Today I’ll be writing about the confusions of empire. Most Americans never wanted an empire role for the United States and the role of empire is not designed into the U.S. Constitution. The original resilience of the American political experiment was about empowering individuals and limiting the power of the federal government. The Wealth of Nations was written around the same time as the American Revolution, 1776, by Adam Smith, and it described the invisible hand of vibrant commonwealths where people independent of government interference can build robust economies where many people can collaborate in producing what is needed by people in a prosperous nation. Political activism of Revolutionary times was written into the Federalist Papers and if you want to read about what American politicians thought you can grab a copy and read it. They thought governments are a necessary evil that must be limited in power. In the previous post, I wrote about failures to enforce the rule of law in the U.S. These failures show a desire for limitlessness. What limits do you see operating now?
The U.S. was once a nation that had the rule of law, and political and economic accountability. What happened? After WWII, people working in the federal Government expanded their military and operating budgets, adopted the policy of having secret government organizations and grew the bureaucracy. Hitler had used secrecy and propaganda and moved Germany into a powerful position that challenged the world to defend itself. Some U.S. politicians wanted that kind of power. They believed that when banks and government work together to control and direct an economy, that economy can become ever more powerful and can become an engine of power that can dominate all other powers. Congress began to expand its intervention into economic matters. Small changes in government have brought us now into the malign influence of federal government roles never intended by the Founders and not allowed in the U.S. Constitution.
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“Crowding out” where government spending dwarfs all other spending and dominates the flow of money appears to be the Biden Administration’s goal. In the past it was seen as causing bad economic outcomes. What outcomes do we see now? Small businesses expiring. High unemployment. Powerful monopolies in finance, healthcare, education, energy, information, transportation. Trillions of dollars in spending on various boondogle emergencies. A bailout of college debtors. Open borders. Covid spending. Government spending without a budget or any accounting. Military transfers of equipment to other nations without an accounting. Untrustworthy voting methods. Barbed wire around the Capital building. Pay to play politics. The Greenspan put. Corporations and government working together to perform scary experiments on people by threatening to fire those who refuse to participate. All assets have become coveted by the most powerful. More for themselves and less for ordinary Americans is their plan and the world has seen the ruin that comes from these policies before. For a short time these powerful people will be richer and it will seem that nothing can stop them. That’s where we are right now.
The first confusion of empire is the confusion of imagining a world without borders that would allow a person to infinitely expand their own power. Limits are an ordinary part of biological life and human life. I’ve been reading about Roman history and last week I was reading about Antony and Cleopatra. As Roman influence embraced the power of Empire, Antony became confused in his loyalties. He came under the sway of Cleopatra, fathering children with her, abandoning his Roman wife. He imagined that he could be true to his every ambition without any limits. If Rome were an empire, then its capital could be in Egypt. Why not? If Egypt were partnered with Rome, wouldn’t both be bigger and better than ever? Except that other Romans didn’t see it that way. Cleopatra was an enticement only for Antony, not for every Roman. You know how it ended. Both Antony and Cleopatra killed themselves. They couldn’t say no to their ambitions and they preferred death to being humbled by any limits.
Empire aspirations by United States insiders and influencers and investors abroad have led many in industry and government to imagine that they could expand into every global marketplace. Think of all those potential customers! The problem is that not everyone can profit in a system meant only to make investors richer. Global espionage also continues to erode patent protections in developed nations. How many inventions have left one nation and spread outward away from investors? Security problems have also been growing with computer chips being produced abroad. Wouldn’t other nations and industries value a backdoor into American systems? In addition, military sales to increase the potential of wars breaking out all over doesn’t have the same dividend as peacetime. And wartime money laundering isn’t such a great thing either for the United States.
We have the problem now of expensive energy. It is scary to every powerful person. GAAP principles were abandoned in accounting, leading to problems like the collapse of large companies. As we face energy problems in our economy, some think why not abandon fairness in energy? Why can’t the consequences be externalized to the less powerful? Can’t you just tell them that they can’t drive anywhere? Make cars too expensive to afford. Can’t you tax their carbon output and stop them from spending precious expensive and limited resources? Tell them that they can’t spend energy! Carbon tax them out of economic activity. Inflation, inflation, inflation. And change the banking industry to a social credit system: CBDC’s Central Bank Digital Currency. Mark every expense. Total control. The ultimate power. Infinite-ultimate never-ending power for those in the right position. But it won’t solve the problem of expensive energy and it will spread penury. This is what you get when a group tries to live without limits.
Why is living large so very bad? I wonder about that. Human beings evolved in the face of serious challenges to life and limb and within the context of limits. Living without limits disconnects us from the natural world and from normal sanity. An existence where being responsible matters for survival is one that at least makes sense. When a powerful person externalizes consequences to the less powerful, it seems at first that they escape the bad consequences that others suffer. But when you take a closer look, living without sanity and responsibilty doesn’t lead to a good place where people are valued and where they value each other. And people living without consequences for harmful decisions do not live well themselves. Without a budget of sensibility they get lost and can’t help themselves to reform. It’s not a good life. Only an enemy of the United States would choose to operate our nation the way it is being run by the Biden Administration.
Confusions of empire: no rule of law, no loyalty, no markets, no voting fidelity, health experiments without care, no reliable information, insolvent banking, rampant theft, monopoly, limitlessness. Don’t you think that there is a better life with limits than without them?