The first 22 minutes were great. Very secular and about Republican values.
But it took Romney 22 minutes to go into siege-mentality, socially-abusive, religious-nutbag mode.
- Paul Ryan cleared his throat approximately 72 times in his RNC speech (I would have an exact number if I could afford a Bose sound system. Sorry).
- Paul Ryan let out a frustration grunt when the people would not stop clapping for him.
- Paul Ryan said, “anne frankly…”
- Paul Ryan does not believe taxes, fines, and fees should exist in “a free country” like America. I agree, but the sad thing is that the latter two are very effective deterrents for illegal - and sometimes immoral - activity. Let’s be real, Paul Ryan.
- He pointed out how America’s credit rating was downgraded. Sadly, he wasn’t blowing smoke up our collective ass.
All jokes and insignificant information aside - and it kills me to say that, and this - Paul Ryan has shown that he can be very charismatic. He can deliver a knockout speech and he is ready to debate about the one issue that most Americans care about. He will win his VP debate with Joe Biden. I think he will be the next VP of the United States…
I have been on a liberal tear lately. I don’t mean to be, but I just can’t help it. All they do is complain, complain, complain.
They have no idea on how to actually fix anything which is a real shame because they are all very clever and intelligent people that have a lot to offer the country. But it seems as though Debbie Wasserman Shultz is just going on a desperate misinformation campaign to get solidify women votes for Democrats. No truth in almost anything she says.
Watch and you be the judge: Anderson Cooper ‘keeps DNC honest’.
I find it ironic that those groups who beg equal rights cling to those labels and unique qualities that distinguish them as separate in the first place. That’s a proper example of cognitive dissonance and it usually hangs on liberal groups.
Basic Structure of Empire
Since the dawn of man, systems of ideas have affixed themselves to the social essence of humanity. These systems, when adopted by a majority of a population, form the culture of civilization. Darwinism at the individual level calls for the survival of the fittest, and the same metric can and should be applied to the interaction and competition between civilizations. As a result we discover that these collectives eventually form into something that asserts its superior culture over all other sovereignties. This dominant state becomes an empire and its main function is to impress its system of ideas on other populations across the globe.
There are, however, many examples of civilizations that have not pursued the goal of consuming other populations into their way of life. Usually the reason for this is because they don’t have the technological means or the population motive to carry on with the imperial mission. As a consequence, these civilizations usually end up being consumed by a larger collective. The phenomenon of empire is therefore only attributed to those civilizations that are most able to construct powerful armies and naval forces. However, just beating the opponent into submission is not nearly enough to maintain control and influence. An empire must be able to maintain a military presence in the invaded nation to keep order in the face of resistance. The longer this policing force is present, the more likely it is that the conquered will assimilate into the culture with a high retention rate. Since armed force is the crux of the empires of antiquity, an empire can be most simply defined as a sovereign nation that is able and willing to conquer foreign lands by military conquest and retains a military presence for shaping regional and national policy.
A Brief History of Imperial America
To date, no nation has been able to achieve this with as much efficiency as the United States of America; however, there are multiple problems with bestowing the title of “empire” to our nation. The first is that there would be a certain irony that comes with accepting it. At the beginning of our nation was an idea advocating democratic representation and breaking from the bonds of England’s “autocratic tyranny.” At the time of the American Revolution, England was the preeminent superpower of the world and used its navy to intimidate and impose the ideals of the crown on the settlers of the new world. England had sought to augment its influence and culture on foreign lands by maintaining a military presence in these territories. In essence, according to professor Andrew J. Bacevich, “The United States of America was born in opposition to empire” (Bacevich, p. ix).
As you can see, America limited itself in the ability to become an empire-in-name by its very motive for separation from England. Today, many academics suggest that American foreign policy embraces many of the concepts and behaviors past imperial nations. They would be correct by my personal definition of empire, yet there are still other problems with Americans coming to terms with their identity. The second problem that presents itself is that most everyone would agree that “empire” has historically had a negative connotation. This stands in direct opposition to the idea of the United States being a “positive” example of democracy, freedom and human rights.
