Keith's NO EMPIRE Blog

A radical dissident perspective on various topics. Comments welcome at

Friday, July 15, 2005


In many ways, history is a depressing continuum of human abuse of humans. While elite-friendly historians laud the "achievements" of conquering "heroes," the human suffering of the victims is ignored. How many slaves suffered and died so that the Pharaohs could have their wondrous tombs? How many conquered people were put to the sword so that Alexander of Macedonia could feel great and powerful? How many black slaves and Native Americans had to suffer and die so that America could achieve its Manifest Destiny? How many Third World people must continue to suffer deprivation and death squads so that the current empire can maintain its elites in the manner to which they have become accustomed? Why have societies been so vicious and brutal? Why does it continue? Can it be changed?

Having given the matter considerable thought, I have come to believe that the primary driving force behind all of this is what I refer to as power lust. If you prefer, unbridled ambition. It exists in all humans to varying degrees, however, it seems to be more prevalent in men. Circumstances tend to influence the strength of the drive, to moderate or accentuate it. It has been said that power corrupts. Truer words were never spoken. Also, if circumstances permit, those who have a strong desire pursue their power lust with single minded obsession. Their desire to acquire power so intense that they are willing to commit mass-murder to achieve their goal. Willing? Nay, eager would be more apt. Easily enraged at resistance to their grand designs, they are anxious to use "manly" force to crush the opposition and to make an example of those foolish enough to get in their way. To demonstrate that they have cajones. In many ways, most who strive for and achieve great power are psychologically unbalanced sociopaths.

Since the social mythology of our elite-run society tends to reflect elite opinion, the ugly reality of elite brutality is misrepresented, to say the least. Alexander of Macedonia is depicted as a great man. Someone to emulate, rather than as a murderous, sociopathic thug from whom society needs to defend itself. One consequence of all of this is that far too little thought and discussion has occurred regarding how society can reorganize itself to moderate elite power, and how to protect the average person from elite abuse. Too often discussion centers on how "our side" can get control of the levers of power. The assumption being that with the "good guys" in charge, everything will be just fine. Such delusions are the norm.

Lest anyone delude themselves that mass-murder is a thing of the past, the product of an uncivilized world of long ago, one need only reflect for a moment on the extreme bloodletting of the 20th century. The first half of the 20th century witnessed two world wars, the second of which was unusually destructive, killing 50 million people and introducing the world to nuclear warfare. At Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.S. put defenseless civilians to the nuclear sword to demonstrate (and test) its new doomsday weapon, and to show the world (particularly the USSR) that we were capable of committing mass-murder against a defeated enemy who was trying to initiate surrender negotiations.

The second half of the 20th century saw a dramatic reduction in warfare related deaths in the North, as the U.S. enforced a kind of mafia-like "peace" among the Western democracies. U.S. hegemony permitted the industrial nations to cooperate in a coordinated non-stop war against the Third World. Between 1945 and 1990, 20 million people died in wars, 99% in the Third World. Greece, Korea, and Viet Nam were viciously assaulted when they resisted America’s grand design. In Indonesia, one million people were murdered, death squad style, in Suharto’s brutal coup, which the U.S. encouraged and supported. The chamber of horrors that the U.S. has constructed in Latin America, with rampant torture and death squads, provide a stark example of the moral enlightenment of western elites.

A strong factor contributing to the never ending abuse of the weak is the apparent desire of the powerful to subjugate and dominate their fellow humans. They want to rule. Abusing other people seems to give them a sense of power, which they crave above all else. Additionally, they seek to destroy the competition, including potential future "threats" to their power and privilege.

The critically important point is that powerful states don’t get to be powerful by accident or divine providence. They become powerful because they are ruled by elites who seek to increase their power by increasing the power of the state. This entails power- seeking diplomatic maneuver, predatory economic competition, and military competition and confrontation, frequently leading to war. To a significant degree, society reflects the values of its elites. In a power-seeking state, the struggle for power becomes the defining social imperative. In these circumstances, warfare, conquest, military and economic subjugation, genocide, mass-murder and torture become the norm. While prevailing social mythology camouflages this reality, it exists and will continue to exist until society is reorganized to guard against the inevitable consequences of concentrated power, and the attendant sociopathic power lust.

One aspect of all of this that may not be immediately obvious is the tremendous impact on social decision making caused by concentrated power. In a more egalitarian society, social decision making is informed by a much broader input of perspectives and objectives. As power becomes more and more concentrated, social decision making tends to default to the power seekers, whose basic goal is to increase their power. The current and future well-being of the majority is rarely considered, except as a problem. Not infrequently, the masses are considered as potential competitors for power, hence, to be preemptively dis-empowered and beaten down. In effect, highly concentrated power structures are inherently dysfunctional. Empires are manifestations of sociopathic behavior imposed upon an entire society. You cannot have intelligent, forward looking social decision making in an empire. The sick-minded rulers won’t tolerate it. The future well-being of human society absolutely requires a radical transformation of our current system of concentrated power.

Any honest examination of history will demonstrate beyond doubt the absolute necessity to take whatever steps are necessary to eliminate and prevent concentrated power in any form. In our society, the major focus needs to be on breaking-up concentrated monetary power. The rich are way too rich, and the major corporations are wildly, excessively wealthy. Money rules, and the powerful inevitably abuse their power. Individuals and organizations need to be taxed progressively on their income and accumulated assets. A primary goal is to substantially moderate our present extremes of wealth (power) and poverty (powerlessness). Additionally, the financial system needs to be controlled by the political system. Money is power, economic power in fluid form, the primary instrument of social control. Allowing unaccountable private individuals and organizations to control this power for personal gain inevitably results in a dysfunctional society with disastrous social decision making. Many of our problems are a result of a rogue financial system with too much money to spend on destructive, anti-social activities.

It should be noted that for at least 50 years we have been moving in the wrong direction. The elites and corporations have reduced their taxes and concentrated their power, even as the majority have been economically dis-empowered. The current efforts to extend corporate globalization are intended to legally establish a world-wide system of economic dependency, domination and control. If successful, the future will be truly bleak. The system is inherently unsustainable and the inevitable collapse will be uniquely catastrophic. It is absolutely essential that the American Empire be dismantled and that we take steps to eliminate concentrated power in any form. No Empire! No Oligarchy!

Seattle Keith 7/15/05