Anti-Empire

2004-11-14

Thanks to a plug by Roderick Long, I've just discovered the writings of William Marina, who provides deep and depressingly accurate historical insights into the current predicament of Western civilization and the American Empire. Mining the vein staked out by Carroll Quigley in The Evolution of Civilizations (which I have previously discussed in a blog entry and applied to both world history and American culture), Marina explores what I, too, see as the issue of overarching importance in American society, Western civilization, and indeed world affairs today: the continued and seemingly inexorable transition of the United States from a republic into an empire, with all the implications of that descent for Americans and the world. Marina has discussed this issue from numerous angles: religious, military, social, historical, and political (the essays at some of those links are long but eminently worth absorbing). Given the momentum of this long-term trend (which, one could argue, began with the War of 1812 and accelerated with the Mexican-American War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, and every war since then), I sadly doubt that Americans will reverse course anytime soon. Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of the American descent into empire is that the historical legacy of political and economic freedom in the United States has made it an unprecedented engine of economic production and technological innovation, which yields seemingly boundless resources for the empire-builders and interventionists to misuse for their own purposes. It is enough to make one cry for the death of the American ideal.


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