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Why the American Empire Was Destined to Collapse


Business  (tags: usa, ethics, corporate greed, lies, politics )

Lynn
- 957 days ago - alternet.org
Author and social critic Morris Berman says the fact that we're a nation of hustlers lies at the root of our decline. Several years after the Wall Street-ignited crisis began, the nation's top bank CEOs (who far out-accumulated their European and . . .



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Comments

Roger Garin-michaud (68)
Friday March 9, 2012, 1:21 am
noted, thanks
 

Charles O. (209)
Friday March 9, 2012, 2:07 am
Empires rise and empires fall -- it's what empires do.

The path to empire began when Lincoln forced the South to become an involuntary part of a system dominated by the North. It accelerated when Teddy Roosevelt took over Cuba and the Philippines. Wilson, under pressure to rescue J.P. Morgan's war-bonds, forced Americans to make war on behalf of the British Empire. Americans who remained loyal to our founding principles were censored, imprisoned and tortured.

The common denominator from day one has been a war on our freedom. Empire and freedom are at opposite poles.

Empire is the biggest form of government there is. As government becomes bigger, it becomes less accountable and more profoundly corrupt. It begins to confuse itself with God, and it feels entitled to take away the rights God has given. Big governments make war -- because there is nothing big enough to stop them from doing so -- and with war-making, the life of the citizen becomes cheap and the rights of the citizen are not allowed to stand in the way of "National Security".

We Americans chose bigness over freedom, and now we have lost our heritage. In making the government bigger -- so big that it dominates the world -- we have made ourselves smaller. We spend a trillion dollars each year on "Defense" -- more than is spent by all other countries combined -- but we no longer know what we are defending or why.

We were given many warnings. The first came from George Washington:


> Observe good faith and justice towards all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all ... The Nation which indulges towards another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.

-- George Washington, "Farewell Address", 17 Sep 1796
 

Pat A. (116)
Saturday March 10, 2012, 3:44 am
I would like to know how he proposes the world get out of this mess largely proposed by the US of rampant greed and profiteering regardless of people's welfare (and which was enthusiastically taken up by the rest of the world's right wingers of every stripe)... It's all very well to say 'you shouldn't have gone there' but more useful to say 'here's some help!'.
 

D B. (4)
Saturday March 10, 2012, 6:07 am
Interesting article, with a simple premise, but I'd like to offer another one. Lead something to its extreme if you want to destroy it. Capitalism is a petri dish for greed. It works for awhile just like the pyramid schemes. But the ones at the top will always be feeding off the bottom dwellers no matter how much money they make. They will never be satisfied. I still hang on to the hope we can moderate the mess we've created though.
 

Donna Hamilton (144)
Saturday March 10, 2012, 7:21 am
Interesting article. Thanks for posting.
 

Charles O. (209)
Saturday March 10, 2012, 7:26 am
Patricia A. writes:

> I would like to know how he proposes the world get out of this mess largely proposed by the US of rampant greed and profiteering regardless of people's welfare (and which was enthusiastically taken up by the rest of the world's right wingers of every stripe)

Awareness of the problem is a start. We Americans in what is left of the "Middle Class" remain blissfully ignorant of the catastrophe caused by the war-making of our government and the plundering of our corporations.

When people in the plundered or bombed-out countries protest, we delude ourselves into thinking they are "Ungrateful" or "Anti-American", or, even better, that "They Hate Us For Our Freedom". But now that the capitalist steamroller has run out of other countries to destroy and is proceeding to flatten US, there is a possibility that we may someday come to understand and empathize with the victims of capitalism in other countries. We will notice that we have lost our own humanity, and we will begin to work to get it back. We will start to see what we have been missing all of these years: freedom, joy, justice, truth, peace, love, glory, dignity.

Solutions? You might find some here:

FAQ: How can we restore democracy in the U.S.?

We need to learn how to PROTECT ourselves from the destructive effects of boundless greed.

