The most destructive thing American has perpetrated upon the world has nothing to do with the physical. It’s an intellectual wound that has been inflicted. Worse than any war, scandal, or coup d’etat is the legacy of America’s political philosophy. And if it seems as though I am speaking of an America with her grand and halcyon days behind her, it’s because…well, I am. And they are. Of course they are. The candle has burned down to a nub; the hour glass must soon be turned over. Between the near 30 trillion dollars in debt and the trillions more in unfunded and un-payable liabilities, the hordes of third-world foreigners both legal and illegal rushing headlong for her borders, with millions upon millions of them already here and feeding off the dwindling supply of tax cattle (i.e. the middle class), the almost unfathomable grand scale of abortion rates and single motherhood, both of these decimating without a hint of mercy Amercia’s future…yes, between all of this and much, much more, America is now experiencing at the very least the first of many death throes. She is wheezing…and soon shall be but a corpse. And this, my friends, is mere evolution. It’s not revolution. It’s not avoidable. It’s not anyone’s specific fault…Republicans or Democrats or enemies within or without…not specifically. Those groups are mere characters in the passion play that is the United States, whose end was written with the writing of the beginning. The premise of a nation is the Authority of the State, and that premise WILL find its conclusion. It’s unavoidable. As sure as night follows day there is no stopping that which the beginning, now long since accomplished, NEEDS in order to BE the beginning in the first place: the end. There is no recovering…no unringing of the bell. All that remains is to see just what this end shall look like, and even this is of no fundamental importance. Like all nations before her, America will fall as an expression of her rise. How this manifests is mere semantics, as it were, in the grand scheme of history. Will there be rivers of blood? Unlikely. Her capacity for military violence is far to great for that to be realistic, I submit. No, I foresee a sad, quiet descent into obscurity and irrelevance, governed essentially by little more than a skeleton crew of corrupt plutocrats. They will drunkenly sail her out into the cold, still waters of a blackened sea and then scuttle her with their greed and incompetence. The barnacles on the boat—you and I—will drift along with the wreckage on the currents far below for who knows how long. It’s been over 65 years for the British. Their empire is a footnote; today their influence only exists vicariously through the United States. Sure they still carry the name “Great Britain”, but a name does not a great nation make.
Like all other great nations before her, America is on track to run her course in the mere span of ten generations. This is typical of great nations and empires…nothing unique or exceptional about it. This is the lifespan of the species, and America is surely of the species. She’s not an evolutionary breakthrough; not anathema; she’s not a new animal; she’s not from Krypton. Yes, for all the talk of American exceptionalism, for all the appeal to her unique expressions of individual liberty, for all the self-approbation of a government for, of, and by the People, where rulers, like everyone else, are subject to the laws they protect and enforce (an impossible contraction…there is no rule of law without rulers; the idea that those who for ALL practical and revelant purposes ARE the law are also somehow obliged to it is rank nonsense)…yes, for all of this, America will but go as Ceasar’s Rome, Britain’s Kings and Queens, the Mongolia of the Khans, and all the others.
The answer one would think is obvious…for it’s the only answer possible: The KIND of governement is irrelevant to the evolution of empires. The philosophical premise which underwrites government in general—all governments, in fact—is what matters. History has shown us, from rise to decline, regardless of how citizen-friendly a given government may or may not be, that the average life span of nations is about 250 years. And America turns 243 in 2019. And she is quite clearly near the end of her time, well into the age of decadence, her culture and money both essentially worthless. In defense of my timeline, here are some figures courtesy of “The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival” by Sir John Glubb, 1976, an excellent summary of the comparison of history’s nations, their rise and fall.
Assyria 859-612 BC, 247 years
Persia 538-330 BC, 208 years
Greece 331-100 BC, 231 years
Roman Republic 260-27 BC, 233 years
Roman Empire 27 BC-AD 180, 207 years
Arab Empire AD 634-880, 246 years
Mameluke Empire AD 1250-1517, 267 years
Ottoman Empire AD 1320-1570, 250 years
Spain AD 1500-1750, 250 years
Romanov Russia AD 1682-1916, 234 years
Britain AD 1700-1950, 250 years
Sir John also notes that the average life span of great nations and empires has not varied for 3000 years, and this I submit is due to the fact that there is no meaningful distinction, no important variable amongst nations, in their philosophical premise. And it is the exact same premise which informs the American State. So there is no reason to think that she should buck the trend.
