Tuesday, May 1, 2012

to a student supporter of empire

how are you? there was something i meant to mention to you today, but forgot. remember how, a few weeks ago, you commented about the seemingly frozen nature of the country's political system? ie, the government seems unable to get anything meaningful done, sort of like China's one-party system? then i was recalling what you said at the beginning of the semester, about how you thought having an empire was a good thing. do you think it possible that some of the stagnation and incompetence in DC is due to the weight of the empire? my view -- my personal view only, which i tell you because you might be interested -- is that the empire (ie, the massive complex of military, intelligence, and industrial components, with their politician backers) is harming the republic fiscally and politically. fiscally, because it is draining funds for purposes very tangential to the needs of ordinary americans -- that clinic in iraq might be of use to iraqis, but is it helping us? politically, because this entire complex is unelected, and essentially influences politicians to support it at all costs. after all, there is a massive amount of money in the empire and its bureaucracies -- and how many politicians are beholden to it? money-wise, just look at the 'Joint Strike Fighter' -- already 10 years behind schedule (!!!) and predicted to cost 1.5 trillion dollars over the life of the jets, far more expensive than the planes we already have but only marginally (if that) better than our current planes. politics-wise, look at all the low-hanging policy fruit Obama could have done something about, were he really as serious about dealing with real issues as he is with managing the workings of our bloated empire. foreclosures -- nothing, or almost nothing done. tens of millions affected. and the money needed to deal with that issue? peanuts, compared to the money sucked up by the military-industrial complex. the empire is not the only problem, not by a long shot. but look at history: what happens to all empires, and the governments that struggle to shoulder them? eventually, massive cost overruns, and huge mission overreach, because the government is unable to limit what it (the military apparatus and its allies) is doing. spain fought dutch independence for, what, 80 years? was that war really necessary to the interests of the spanish people? no more so than our many wars (no longer declared or managed by congress) are necessary to us. institutional paralysis. aren't we doing what they did? in a recession, yet the military budgets grow every year. hundreds of bases in most countries on earth! all necessary? i doubt it. is it because we are more threatened than at any point in our history? of course not. al-qaeda, that diminishing gang of thugs, more dangerous than nazi germany? no way. the empire is just taking what it wants, and the politicians can do nothing about it -- most of them are in on it! (even liberals! look at joe courtney, in the 2nd district). for sure, welfare entitlements (medicare, etc) are also huge fiscal factors. but at least that money is going to ordinary americans and is cycling through the economy, not fattening defense industry bottom lines or the campaign coffers of the politicians who support them. and medicare doesn't corrupt the democratic process the way the imperial apparatus does. money aside, morally, what do empires do to republics? they ruin them. look at rome. it went from being a republic with some democratic traditions to a plutocracy run by noble families. which is where we are now, or pretty close to it. just my opinion, of course. some food for thought. (right at the moment when you are ready to stop thinking for a while, probably. sorry about that). congratulations on graduating, and good luck to you,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

how would one solve the foreclosure problem?