We protect ourselves from floods by building dams and canals. We protect ourselves from storms by building strong walls. We protect ourselves from disease by using good nutrition. Similarly, we need to protect ourselves from economic dysfunction.

Protection does not always involve the government, but sometimes it does. When it does, we often find out that the government is part of the problem, not part of the solution. The government has come to serve corporate and foreign lobbies. The regulators are regulated by the corporations they are supposed to regulate. The interests of the people go unrepresented.

If we wish to enlist the government, we must first democratize the government. We need more than just a plutocracy with a democratic facade: We need real power in the hands of the bottom 99%. We associate elections with democracy, but elections actually lead to oligarchy. Fortunately, there are other more effective ways to implement democracy. It's time to consider these election alternatives.
 

Jason S. (57)
Saturday March 10, 2012, 10:00 am
Interesting article, America need to look at it self to change
 

dAlbert M. (13)
Saturday March 10, 2012, 2:37 pm
WHY THE PAST TENSE "WAS DESTINED TO COLLAPSE", when it is STILL VERY MUCH HIGH, MIGHTY, AND ABSOLUTELY DOMINANT AND STILLL HAS A FAIR AMOUNT OF MILAGE IN IT until probably around year 2075 when CHINESE CYBER-MIGHT,TECHNOLOGY AND FINANCIAL CLOUT DRAWS 'PAR' and many 'THIRD WORLD LEADERS' OVERTLY or COVERTLY begin to DESERT 'FORCE AMERICA' !!!! Only THEN would anyone engaged ion 'intellectual calisthenics' be justified in contemplating the CREAKING let alone the COLLAPSE OF THE CURRENTLY "MIGHTY AMERICAN EMPIRE"
EVERYONE with an eye on the HISTORY OF "MIGHTY WORLD EMPIRES" KNOWS ofcourse that the SUN DOES EVENTUALLY SET ON THEM and that 'PAX AMERICANA', much like 'PAX BRITANNIA', 'PAX ROMANA','PAX GRECIANO' ,'PAX PERSIANO' , 'PAX SINENSIS DYNASTIES' etc,etc before it, is beginning to feel PERIPHERAL DECLINE of its influence, but certainly NOT ITS COLLAPSE !! THAT IS STILL A FAR OFF EVENT, at least 3/4 (three-quarters) of a century away.IT IS WISHFUL THINKING on the part of those who have been or are VICTIMS of 'PAX AMERICANO' that COLLAPSE SHOULD BE BECKONING ON ITS EMPIRE' !!! The GREEN BACK MIGHT HAVE A 'BLACK BRUISED EYE now ' but MUCH LIKE OLYMPIC BOXING CHAMPION 'CASSIUS CLAY a.k.a MUHAMMAD ALLI did AFTER BEING FLOORED BY OUR ''ENRY COOPER' in LONDON, she is (UNFORTUNATELY)) FOR BETTER or FOR WORSE certainly RISING UP AGAIN TO CONTINUE ITS IMPERIAL DOMINATION , OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE ,AFRICA and ASIA MINOR NOT MAJOR !!! .IMPERIAL AMERICA ARE STILL THE TRUE MASTERS OF 'CYBER INNOVATION and CHICANERY and bound to WIN, in the short term AT LEAST , THE LOOMING CYBER-WARS as IT FINDS IT IMPOSSIBLE TO PROTECT IT 'INNOVATIVE SKILLS AND WEALTH" !!! WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN and this applies to IMPERIAL MIGHT, INFLUENCE AND GLORY whether it is EAST or WEST OF SUEZ , JERUSALEM, QOM or NANJING !!!!!!!
 

Matloob ul Hasan (81)
Saturday March 10, 2012, 7:27 pm
Noted, thanks.
 

Mary Donnelly (47)
Saturday March 10, 2012, 11:30 pm
Thanks Lynn--great post.

I was disappointed that there have been so few comments; I was somewhat surprised that the author of the post went to Mexico to get away from the USA; his Spanish must be much better than mine!
 