When all is said and done, what will America have ultimately contributed to the great historical tome of world nations? Her arts? Her technological innovations? Her moon landing? Her resistance to the spread of Communism? Her military exploits? Her cuisine? Her intellectual fare and philosophical discourse—Noam Chomsky, Thomas Sowell, and Ayn Rand, for example?
Perhaps America’s most valuable contribution to the world and history will be her appeal to limited government…of, by, and for the People, with a poignant and purposeful emphasis on enlightenment principles like the natural rights of man and an implicit, if not explicit, affirmation of individualist metaphysics, where self-ownership and reliance becomes the most important and distinctive of all national virtues.
Well, if you said that last one, I would agree with you. But not in the way you might think, or for the reasons you might think. Additionally, I do not see this contribution as virtuous or noble; rather, I consider America’s legacy of a “limited” government by the people to be deceptive, at best. I would not suggest that this deception is intentional, rather it is a function of the belief and acceptance that government can be limited and that it will stay that way.
America’s most important legacy is the popularization of the idea that a small, limited government is possible, sustainable, and benevolent, and that a representative structure is somehow a hedge against authoritarianism. America is also responsible for popularizing the idea that the politicians do NOT constitute a ruling or aristocratic class, because ALL Americans are equally obligated to the Law. These false ideas have led many to believe that America at its root is merely a cooperative…essentially founded and grounded in free association and value exchange between individuals, with classes of people, as far as the government is concerned, being entirely irrelevant, if not nonexistent. All of this is arrant nonsense. And through these ideals, America has committed another intellectual and moral error by proliferating the notion that to collectivize the Individual as “the People” is not actually collectivist. In other words, that it is possible to synthesize two mutually exclusive metaphysical interpretations—reality as a function of individual existence as opposed to reality as a function of collective existence—by merely calling the collective as “the People”. In turn, the implication is that morality and legality, two mutually exclusive ethical interpretations, may rationally be synthesized; that collective obedience to Law can mean the same thing as the individual making moral choices; that punishment for breaking the law is the equivalent of consequence for poor moral choice.
All of this is complete error, and yet by so aptly orchestrating such a political apparatus, accompanied by 150 years of industrial, cultural, and technological growth unprecedented in world history and almost single-handedly ushering mankind into an era of comfort-centered existence instead of subsistence-centered, people both inside and outside America have been led to believe that this nation somehow truly has something unique to offer in terms of how government should be structured; that the forceful coercion of humanity, as long as it is (somehow) limited, can create a truly free and prosperous society. Which is in fact impossible, due to the implict reality that government authority is necessarily ABSOLUTE, because that is its nature. One can no more limit the authority of the State than one can limit the tree-ness of a tree or the the frog-ness of a frog. Government IS authority. Government absent absolute Authority is not government. Period. But by thinking that government can be stripped of its fundamental metaphysical principle which demands that it represent the practical manifestation of the absolute right of the Collective Ideal to compel the submission of individuals into it, I fear that the evolution of man from a coerced species to a free species has been set back by perhaps hundreds of years. Thanks to America, I submit that humanity has been significantly stunted in its moral and rational duty to evolve socially beyond the immensely destructive cycle of rising and falling nation-states and into the bliss of pure peace through categorical voluntarism and a stateless existence.
America has been quite successful in obscuring the truth that there is no such thing as a small government. Likewise, though, it should be mentioned that there is no such thing as a large government, either. For both “large” and “small” are fundamentally meaningless qualifiers. There is no large government nor small government nor tyrannical government nor free governement nor representative government nor hierarchical government…there is only GOVERNMENT. Government by nature—that is, according to the metaphysical principles from which and by which government is established—is necessarily all-encompassing, encapsulating every facet of man’s existence with either explicit or implicit supreme authority. In other words, government, by its natural purpose and implied right to force man’s behavior in service to the Collective Ideal which represents reality IDEALLY, becomes, as far as man is concerned, reality itself.
The chief metaphysical principle upon which government is based is one we all understand, even if we have never put it into words as such: that man, himself, left to his own volition and choice, absent a coercive external authority wielding supreme violent power, is utterly insufficient to his own existence. In other words, if men are left alone to do things according to their own will, they will destroy themselves. Man’s nature makes it thus that he cannot LIVE unless government is established.
