Tuesday, October 3, 2023

American Politics: The Pursuit of Empire


American Politics: The Pursuit of Empire

Peter Schultz


            American politics revolves around two ideas: First, it revolves around the idea that, as Thomas Paine and Ronald Reagan said, the world can be begun again. New modes and orders, “new world orders,” not only can be imagined but they can be implemented. Second, it revolves around the idea that power, centralized, pervasive power is the key to creating the new modes and orders it imagines. This power needs to be essentially bureaucratic, with technological and military powers playing huge roles in the necessary bureaucratic arrangements.


            New modes and orders have been embraced by Americans from at least 1789 when a new constitution was implemented. The defense of that Constitution, made plain in the Federalist Papers, involved relying on “a new science of politics,” which included a new vocabulary such as “the presidency,” “checks and balances,” “the separation of powers,” a “Supreme Court,” a “federal district,” “judicial review,” “the freedom of speech,” and “states’ rights,” to name a few. Originally, the new modes and orders included racial slavery and “interactions” with indigenous peoples, the latter to be subsumed into the new empire to be created.


            The new modes and orders were expansionary, eventually even to the point of that expansion was manifestly deemed the nation’s destiny. In fact, early on, it was commonly thought that the United States would encompass the entire Western Hemisphere, south as well as north, Canada as well as Mexico and beyond. The new science of politics underlying the new American Constitution fed American hubris, culminating in a desire for becoming a great empire. That desire, that passion is perhaps the strongest desire, the strongest passion characterizing American politics and the elites overseeing the regime. Rarely have American politicians challenged this desire, this passion for empire. In fact, I cannot think of one today who does. Not only Donald Trump, but the Democrats as well, want American greatness to be evidenced by its global military and economic predominance, labeled “full spectrum dominance,” these days. That dominance will include outer space as well. This is, easily, America’s most powerful “ideal.” Hence, respectable and respected people think that idealistically America should rule the world by means of centralized and pervasive technological and military power.

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