If we should believe the idea that a nation’s destiny is fixed by its formation, it should come as no surprise that America was destined forever to be a new form of empire. Even before the States declared independence, they were formed by the idea of exploration and the conquest of new environments. These ideas eventually became conflated and it was this natural curiosity to conquer that brought the earliest European settlers to the New World. Thus the American idea was created. It started as an experiment - although unknown to the experimenters at the time - of what will occur when different cultures are brought together under the banner of opportunity. In his book “Empire: A Very Short Introduction”, Stephen Howe suggests that, “Empire…always involved cultural diversity” (Howe, 20). To this extent, the New World thrived because of the diversity of the English, French and Spanish colonists in spite of their individual efforts to gain leverage over each other. Additionally, while the Europeans mercilessly exploited Africans by bringing them to America via the Middle Passage, its one positive lasting legacy is that it planted the seed of the cultural concept of American hybridity. With the components already in place to form an Empire, in 1776 America broke the bonds of oppression and set out to fulfill its destiny. This was unusual in the sense that preceding empires were created before they engulfed a range of other cultures.
Had the gap between America and the European mainland not been an ocean, I believe London would now be the capitol of the United States. Regardless, America’s innate urge to explore, consume and revolutionize did not go unchecked. “Manifest Destiny” became the call sign that signaled the desire to grow, and thus the western part of the continent became the focus of American expansion. These lands, traditionally belonging to indigenous tribes and communities, were eventually absorbed into the borders of the U.S. territory. This was accomplished by the steady escalation of military force throughout the early 19th century; it was a certain persistent aggression that the Native Americans no longer had the technological means to resist. America’s growth at this time stands in line with Howe’s explanation that “imperialism is a process – or in some understandings, an attitude, an ideology, even a philosophy of life” (Howe, 22). The clash with the “savage indians” did not happen by coincidence either. A paradigm of thought regarding imperialistic expansion had to do with the idea of fate; as exclaimed by Howe, “it was foredestined that European civilization should find itself having to clash with those who resisted its onward march” (Howe, 92).
America’s rapid collection of land and natural resources was eventually stymied by internal strife about the nature of the federal system. Many proclaim that the main issue regarding the American Civil War was slavery, but history suggests that Lincoln was not as concerned about freeing slaves as he was about sustaining the legitimacy of the united republic. Lincoln, fearing loss at the hands of the Confederacy, issued the Emancipation Proclamation to win the hearts of slaves in the South. By doing so, he was able to bolster enough military and moral support to eventually crush the rebellion; something the British had tried to do in the colonies 85 years previous.
Shortly after the war ended, America began to establish itself internationally as a land of freedom, opportunity, and social progress although the pain of institutional racism continued to persist. Nonetheless, America somehow continued to expand and retain its isolationist foreign policy with England acting as the dominant world power. All of this continued until 1914 at the outbreak of World War I. From that moment forward American ideals had come to the world stage for serious contemplation for other nations to consider adopting. “It was a plain fact”, notes Andrew J. Bacevich, “that successive crusades to advance those ideals – against German militarism in 1917, fascism and Japanese imperialism in 1941, and communism after World War II – resulted in the United States’ accruing unprecedented power” (Bacevich, 96).
So where does America stand today as an empire? According to The National Security Strategy of the United States, a policy proposal by former president George W. Bush, “In the twenty-first century, only nations that share a commitment to protecting basic human rights…will be able to unleash the potential of their people and assure their future prosperity” (Bacevich, 5). This of course has been true of the American empire. The “unleashed potential” is on display through our military installations established throughout that world. Maintaining this presence, regardless of any subjective or personal ethical belief, is necessary for ensuring order in world affairs. The struggle between nations, and the human rights violations that typically accompany them, is the foundation for America’s imperial vision and America finds itself leading the way for those who are willing to pursue preemptive engagements with organizations that stand ready to challenge our way of life. It was correctly mentioned by the former president that, “Nations that enjoy freedom must actively fight terror” and that “freedom is the non-negotiable demand of human dignity” (Bacevich, 8). Simply put, The National Security Strategy maintains that the cost of freedom is a constant fight for dignity.
