Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

There’s No Place Like CounterPunch

There's no place like CounterPunch, it's just that simple. And as the radical space within the "alternative media"(whatever that means) landscape continues to shrink, sanctuaries such as CounterPunch become all the more crucial for our political, intellectual, and moral survival. Add to that the fact that CounterPunch won't inundate you with ads and corporate propaganda. So it should be clear why CounterPunch needs your support: so it can keep doing what it's been doing for nearly 25 years. As CP Editor, Jeffrey St. Clair, succinctly explained, "We lure you in, and then punch you in the kidneys." Pleasant and true though that may be, the hard-working CP staff is more than just a few grunts greasing the gears of the status quo.

So come on, be a pal, make a tax deductible donation to CounterPunch today to support our annual fund drive, if you have already donated we thank you! If you haven't, do it because you want to. Do it because you know what CounterPunch is worth. Do it because CounterPunch needs you. Every dollar is tax-deductible. (PayPal accepted)

Thank you,
Eric Draitser

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.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians