When our sainted once-king Ronald Reagan wasn’t parking small Volkswagens under his hair next to his scalp he was fond of saying the Soviet Union was an evil empire. But Reagan meant this in a good way. What Reagan intended to communicate was, compared to not being an empire, the Soviet Union was evil.
As the somewhat temporary monarch of his own empire extending from Guam to Hawaii to Alaska to the contiguous states of the continent to Puerto Rico, Reagan had noticed the condition of being part of an empire wasn’t an unmitigated blessing for all the non-aristocrats living inside it.
Reagan was wise enough to know that he couldn’t do much about the ills of being non-aristocrats in an empire, but he wanted to do something good anyway, or something someone might call good in the history books. And since he couldn’t do it for the non-aristocrats, hell, at least he could be a popular cult-figure doer-of-good-deeds for the aristocrats.
He decided if those aristocrats could be turned absolutely loose to acquire wealth and power beyond their wildest dreams they might be satisfied and allow some of the good to trickle down into the pockets and households of the peasantry who were mowing their lawns, flipping their hamburgers and doing tune-ups on their Rolls Royces.
The result was profound. The nature of his empire went through a lot of subtle changes and the texture of the evil was distilled in some unexpected subtle directions. In no time at all US jobs, businesses and small industry were swirling down the toilet headed for China and other countries where the labor was less expensive. His aristocrats discovered the multi-national grass was a heluva lot greener than the stuff under the purple mountains majesties on the fruited plains.
So in a sense it can be said Reagan destroyed his own evil empire in favor of a much larger one owned by banks and multi-national corporations. And somehow in the process he managed to make the rednecks and semi-literates lower their voices in reverence when they spoke his name.
Today he’s still remembered that way, but more within the legions of Oliver North clones serving his multi-national aristocrats.
Finding something that rhymes with empire that isn’t evil is a tough gig.