Reducing a Great Empire to a Small One


This auspicious title is from Ben Franklin’s essay “Rules by which a Great Empire may be reduced to a Small One” penned in September 1773.

A great empire strode across the globe and it was said that the sun never set on its empire it was so vast.  It had a colony that it abused and taxed without representation, created more laws to subdue its colony that eventually the colony rebelled and fought for its independence.

Now that colony has emerged as even greater empire, not only the sun never sets on its empire it can reach out instantaneously today to strike across the globe.  Its people chose between two parties to create their modern empire.  Its empire is so vast, its agencies and departments so large and complex in their bureaucracies its citizens know almost nothing of them or their accomplishments, however small or large. The new empire runs on automatic pilot with democratic elections with convoluted ballots where many political parties may use the same candidates as the controlling two political parties on the ballot.  It’s not ballot stuffing, it’s multiple ballots for the same two groups of people, namely the controlling parties with few exceptions.

The new empire bullies smaller countries around the world.  Justice is for its own citizens is often delayed, for without money and influence success in the courts is always an expensive and tortured ordeal to be avoided for the majority seeking justice.  The new empire creates its own peace institutes, democracy institutes and whatever institute it needs to bolster its expensive agenda.

Ben Franklin was aiming at the British Empire which was abusing its American colony. Franklin stated that a great empire is like a great cake and its colonies were on its edges and those edges were more easily separated from the cake by being so remote.

Now, 239 years later, the country he fought so hard to release from the grasp of the British Empire has supplanted that old empire and created a far larger and more powerful one.  Instead of conquering countries the new empire uses its borrowed financial wealth for discretionary spending to persuade countries to comply with its economic and strategic goals and aims.  Sometimes it resorts to wars on flimsy rationales oblivious of the financial and human costs; albeit they are so enormous they are obscene.  But the new empire sees it all as necessary and proper.

Has this new American Empire become arrogant on the world stage and even cowing its own citizens like the old British Empire?   The tremendous expansion of the national security state ostensibly created to ensure safety to Americans has enlarged government with little regard to the rights of the citizens by always diminishing the citizen. Has enlarging the state for security become a financial parasite on the citizenry?

The criminal act of 9/11 is proof of the failure of the national security state with hundreds of billions of dollars expended annually on defense and national security.  Despite these enormous expenditures this massive security effort was easily foiled, which is ignored by the mainstream press which appear often to be cheerleaders of government by not reporting and identifying effectively its failures, mistakes and abuses.

Ben Franklin believed that the British Empire inflicted its power unfairly, flagrantly, unjustly and corruptly for profit and power.  The new empire spawned by Ben Franklin and the other Founding Fathers has descended 239 years later on its own citizens who scramble in its maze.

Ben Franklin musing for today’s rules of the new and greater empire might be,
Creating a large and enormously costly military with bases throughout the world to pay for friends while getting closer to those who abhor foreign military adventurism.

Creating a large and enormously costly military with bases throughout the world to pay for friends while getting closer to those who abhor foreign military adventurism.

Creating ever larger and enormously costly overlapping and non-overlapping “intelligence” agencies and departments draw citizens and non-citizens alike closer to empire hugging them as they squirm.
Creating an ever larger government without identifying and correlating tangible or intangible benefits for the citizenry as they make their way through the maze of laws of all kinds or hanging over them like a rope.
Creating an Empire on the backs of the people claiming it is for their security while their security declines in the process, including their economic security.

Creating a lone superpower on the backs of 75% of its citizens earning $50,000 annually or less cements the people into an indebted empire tending to drown its citizens every time they swim.
Creating the elite of government to protect the richest and most influential may inflame the people becoming remote from their government, like the edge of a great cake.
Today, Ben Franklin would assuredly be using his “Rules by which a Great Empire may be reduced to a small one” on his own country, applying it one rule at a time.

Oh, there are those who cry the new Empire is different, it is not like colonialism, it only exports democracy and freedom.  Ben Franklin might reply, “Have you done it without emptying the public purse to the disadvantage of your own citizenry?”