Virginia Esquer (10)
Sunday March 11, 2012, 12:20 am
i don't think right now there is no american dream
 

Veronique L. (213)
Sunday March 11, 2012, 3:04 am
Thank you for this interesting article...read from a French point of view!
 

paul m. (93)
Sunday March 11, 2012, 7:07 am

Noted,,,thanks
 

Jane H. (136)
Sunday March 11, 2012, 10:13 am
Well, only time will tell. I can be grateful that I was born in this time and place...
 

Diane Piecara (14)
Sunday March 11, 2012, 2:56 pm
I loved this piece. I have questioned for years why people have such short-sighted options and goals. There are many who seek a greater good for the world. However, Morris Berman has made a good observation that the hustlers are the heros while others seeking a broader better world are marginalized. It is thought provoking and I would like to read more on this.
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 11, 2012, 3:59 pm
dAlbert M.

Why are you shouting?
 

monka blank (82)
Sunday March 11, 2012, 4:50 pm
Thanks Lynn--great post. Some of the comments are good, so where does it go wrong ? Why are people so shortsighted and vote for the Reps ? (This is if you want the right to carry a gun, if you want war, poverty and so called tradition, where women are propelled back into the life of a housewife, serving her husband and raise the kids only)
Thanks, but No thanks. The 99% should think careful and vote accordingly.
 

JL A. (275)
Sunday March 11, 2012, 5:44 pm
Any form of excess can be considered gluttony, which Catholics consider a deadly sin.......
 

Susanne R. (249)
Monday March 12, 2012, 12:00 am
My favorite selection from the article:

"There is a story, probably apocryphal, of a Native American scouting expedition that came across the starving members of the Donner Party in 1847, who were snowbound in the Sierra Nevadas and resorted to cannibalism in order to survive. The expedition, which had never seen white people before, observed the Donner Party from a distance, then returned to base camp to report what they had seen. The report consisted of four words: 'They eat each other.' Frankly, if I could summarize the argument of Why America Failed in a single phrase, this would be it. Unless Occupy Wall Street (or some other sociopolitical movement) manages to turn things around in a fundamental way, 'They ate each other' will be our epitaph."

The author makes a very valid point. GREED is destroying America!

Thanks for posting this very interesting and informative article, Lynn!
 

Parvez Zuberi (7)
Monday March 12, 2012, 12:54 am
Thanks for interesting article
 

. (0)
Monday March 12, 2012, 3:04 am
All empires rot from within before they fall to an external force. Those at the top are causing us to rot from within. It is possible to treat others equitably and still make a good life for yourself. It is very simple. You can't always put others down to bring yourself up. You have to bring up all those around you. Then and only then will you have a better society, better economy and better foreign policy.
 

Quanta Kiran (65)
Monday March 12, 2012, 3:33 am
Thanks.
 

TERRANCE N. (65)
Monday March 12, 2012, 11:49 am
The auther advances the hypothesis that Americans themselves have chosen the system we have by our need for materialistic consumption also known as the "American dream". He turns the argument of the 1% on it's head. Can %1 of the population really rule us unless so many of us are also complicit? I have studied, analyzed and observed the American people in action. I tend to agree with Mr. Morris.

Americans are clever, inttelligent, but on the whole the mass corporate media with their sounding board of conspicuous consumption 24/7 has made us as a country stupid. I find myself having the urge to consume corporate junk and gadgets.

Let's face it; we are in a matrix of corporate soup that demands our stupidity. When we deviate we are punished with lack of opportunity, promotion, and money. We are paid to be lying newscasters, sports freaks, entertainers, and religious fanatics. But expose the truth and you are hunted down like King, Kennedy, Lennon, Malcolm X, Ghandi, Harrient Tubman, and Princess Di.
 

Victor M. (236)
Wednesday March 14, 2012, 11:26 am
All empires come to an end
 
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