Government is authority and authority is FORCE; and force, because it, by (political) definition subordinates man’s will and therefore his behavior as a function of his own choice, renders man’s very mind moot, making individual understanding of reality ultimately irrelevant, which as a consequence leading to the eventual collapse of nations, makes man himself irrelevant. Man, absent his ability to interpret reality from his own individual existential frame of reference (according to reason, not the subjective relativism which defines collectivist epistemology) has no identity. And with no identity, man is no longer definable and efficacious to reality; and this is why government always, always, always wrecks the societies it supposedly exists to serve.
Absent man’s individual mind we lose reason. Conceptualization itself and concepts themselves serve the “reality” of State power. Force, then, supplants reason…or, it could be said, force becomes “new reason”. It becomes the “truth”, the “right and the proper” (the ethics of legality (force) in place of the ethics of morality (choice)); it becomes the sum and substance of political action and political discourse; it is how men are taught pfundamentally to socialize with each other…individual sacrifice becomes the grandest of virtues—children grow up understanding that it is their existential duty to form and/or belong to groups and devote themselves to the promotion of their particular tribe or team or gang or club or business or any other collective that happens to float one’s boat, looking at rival groups as a threat to be pushed away, rather than as individuals with which to cooperate. Force becomes the reason to live and the reason to die. Force is everywhere, from the determinist laws of physics/nature to the compulsory commands of God, and the supreme expression of all of it is the State. Or we could look at it this way: the Laws of Nature and/or God and the Laws of the State become man’s bifurcated existence. The former is the context, while the latter is the practical application.
By undermining man’s will, understanding, and choice, Authority makes morality, which is dependent on all three, with choice being the most obvious, impossible. Morality is only relevant in the context of will, and eliminating will from the fundamental ethical framework by subordinating it to the force of Authority…that is, demanding obedience instead of cooperation as THE PRIMARY MEANS of achieving ethical outcomes, makes ALL of man’s behavior as far as the State is concerned DICTATED, not chosen. And this is precisely how all governments supplant moral ethics with legal ethics. Their very nature is rooted in Authority—government is not government unless it has Authority to compel behavior by FORCE, and the argument for the ethical legitimacy of this force is the LAW. Instead of individual choice being exercised for the good of one’s Self (and this in no way implies ethical relativism…no rational moral ethics can affirm the morality of one’s own Self whilst rejecting the morality of one’s neighbor) man’s ethical obligation is OBEDIENCE to the Law, which functionally means obedience to the State. For without Authority, there is no law. This is axiomatic.
And so I say again that there is no such thing as small government, or large government…no specific KIND of government at all which is ultimately relevant. There is only government. The point of government is to compel man against his will. Man is a willful being…will is the cornerstone of man’s identity. It is absolute. It cannot be parsed. You cannot, say, have 75% free will and 25% compelled behavior. Government implies categorical submission of the will. Period. If the government happens to not specifically dictate a given behavior, it doesn’t mean that that behavior is free. The implicit reality in this case is that such behavior is merely ALLOWED. And being allowed to do something is not the equivalent of having the freedom to do something.
Government is not and cannot be representative of the individual, because its nature and purpose is to suppress and supplant individual will. Government is representative of the Collective Ideal, and it exists as the practical incarnation of this Ideal. The Collective Ideal thus is by definition incompatible with the individual at root (at the primary level of metaphysics), and thus the individual must necessarily be subordinated and ultimately sacrificed to it. To oversee and compel this sacrifice is at root the ONLY real and relevant function of government, period. And understand that the destruction of the individual by the State is most often not consciously inflicted by the ruling class. It isn’t that the State is full of pernicious fat politicians rubbing their greasy hands together and fiendishly devising new ways of mass murdering individuals, per se. I mean, yes, some rulers do spend time consciously conjuring up new and exciting ways to massacre the populace in service to their power and wealth, but understand that at the level of government it isn’t actually PERSONAL. The government ALWAYS represents a Collective Ideal…even if that Ideal is simply “My Power” as in the case of some Stalinesque autocracy. A Collective Ideal is a root simply an interpretation of reality that obligates ALL individuals to be subordinate to it…to be SACRIFICED to it. It requires the COLLECTIVE destruction of humanity in the interest of an Ideal that represents the ethical and epistemological reference for reality OUTSIDE of the individual. The destruction of human beings then from the point of view of the State is not actually individual-centered or focused. It is not pointed and acute in that sense. Collectivism, being metaphysically exclusive of Individualism, doesn’t consider the Individaul to actually EXIST in the first place. The destruction of the individual thus is merely a necessary consequence of the existence of the State, which is mutually exclusive, ultimately, to the existence of the individual; the reality of the State is necessarily INCOMPATIBLE with the reality of the Indivdual. The two interpretations of reality cannot be synthesized. And as government is Force qua Force, EVERYONE is to be annihilated in some form or other by mere virtue of its establishment. Enough people then are eventually murdererd or rendered impotent to the point where the State is not longer viable as an authority because there is no one left over which to rule, and concomitantly it will have squandered enough resources to the point where it is no longer able to practically wield authority. And it is THIS common denominator—the necessary rejection of the existence of the individual via a collectivist and authoritarian interpretation of reality—which is the root of why all nations and empires rise and fall, in relatively the same number of generations, and in almost the exact same evolutionary stages.