The grievances of Ben Franklin for that old empire have reverberated in the new empire as the people now vote for alternate jockeys from the two political parties to Ride the Horse of Empire into new lands.

Henry Pelifian received a B.A. from the State University of New York at Geneseo, NY in English/Drama and Education, an MBA in International Managment from Thunderbird, Garvin School of International Management in Arizona. He served in the U.S. Army with one year in Qui Nhon, South Vietnam. A former Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, he worked for several more years overseas, primarily in Thailand in the U.S. Refugee Program. He is now writing novels, plays and short stories. You can visit his Amazon page here.

Weekend Edition
October 2-4, 2015
Henry Giroux
Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands
Jennifer Loewenstein
Heading Toward a Collision: Syria, Saudi Arabia and Regional Proxy Wars
John Pilger
Wikileaks vs. the Empire: the Revolutionary Act of Telling the Truth
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Lightning War in Syria
Gary Leupp
A Useful Prep-Sheet on Syria for Media Propagandists
Jeffrey St. Clair
Pesticides, Neoliberalism and the Politics of Acceptable Death
Lawrence Ware – Paul Buhle
Insurrectional Black Power: CLR James on Race and Class
Joshua Frank
The Need to Oppose All Foreign Intervention in Syria
Oliver Tickell
Jeremy Corbyn’s Heroic Refusal to be a Nuclear Mass Murderer
Helen Yaffe
Che’s Economist: Remembering Jorge Risquet
Mark Hand
‘Rape Rooms’: How West Virginia Women Paid Off Coal Company Debts
Yves Engler
War Crimes in the Dark: Inside Canada’s Special Forces
Arno J. Mayer
Israel: the Wages of Hubris and Violence
W. T. Whitney
Cuban Government Describes Devastating Effects of U. S. Economic Blockade
Brian Cloughley
The US-NATO Alliance Destroyed Libya, Where Next?
Karl Grossman
The Politics of Lyme Disease
Barry Lando
Syria: Obama’s Bay of Pigs?
Andre Vltchek
Southeast Asia “Forgets” About Western Terror
Jose Martinez
American Violence: Umpqua is “Routine”?
Vijay Prashad
Russian Gambit, Syrian Dilemma
Sam Smith
Why the Democrats are in Such a Mess
Uri Avnery
Nasser and Me
Andrew Levine
The Saints March In: The Donald and the Pope
Arun Gupta
The Refugee Crisis in America
Michael Welton
Junior Partner of Empire: Why Canada’s Foreign Policy Isn’t What You Think
Lara Santoro
Terror as Method: a Journalist’s Search for Truth in Rwanda
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Elections and Verbal Vomit
Dan Glazebrook
Refugees Don’t Cause Fascism, Mr. Timmermann – You Do
Victor Grossman
Blood Moon Over Germany
Patrick Bond
Can World’s Worst Case of Inequality be Fixed by Pikettian Posturing?
Pete Dolack
Earning a Profit from Global Warming
B. R. Gowani
Was Gandhi Averse to Climax? A Psycho-Sexual Assessment of the Mahatma
Tom H. Hastings
Another Mass Murder
Anne Petermann
Activists Arrested at ArborGen GE Trees World Headquarters
Ben Debney
Zombies on a Runaway Train
Franklin Lamb
Confronting ‘Looting to Order’ and ‘Cultural Racketeering’ in Syria
Carl Finamore
Coming to San Francisco? Cra$h at My Pad
Ron Jacobs
Standing Naked: Bob Dylan and Jesus
Missy Comley Beattie
What Might Does To Right
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi Jayanti, Gandhi’s Dream
Raouf Halaby
A Week of Juxtapositions
Louis Proyect
Scenes from the Class Struggle in Iran
Christopher Washburn
Skeptik’s Lexicon
Charles R. Larson
Indonesia: Robbed, Raped, Abused
David Yearsley
Death Songs