's whip, they demand it and will actively aid the master in maintaining his death grip around their own necks in the event any of their fellow quotidians step out of line with the orthodoxy.  To stand outside of this macabre vignette one begins to see the freakishly disturbing truth about humanity as a statistical body, but he also sees the tenuous nature of empire in terms of its reliance on cooperation.  This keeps open the possibility of enlightenment through education and therein lies the thinnest hope for the race of men that their futures may one day be brighter.

Give these lines some consideration and if you doubt what you have read here, ask yourself whether you can identify the sorts of behaviors described.  What are the relationships like?  Are we equal or do some stand above the rest; above even the law?  If they do, upon what basis do they do so?  Divine right?  Need?  What?  In your mind imagine a "great leader" as an infant and place him next to the son or daughter of a ditch digger.  Which is superior?  Which one's rights stand above and beyond the other's?  Is the future leader superior?  Does he possess superior rights?  Is he entitled to rule over the ditch digger's child?  If so, by what right?  By what means is it so?  And if not, then at what point along the timeline of growth does it change?  By what virtue is he suddenly superior in  his rights over his fellows? If he is not, then b y what right does he impose his will upon the rest?  By what authority does he violate the rights of others?

Consider these issues carefully because the quality of the lives of your children and their great great grandchildren may well depend on the conclusions that you reach and the actions that you take, or fail to take.

Until next time, please accept my best wishes.