Sunday, February 23, 2014

Republic, Empire, Decline

     Oswald Spengler, in his Decline of the West, identifies three major stages of the development of a civilization in a historical context. These I refer to in my title. The American superstate has now entered -it could be said, it has entered officially- into its decline. Why do I say this, when American global power is at an unprecedented peak, when the world assumes America will come riding to their rescue to save them from catastrophe, and yet, time and again America proves herself to be completely incapable of actually holding any nation’s interest above its own, or even yet, considering what her own self interests actually are?
     Spengler identified three stages. In the first, Republic, a nation forms itself into a representative democracy. Given that the Greek and Roman republics limited enfranchisement to propertied individuals (as did the United States for a fair portion of its early existence), the polity evolves around ideals and ideas which set themselves up as progressive and unique in the endeavor of the human race. So far, so good.
     In the next phase, Empire, the interests of the privileged classes take on manifestations of reach beyond the borders of the republic, and in cohort with militarist principals, begin to affect the original ideals into a form of tyranny. America’s Empire can be said to have begun with the Spanish American War and the acquisition of the Philipines and Puerto Rico as external adjuncts to those mercantile interests and military checkpoints. 
     The Tyranny phase of America’s Empire began with the dropping of the two atomic bombs which ended World War Two and began an earnest competition with the largest totalitarian superpowers, USSR and China, for domination under threat of mutual annihilation and nuclear winter. We are still in somewhat of a holding pattern here, as while the USSR fell under the weight of an insupportable military budget, foreign intervention, and unsustainable internal corruption, these were all phases that America began to reflect (if not reflect upon) as she declared “victory” in the Cold War and turned herself towards an internal policy we now see embedded in Washington’s intelligence community- Collect it All.
     American technology went on to conquer the mercantile interests of the global economy. The personal computer is now indispensable to the participation in that economy, and the national intelligence arm of the United States has made it their prerogative to use this technology to spy on every individual partaking of it, in the name of hunting down the enemies of the Empire. This itself has manifested in great corruption, which we can see every day in the dissembling of those responsible for undermining the very civil liberties and ideals upon which the American republic had been founded.
     But Empire cannot be sustained over a period of time. The American republic, as revolutionary and wonderful a hope as it may have seemed against the backdrop of monarchies and feudal states which existed at its birth, only survived so long as the interests of the citizens took precedence over the interests of the ruling class and financial elites. Rome manifested its tyrannies over a period of several hundred years, in which outer forces, populations of those wishing to be included in her “protection”were betrayed and/or oppressed, and eventually swarmed the gates of the capitol and sacked it- more than once, since the points were easily lost on the rulers.
     We can see this syndrome playing itself out, as well, as the left-out developing nations in which America has extended her arms of military rule awaken to their own displeasure at rule from without, and seek their own level of democratic governance, however unsavory the American ruling class may find it. American intervention cannot be sustained, just as Soviet intervention could not be sustained, because America insists on its own doctrines being the basis and lynchpins of whatever form of democracy these nations come up with on their own. In other words, if America cannot have a say in it, or American interests are not considered as a matter of essential worth then those democracies will not have America’s support, and America will do all they can to destabilize and overthrow them.
     And that is a matter of tyranny. Not only have America’s military and financial elites decided that the world’s governments ought to dance to their tune, but her own citizens, as well as the citizens of all other nations, must also do so. The global reach of the NSA reflects the intention of the NSA and other intelligence agencies (some sixteen in all at last count) inside the American state, to usurp those very rights which the founders of the American republic saw fit as to include as essential to her Constitution and the protection of liberties and the rights of man. Paradoxically, those rights which are granted to Americans, and which American politicians seem to be so anxious to extend to all other nations, especially those tyrannized by their own leaders, are seen as inessential in the matter of fighting off those threats to American power when it comes to the rights of the American individual against state power and the right to be left alone in one’s own home, or to speak freely against grievous manifestations of overwhelming intrusion.
     American politicians like to consider that it can “never” happen here, that America will take on the tyrant’s cloak to the extent of a Nazi or East Germany or Stalin’s Russian gulag or the reeducation camps of China and North Korea. But all of the elements exist, and most especially they include a willingness of America’s leaders to worship and extend into heroic manifestation the idea of the policeman as protector, despite the overwhelming trend of police in large American communities to react, and proact, in matters of civil enforcement, as a militarized force. This force can easily be called upon by the know-nothing wings of both major political parties as a counterweight to actual grassroots democratic process, if the process be found offensive to those who control the elite game of national power.
     And so it behooves me to sadly predict that American in her Imperial state will collapse at some point, unless Americans themselves help to return her to the status of Republic. This will take amputation of some of the greatest political, military, and paramilitary capabilities which the world has yet seen, but it is essential for the survival of a democracy that what is alleged to be “necessarily” secret to the leaders of the state be extended as a right of each and every citizen to also have awareness of, if democracy and liberty themselves are not to be swept under the rug forever.

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