The American Empire Part 4

Our next stop in the failing of empires is immorality.

Sex shop neon sign
Designed by Katemangostar

Our next stop in the failing of empires is immorality. In ancient empires immorality was usually the last sign that a civilization was in decline and falling fast. Books have been written about this fact and the first-wave American feminist intellectual, Camille Paglia, studied androgyny in ancient cultures and found that near the end of every empire that the art, and, one would also assume, the people became more androgynous. Men became more feminine, women masculine.  Does this sound familiar?

Chester Bennington

The pictured male is Chester Bennington of the band Linkin Park who I’ve written about before. He was found dead of suicide a little more than a year ago after struggling with substance abuse caused in part by his upbringing and the fact that he was raped as a child. Pedophilia was part of most ancient civilizations and American life has this fact as well. Those who’ve been taken advantage of sexually live with lifetimes of pain, anger, and hurt usually culminating in substance abuse as a means of medicating the pain and other destructive behaviors. Roman culture devolved into orgies, pedophilia, and sexual aggression whereby you could consummate any sex act as long as you were the aggressor. The rise of internet pornography in modern times has lead to immorality within the American landscape as well and too has devolved into more extreme sex acts over time to view for free online.

Another similar aspect between Roman days and American deals with blood sports. In the Roman Empire gladiators fought to the death along with other methods of dying for consumption by the masses. America is not quite at that level yet, but the road trod is closing in on it. Modern American society includes sports in its various and arguably violent forms and whereas the true blood sports of its age–boxing and professional wrestling–have now morphed into the Mixed Martial Arts fights that are usually very bloody and violent exchanges between combatants. Though MMA fights have rules and there hasn’t been a death caused by a match yet, eventually after the current incarnation of MMA fighting have become passe, much like its boxing and pro wrestling forebears, it’s not much of a reach to have fights to the death. RIP.

Part 5 to be delivered on Monday. A conclusion on Thursday of next week.

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The American Empire Part 3

Part three of my series of blog posts on the American Empire details something that has plagued all past empires and what is affecting America and most of the Western democracies: political malfeasance.

pope-benedict-xvi-president-george-bush-laura-bush-andrews-afb-70550

Part three of my series of blog posts on the American Empire details something that has plagued all past empires and what is affecting America and most of the Western democracies:  political malfeasance.

In Rome we know that at some point politicians began using their positions of power for economic enrichment, began separating themselves from those they were charged with representing, and began flights of fancy in the entertainment world.

Does any of this sound strikingly familiar in American government?

The White House

We know that a majority of American elected federal congress people have become millionaires on salaries that don’t often pay more than low six-figure incomes. Many live in expensive neighborhoods, others have more than one house. Some even have million-dollar mansions. Some have two or three highly priced automobiles.

How can this be??

Well, one thing we know is that recently congress passed legislation that essentially gives members of congress a free pass on insider trading information. That is they can profit from knowing beforehand information about publicly traded companies; something illegal to the American peasantry.

We also know that the best way for a corporation to turn higher profits or to remain profitable is not through increases in advertising budgets, not expansion of factory spaces or transferring to more favorable marketplaces in the country or the world, not even technological upgrades within their facilities can give boosts to their companies’ bottom lines better than sending lobbyists to Washington, D.C.

DT

Politics as spectator sport has become part of the American milieu and we can see this in DT’s rants on Twitter and his fight with “fake news.”

Of course all of this is just the evolution of political leaders being entertainment including Obama picking his brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament; of Bubba going on Arsenio to blow his horn or his current attempt at novel writing; of W. and his paintings. (Hitler was an artist too).

The Roman Emperor Nero had his hand in many different art forms and had to pay people to see and applaud his performances and works.

Not to be outdone in modern times, many of our politicians including DT have to pay people to come cheer at their bogus rallies. Both sides of the politic spectrum are guilty of propping themselves up with false facades.

Mount Rushmore

Lastly, politicians are ever increasingly moving away from the masses they represent through armed Secret Service agents after they retire and giving themselves the Cadillac medical and retirement benefits only befitting government gods.

I wonder what the founders would have thought of governance in modern America.

Part 4 later this week

The American Empire Part 2

One observation about historical empires deals with their economies.