The problem with American imperialism in the domestic sphere has less to do with practicality then it does with ethics. Within this spectrum is a wide range of citizen detractors who project hypocrisy and human rights violations onto U.S. foreign policy. In his essay, A Citizen’s Response, Wendell Berry points out that “The idea of a government acting alone in preemptive war is inherently undemocratic, for it does not require or even permit the president to obtain the consent of the governed” (Bacevich, 230). Berry tries to paint the president, in this case, as an emperor on false assumptions of how our government works. He seems to have forgotten that never in our history has America held a nation-wide popular vote to enact law or to give consent to declare war. A more polemic and problematic approach to American imperialism is provided by David North in his essay, America’s Drive for World Domination. North boldly asserts that, “The wars against small and defenseless states that the United States is now preparing… will prove to be the preparation for military onslaughts against more formidable targets” (Bacevich, 67). The problem with this controversial claim is that there is no empirical evidence to suggest that the United States government is looking forward to - let alone is excited for - sacrificing its young soldiers. With today’s technology and far-too-large stockpile of nuclear weaponry, the risks (hundreds of thousands of deaths, complete destruction of natural resources) outweigh the rewards of engaging other great powers. North irrationally confirms his assumption by noting a direct warning message to the Chinese government in The National Security Strategy (Bacevich, 69-70). Due to the nature of America’s position, it is entirely possible that rising nations may become envious of American superiority and want to challenge American supremacy with threats of armed conflict. The message to the Chinese government simply explains that “if you don’t pursue war, neither will we.”
Taking a neutral approach, Andrew J. Bacevich seeks out to explain what American empire actually is, regardless of the feelings toward it. Bacevich perceptively notes that, “As befits a nation founded on the conviction of its own uniqueness, the American empire is like no other in history” and that “Ours is an informal empire, composed not of satellites or fiefdoms but of nominally coequal states” (Bacevich, 94). In regards to foreign policy, the aims of this nation are particularly ambitious because “It seeks also to render radical Islam and the nations that make up the “axis of evil” incapable of threatening the international order” (Bacevich, 97). By looking at America through an objective lens, we are allowed to see the functioning ideology of American imperialism and how it has consolidated power. In an international sense, power is the ability to guide decisions and shape behavior of other nations through militant or economic coercion. America, as I understand it, is a hegemonic empire; a country that has established itself as the de facto shaper of global stability via military and economic means. As hegemon our role is to ensure that other regions, nations, and organizations adhere to our belief system. Our worldwide array of military installations does not serve to occupy many nations, but there is no doubt that the presence of our might has shaped the government and policy aims of these countries to resemble something of our own.
One of the most threatening problems to America’s current supremacy comes from “the decay of social cohesion” at home. Citing the work of Samuel Huntington, essayist David North states that, “The problem noted by Huntington, however, is not primarily ideological. It is rooted in increasingly irreconcilable social conflicts within American society” (Bacevich, 76). The main conflict regards the increasing gap between the poor/working and rich/ruling classes of American society. It is constantly argued that “the interests of the oil and defense lobbies” have been the primary driving force in the adoption of imperial foreign policy (Bacevich, 241) and consequently the gap of wealth in American society. These activists, however, are complicit to whatever crime is being perceived to be committed and most likely voice concern about imperialism out of some misplaced sense of guilt. A large part of our culture, the poorer class included, is geared toward conspicuous consumption and lavish indulgence or at least the dream of these selfish ambitions. No matter how much these people claim to be against the idea of American hegemonic imperialism, they will not readily convert to a lifestyle of “rational limitation” that would impede their path to “The American Dream”.