The uniquely American aspect of the philosophy of government is the contradiction that declares that the Collective Ideal known as “We the People”, or simply “the People”, is somehow in service to the Indivudal. But of course the Individual, unable to possess any existential value to collective, because he is a function of a mutually exclusive interpretation of reality, is nothing. And thus, even if the government wanted to serve the indiivudal, it could articulate no actual INDIVIDUAL NEEDS for which it could provide. Because, again, it does not view humanity as a collection of individuals, but as a COLLECTIVE…that is, a Collective qua Collective. The presence of the State then guarantees the destruction of individuals, even if the Ideal the State serves is said to be INDIVIDUAL life, liberty, and happiness.
It makes no difference what the Collectivist Ideal is called…it’s merely window dressing…semantics. Superficial. Fundamentally irrelevant. Authority and Force is all that the State ever represents and manifests in practicality, in every context and in every time. Whether we call the Ideal the People, or the Nation, or the Race, or the Church, or the Proletariat, or the Individual, or the Fuzzy Unicorn, Authority is all that matters and Force is all that is real. The formation of government ultimately demands the destruction of the Individual in favor of the Collectivist Ideal by appeals to Authority and through the application of force. It is not about reason, or morality, or honor, or chivalry, or virtue, or patriotism, or principle, or purpose, or destiny, or love, or equity, or charity, or equality, or rights, or life, or happiness, or liberty, or prosperity, or pride, or God. It is about Authority and Force; Force and Authority. It is about the destruction of meaning by relegating the individual to existential irrelevancy, impotence, and illusion.
Government, of any kind and in any place or time, metaphysically implies absolute Authority…that is, the right to own reality, itself. In this sense one may consider government fundamentally solipsistic. All pretense of individual rights and liberty are just that…pretense. All of the freedoms one might suppose American’s enjoy, or at least enjoyed in greater measure during the more libertarian halcyon days of the republic’s rise, prior to the introduction of federal reserve and the income tax, for example, are merely an expression of the State’s power. Under the auspices of governement authority, ALL behavior is at root merely a function of what the State happens to allow or demand at any given moment. Will and choice is mere perception…there is no actual substance to these things. Under a legal ethic (the Law) they have no functional meaning. The ethical demand is obedience, and the ethical means is force, and the ethical hedge is death…meaning that the State has the natural right to destroy those who ultimately fail to comply with their legal obligation to obey. But since obedience is a metaphysical rejection at root of man’s will and thus his ability to choose (making the claim that one can “choose to obey” a contradiction in terms), the Law ultimately destroys humanity as opposed to promoting it, because man, by simply BEING HIMSELF (an Individual) is EXISTENTIALLY and thus PERPETUALLY in violation of the Law. So, whether the law is used by “honest” autocrats to force collective compliance at the openly-admitted expense of all Individual considerations, like personal wants and wishes, property and ambitions, or by dishonest and/or ignorant rulers who claim to wield the Law in service to Individual life and liberty, the outcome is the same. Because in both contexts, and in ANY manifestation of governments, the law demands the EXACT same thing from man: that he reject his own will in submission to the Collectivist Ideal asserted by the State. But since man cannot possibly do this, because he cannot choose to reject his own choice, man as an Individual is eradicated, either physically or psychologically, or by the categorical restriction of his self-ownership and self-expression. That is, if man cannot fundamentally own anything, even his own body, because ALL belongs to the State, explicitly or implicitly, then he for all practical intents and purposes, is dead. And the nation collapses, because there is no one and nothing left to rule.