Money

One observation about historical empires deals with their economies. Part of what we know today is that the Roman Empire began devaluing its money over time. This is due to ever expansion of the Empire and its governmental base. To pay for the foreign wars and expansion of the the Imperial state the government believed that the money from its conquests would bring in more money. But as is the case government always  overestimates how much it will cost any endeavor and how much will be made in return on investment. Over the span of 200 or so years the Roman Denarii went from pure silver to less than 1%. The idea came about during Nero’s reign. The thinking was that by slowly decreasing the amount of metals (gold and silver) in its coins that it could mint more coins to pay off its debts and to maintain the security and expansion efforts of the empire. (The Roman’s didn’t have the leisure and ease of using a fiat currency like we use today–they only used coins for currency exchanges.)

But like the Roman Empire the value of the world’s reserve currency, the United States Dollar, has slowly been eroded over time. If the United States needs money for whatever purpose they simply go to the Federal Reserve Bank and ask for them to print more money. Over time the US dollar will be worthless like the Roman currency of its day.

Money 3

So why do foreign countries accept the USD for exchanges of goods and services? I think it is simply because we have given them dollars for their goods over time and they have such a reserve of them that if the American currency collapses they will be stuck with dollars that are completely worthless while they will have given away products in exchange for essentially nothing. So it is in their best interest to keep propping up the United States by giving us goods and services for dollars hoping that in the long run the economy gets better and the currency doesn’t lose value. Robbing Peter to pay Paul comes to mind.

Money 5

Another element of empires’ economies includes massive income inequalities and they all tend to have top-heavy economies that become fragile over time. This occurs because the haves (the upper 1% having 90% of the wealth) have way more than they need or deserve and the have nots are left to fight over scraps. If enough people decide they will no longer be debt slaves and consume less of their master’s products the game will end…and so goes the American experience as well.

Money 4

Finally, taxation in empires usually run amok. Government works including especially those involving the military have to heavily tax the lower and middle classes in order to pay for their boondoggles. The upper crust makes the tax code and they make it so they don’t have to pay their share of using the government for their corporate welfare projects. The lower classes also need government handouts in the form of welfare in order to pay for their meager living.  We know that during the Roman days that in order to gain and keep political power in the empire that politicians gave the lower classes bread and circuses. Bread in the US empire is welfare. Circuses in America are the sports and entertainment industries.

Money 6

PART 3 OF MY AMERICAN EMPIRE SERIES WILL BE ADDED ON MONDAY. STAY TUNED SPORTS FANS, IT’S GONNA TO BE A STUNNER.

The American Empire part 1

Throughout history, civilizations rise to heights in academia, science, the arts, governance, philosophy, et cetera that distinguishes them from other civilizations of their ages and puts them in the pantheon of great historical empires…until their inevitable decline and collapse.

American Flag

Throughout history, civilizations rise to heights in academia, science, the arts, governance, philosophy, et cetera that distinguishes them from other civilizations of their ages and puts them in the pantheon of great historical empires…until their inevitable decline and collapse. In no particular order the Greeks, the Romans, the Carthaginians, the Egyptians, the Sumerians, and at least 30 other distinct civilizations are known to have had some impact on the larger human narrative on earth in the last 5000 or more years…and then are lost in the sands of time.

The United States of America is also one of the hegemonic of its day. Its Constitution had yet to ever be attempted in human history and though many in Western culture want to disregard the founding fathers because some were slave owners there is no doubt that their spirit to the world has brought more light than the darkness of any of their faults.

The Americans of the day fought for their independence from tyrannical royals in Britain and made a new way of governance that included life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Yes, there were slaves. (By the way, there were plenty of white slaves which had harsher lives than African slaves, but I don’t want to ruffle anyone feathers about that fact.) But it would be less than 100 years after freeing ourselves from tyranny that the United States of America would fight a war to free all men and women from state sponsored slavery. A quick note: some say the Civil War was more about a dictatorial jab by the American government of the time to force southerners into economic hardships brought by the northerners who had most of the American Government including President Lincoln in their pockets and wasn’t really fought over the right to own slaves. I encourage you to read some of the things Lincoln said about African slaves to draw your own conclusions as to what the Civil War was actually about. Maybe this was the first of many acts by our government to bed down with corporations for their own political and financial gains.