With the fact being that America does have an imperial foreign policy, questions regarding the ethics of our behavior abroad stand as the predicating factor in determining whether we are correct in the pursuit of solidifying our role as the defender of the global status quo. Impassioned critics of imperial policy often contend that America does not have the “right of intervention” in foreign affairs and it is best to leave these nations to practice whatever ideology that have chosen as the best fit for their society. To adopt this isolationist mindset is a greater tragedy than to use force against ideological extremism. The beliefs of a people are strongly influenced by those that govern them. In his essay, In Defense of Empire, Deepak Lal writes:
“They [the Saudi dynasty] have balanced their alliance with the infidels and the untold riches they provide the dynasty, by maintaining what is probably the most virulent and medieval form of Islam in their own country, and using their newfound wealth to propagate it through financing mosques and Wahabi preachers around the world” (Bacevich, 42).
It has been mentioned in class that there are beliefs that America is a manifestation of evil and must be destroyed; Wahhabi interpretation has guided many Muslim people to this belief.
Although preemptive war is a standing contradiction to peace in theory, we should expect no nation to be absolutely pure and perfect in practice. America should have the right to defend both itself and others from the crimes committed against them. The case for American intervention is paralleled by the case of Kitty Genovese and the Bystander Effect. If we have the means to help an oppressed people should we just stand by and watch as they are helplessly beaten? On an individual level, people dismayed and morally deflated by the fact that no one had gone to the aid of Kitty Genovese while she was being mercilessly beaten and raped in an alley. The responsibility to confront this evil was diffused among the witnessing population. If we can apply Darwinism to the international level, then we should also apply the social science of inaction as well. In class it was mentioned that oppression and exploitation are “nevergood.” But it must be understood that the only way to end oppression when the victim is helpless is for someone to confront the oppressor. It is no different for nations, yet somehow the argument always circles back to the concept of “America the Bully”, beating up on the less powerful nations. You would not blame the bystander for taking action against the rapist, so why punish America for taking action against a vicious regime?
That is not to say that America does not have its faults in foreign policy. Do we often use an excessive amount of force? Do we sometimes commit acts that are morally reprehensible? Do we disregard these atrocities in order to better justify our supremacy? The answer to all of these questions is “Yes. Absolutely”, but - with the exception of the lattermost question - these are isolated incidents and should not be highlighted as the motivating factor in American decision making. Just as we long to believe that Islam is not the cause of extremism, Muslims should long to believe that the Abu Ghraib humiliation and the slaughter of Afghan villages are not representative of the American people. They are prime examples of America’s own extremists using their force to subjugate other people to cruelty and terror. They should not be highlighted as the ideas of America as a whole. The criticisms that are launched at such detestable examples of unnecessary abuse should be welcomed, embraced and thoroughly examined. The function of criticism in a society that embraces free speech is to isolate a weakness or flaw in the system so that we, as a united people, can work to improve upon or eliminate that facet of our culture. To these ends, America is a uniquely novel form of empire, one where the negative connotations that have been traditionally associated to the term should be reconsidered.
1. Bacevich, Andrew J. The Imperial Tense: Prospects and Problems of American Empire. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2003. Print.
2. Howe, Stephen. Empire: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. Print.
I watched this CNN report about Paul Ryan accepting stimulus money to promote job growth in his district.
Blah, blah, blah. Whatever.
Democrats go on with the same tried and true political accusation that flip-floppery does not equate to good leadership. Republicans chalk it all up to a fundamental error in paperwork.
I’M NOT INTERESTED IN HEARING THE SAME ARGUMENTS AND DEFENSES BEING LAUNCHED AT EACH OTHER SINCE THE BEGINNING!!
No. What I AM worried about is the idolatry of politicians. At the 30 second mark of this video, Ryan is discomforted by a heckler regarding the issue.
Ryan’s audience, unwilling to hear the facts (let alone understand them) begins to boo against the heckler and wave those patriotic American flags in his face….almost as if to say, “you’re un-American for questioning the politician!”
Are these campaign audiences paid to pretend that they don’t understand things? I’ve always wondered how one person can control the emotions of so many others. I must be immune to this disease.
The term that these pseudo-intellectuals are looking for is Doublethink. Pick up a book people.
That’s just my experience.
Report on the defence of American imperialism coming soon.