Tag Archives: empire

How’s that empire thing working?

Maybe most of us don’t care for the idea of empires because we think of them as being something other countries have, but we don’t.    Despite what’s before our eyes ever time we look at a map or watch a news program.  And of course, empires haven’t been faring too well lately.

US expansion 1867 1914

Heck, the British Empire folded up more-or-less spontaneously during the decades after WWII.    Around the same time as the French were getting their deserving asses kicked out of Indo-China to them, Vietnam to us.   Indo-China, Algeria, and pretty much everything else they called their empire.

colonial empires 1910

But around a century ago everyone was still doing it.   Grabbing real estate outside their boundaries and making a fight to keep it.

Here’s a short video demonstrating how empires worked worldwide until around 1945:

https://youtu.be/1csr0dxalpI

That’s how it was done mostly, except when the imperial powers fought one another.   Which wasn’t something anyone liked to do if they could help it because it tended to get a lot of white people killed.

But I’ve digressed.   What I intended to talk about was a remark I made this morning during coffee with Johnny, across the hall.   In some context or other involving the government shut-down and Puerto Rico, I casually mentioned the American empire.

“American empire?   Haw haw haw!   What the hell are you talking about?”

“Heck Johnny, do you think we aren’t an empire.”

“Haw haw haw!   Where do you come up with this stuff?”

I tried a while longer, but the discussion just couldn’t move forward on that tack.   Johnny doesn’t believe the US is an empire and the concept is so foreign to him he refuses even to think about it.

I’m a bit awed by this entire concept.    Are there really people in the world who don’t think the US is an empire?  Well, yes, there are.

Same as there are people who think the moon landings were faked by NASA and that the world is flat.

People believe all sorts of things.

I wonder if there used to be people who didn’t think the British, the French, even the Romans weren’t an empire.

Damn I love this life for the surprises.   The constant surprises.

Old Jules

Evil Empires, Reagan and the Slaviet Onion

Hi readers.

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.

Old Jules