Certainly, the invasion of the Philippines Islands in 1899 signaled the beginning of American’s use of the military to strong arm foreign natives into giving very profitable economic concessions to American corporations in their countries. While Western history books talk about the Filipinos declaring war against America, I would ask you if you believe that considering the Gulf of Tonkin incident that led to the Vietnam War? For further reading on what was happening with the American imperial military at that time I would ask you read Smedley Butler’s, “War is a Racket.”

If we are to first agree that America is an empire then we can move onto where it is currently at in regard to its powers in the world and at what part of the Imperial life cycle it is at right now. No doubt there have been many books written about the rise and fall of the American Empire dating back to the early 1900s. A more “modern” look I have acquired is the book by Jim Nelson Black called, “When Nations Die. America on the Brink: Ten Warning Signs of a Culture in Crisis,” and I will be using some of Mr. Black’s wisdom to highlight where we are at today considering his book was published in 1994.

(As I write this blog post right now I am filled with a sense of foreboding and some trepidation because I feel treasonous to be speaking about the ills of a land I and many others love and because America was a bastion of hope and freedom the world hadn’t known before its founding many moons ago. Never the less, I’m hoping that I spend the rest of my life trying to free the good citizens of this great country from debt slavery and malice brought about by the oligarch ruling class in this country. Onward.)

Jim Nelson Black’s first warning sign of the decline of the American experience is lawlessness. He accurately points out that the end times for many historical civilizations included much lawlessness within the citizenry of their nations. He also equates the American experience as one of lawlessness and during the days when he researched and wrote his book, the early- to mid-1990s, crime was a bit more of a problem than today, and according to the FBI crime statistics (if you believe them) show a decline in overall criminality in America in the last 20 years.

We might conclude then that lawlessness is NOT a problem, but I will give some crime statistics for the year 2017 to prove that though it is down, crime is still a factor in American life.
(By the way, you can check these stats on the FBI’s website for verification if you so choose.)

Crime

So in 2017 there were 7.6 million property crimes. MILLION.

2017 saw larceny-thefts at 5.5 million. Or 15,000 per DAY.

2017 had 1.4 million burglaries.

There were 773,000 motor vehicle thefts.

319,000 robberies were committed. The price of having shiny baubles is the possibility that someone will forcibly take them from you or take them while you aren’t looking.

There were 1.28 million violent crimes in America in 2017. Or approximately 3,500 times per day that someone in America is beaten, stabbed, murdered, or hurt in some physical way by a criminal assailant. Sometimes these criminals are very close to us, sometimes they are law enforcement officials.

There were 810,000 aggravated assaults in America in 2017.

Statistical reporting of rape has change in the last 5 years. In 2017 the new rape report includes 135, 000 rapes. In the old system it would be 99,000. I will let you read the differences on what the FBI considered rape then and what it considers rape now. I would also like to point out that the FBI does NOT include instances of incest and statutory rape as part of the “rape” statistic. These are apparently included in another data set for some odd reason. I would also like to point out that the FBI’s definition of statutory rape is an adult having “consensual” sex with an underage FEMALE. (Sorry, boys, your rape doesn’t count at all.) So there were at least 271 rapes every day in America by the old standard and 370 per day by the new one.
1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetimes. Almost half of female and male rape victims were raped by an acquaintance. (No wonder we don’t get to know our neighbors well anymore.) 45.4% of female and 29% of male rape survivors were raped by an intimate partner.

Domestic violence is also an issue in America. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.

And the big one, murder. 17,284 in 2017 America. On average almost 2 people per HOUR were killed by another human being in America.

(One last note. The FBI admits that these crime statistics are lower than the actual number of crimes committed because some, maybe, many crime victims didn’t report their assaults to law enforcement officials).

Crime Scene Tape Color

Is crime (lawlessness) a problem in America? I think the statistics speak for themselves while many say that criminality is down and things are going quite well in the empire. I will agree with Mr. Black that the end times are nigh.

Part 2 of this series of blog posts will be put out later this week. I hope you will join me in watching the Titanic slowly sink into the North Atlantic.

Meditations from Marcus Aurelius

“Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on–it isn’t so manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance–unlike the angry and complaining. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.” –Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 11.18.5b