So simply because the State happens to allow you to do this or that, does not mean you are FREE to do this or that. Implicit permission is needed from the State to do anything…this is the very point of government authority. Your very existence continues only at the pleasure of the Authority; this is hardly freedom. Expressions of the Self do not necessarily equal the freedom of the Self. Not at all. Under government, your “willful” self-expression is ironically just a manifestation of the State’s right to compel and control you.
Philosophically, and thus fundamentally (that is, beyond the superficial aethestetic distinctions of time and place), all nations do the same thing. They begin, rise, and fall in essentially the same amount of time, all experiencing essentially the same stages of evolution. But why must they fall? Why must they not be perpetual? The answer is found in the natural collectivist philosophical principles which underwrite government. Collectivism is metaphysically exclusive of individual will. It is purely, in any and all forms, utterly about the Collectivist Ideal. And the implementation of an Ideal, which is entirely abstract in its essence, and therefore OUTSIDE the individual, requires force, not choice, as THE means by which the Ideal is realized. Force then is the Authority, and the Authority is the State…the political ruling class is the practical incarnation of the Ideal to be inflicted upon the world.
The State, being Force incarnate, is exclusive of human reason. But since reason—the non-contradictory combination and application of concepts to form ideas unto language—is how man defines and organizes his environment (how he devises his notion of Reality) the exclusion of reason is necessarily and fundamentally destructive to man. And once enough men have been physically, emotionally, psychologically, and/or spiritually corrupted and/or demolished by the innate authoritarianism of government, the nation inevitably falls. Because it no longer functionally wields authority OVER anyone, and thus does not possess enough resources to rule, it is no longer a practical authority. And since the State IS the nation, and the State is Authority, the State, absent enough people and resources to rule, is no longer existent, for all intents and purposes. As the “State” then wallows in impotency and corresponding incompetence, it loses its grip on its fabricated reality. New men then rise and take power, from within or without, with or without overt violence, installing a new government entirely or perhaps reanimating the corpse of the old one with a new personality, keeping the name, but asserting what functionally amounts to a new Ideology. For what its worth, I suspect this is what is currently happening to America. We use the “liberties” and “rights” of our Constitution as a prop…a convenient window dressing, maintaining the appearance of old virtues for political purposes, but the Constitution is little more than a husk at this point. Or a death mask.
America is and shall be no exception to the outcome of the metaphysics implicit in her government. And yet in the face of arrant evidence that it cannot possibly be so (unmanageable debt, unfathomable abortion rates, rampant single-motherhood, rank cultural hedonism, child abuse, unfettered third-world immigration, open/shameless political corruption, politicizing the media into a propaganda ministry, etcetera, etcetera), many Americans continue to think and speak of their nation as exceptional. But the only thing exceptional about any ruled people is that they continue to persist in the seemingly endless cycle of the rise and fall of nations, with an unshakeable acceptance of the spectacularly ironic idea that government is infinitely necessary to human existence. And the fact that they continue to persist in such a belief even in the face of plentiful current and historical evidence to the contrary, is something exceptional to behold, indeed. That humanity on the relative whole perpetually refuses to question the philosophical rationality and legitimacy of government is, in the realm of intellectual and moral error, an unquestionably exceptional brand of disaster. It is a constant recycling and reliving of the Matrix…saviors rise to the cries of “freedom” and “truth” and “justice” and “progress”, based upon whatever collective ideal happens to form the context for these palliative virtues at the moment, only to have freedom et. al. inevitably undermined by an emphatic and hypocritical devotion to State Authority, if not in name then at the very least in principle. Even those who say they oppose a given state on the grounds that it is or has become too oppressive simply appeal to either a new state altogether, or a reimagining of the one in existence. Almost no one ever seriously asserts that the State qua State IS the very Authoritarianism they oppose. The collapse of the nation then in some form is inevitable as economic and moral chaos accompany the necessary and steady increase of government tyranny. Then the cycle begins all over again. And again. And again.
In reality, the truly exceptional people I submit are those who finally unplug themselves from collectivist philosophy entirely, in all its forms, and begin to interpret reality according to a metaphysics which in no way does or can imply that humanity is in some form at root a function of a collectivist ideal or process, whether political, religious, or natural. Only when the absolute and categorical right of the individual to own himself has been acccepted by enough people will—for the first time in history on a meaningful scale—humanity commit itself to genuine rationally consistent reason and morality. Only then will we escape the disaster of national rise, fall, rinse, repeat.