3/8/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
In today’s Mint we submit to you, fellow taxpayer, an excerpt of our upcoming E-book release: On the Nature of Empire. Enjoy!
Empire: An Introduction
empire -/’empī(ə)r/- noun -1. An extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority or oligarchy.
Derived from the Latin imperium, the word Empire has come to embody the concept of dominance on a grand scale. From the time of the original Akkadian, Mayan, and Egyptian Empires to the more recent Greek, Roman, and British versions, the ignoble goal of all Imperial activities has been to establish and maintain primacy in the affairs of men and women throughout the entire known world.
Proof of this is found in the nearly invariable behavior of the heads of Empire, known as emperors and empresses, who come to embody the ultimate conceit of the imperial mindset by attempting to establish themselves as a deity. The conceit is always fatal, for this ridiculous presumption has the nasty side-affect of destroying any shred of legitimacy that the head of Empire may have previously established. However, whether or not the emperor publically manifests a claim to deity by demanding reverence reserved for the truly divine or, at the opposite end of the spectrum of possible outcomes, they make a demand for reverence that goes largely unchallenged, those who have reigned in the emperor’s chair have invariably come to assume that they had, at their disposal, the divine right to liquidate any and all threats to their claim to the ultimate power over their fellow mortals.
In the twenty first century, it has become clear to most that there is no divine right or imperative for the existence of an Empire on the earth. As such, an ever increasing number of peoples have thrown off the yoke of Empire in favor of a what has become known as a democratic model of collective governance. Yet simply changing the rules of governance has not put an end to the core ideals of Empire, and the hallmarks of Imperial rule, namely the tendencies towards a central monopoly on the use of force and the right to demand tribute, have been largely retained by governments today that are elected democratically. How can this be?
The concept of Empire is a construction of men, and is largely a result of a tolerance by the many of what is nothing more than antisocial behavior by a few. As we have stated above, an Empire, at its base, is a monopoly on the use of force which evolves into a monopoly on the right to demand tribute. Living under Imperial rule is not man’s natural state, and it will eventually come into conflict with mankind’s natural disposition for autonomy, commonly known as freedom or the right to self determination.
Why do the many tolerate the antisocial behavior by a few that ultimately leads to Imperial rule? The answer is that Empires do not appear overnight. They emerge over relatively long time horizons and, until they approach their blow off phase, may appear to have many benefits. However, these benefits always come at a great human cost, a cost that is almost always obscured from those who receive them.
It should come as no surprise, then, that there is no historical evidence of an Empire spontaneously arising by mutual consent. On the contrary, Empires are created and expanded by subjugating a territory and the peoples that inhabit it via either the threat or actual use of military force. Once subjugated, the Empire attempts to consolidate its control of the territory by exacting tribute from its subject. From ancient times up to today, an Empire’s demand for tribute ultimately manifests itself in taking control over the food supply.
One of the more poignant historical examples of this can be found in the Biblical book of Genesis, where Joseph advises the emperor of Egypt at the time, Pharaoh, to store up the Egyptian grain production for a time in anticipation of a seven year famine. The Pharaoh then sold the grain back to the Egyptians and foreigners during the famine. While the story generally has a happy ending, it is a stark example of the Imperial prerogative to confiscate property via taxation.
Given this example, it is no surprise that the first known system of taxation was in Ancient Egypt around 3000 BCE – 2800 BCE.
Paradoxically, the subjects of Empire, who could just as easily eat from the foodstuffs they produce and store up their own rainy day funds, find themselves rendering their harvests to the representatives of the Empire, in the case of the Pharaohs, a full 20% of their production, only to be forced to beg them back at a future date when the need arises. The Paradox is furthered in that the Empire, in attempting to maintain primacy via various forms of taxation, ultimately ensures its demise, as the inherent waste in the Imperial model overwhelm its ability to extract further tribute from its subjects.
The mechanism of taxation itself causes the Empire to weaken, as it indirectly encourages sub optimum activity and in the worst case, inactivity and waste by those who receive the benefits of the proceeds of the taxes.
Long before the Empire becomes aware of its weakened state, the subjects themselves are often the first to realize that the Emperor is wearing no clothes, to borrow Mr. Andersen’s metaphor. Those with the means and the initiative will move to escape the withering grasp of the Empire. Those who do not leave are often left to perish in a futile effort to either defend the Empire or oppose it through the same force of arms by which the Empire came to their lands. For an Empire must ultimately demand allegiance from its subjects, and an intolerance for dissention will tend to increase in direct proportion to the level of weakness of the Empire.
As such, for an Empire to perpetuate itself, it must rely entirely on the force of arms when necessary and coercive propaganda at all times in an ultimately futile attempt to assure it retains the primitive right to meddle in the affairs of others. In the final blow off phase, which is marked by civil wars such as the one currently playing out in Syria, the Empire will resort almost exclusively to the use of arms to squash dissention.
Yet the maintenance of Empire, like the air travel industry, is in every case a losing proposition. It is an utter and complete waste of time and money. To maintain an Empire requires an ever increasing amount of human and intellectual capital which are depleted in ever increasing quantities as the Empire slides into history’s dustbin, where it will simply attach itself to the long list of Empires that were.
The concept of Empire has always been lethal to human existence and prosperity. However, for some reason it is romanticized in the human psyche. The purpose of this volume is to gain an understanding of the true nature of Empire and, to convince the reader that not only is Empire, and by extension large scale government, unnecessary, but it is a hindrance to human progress and virtually ensures that the worst elements of humanity will rise to power, where they will ultimately impose their will on the rest of us by violence. For the violent outcomes the Empires invariably produce are not exceptions to the rule, nor are they merely the norm.
They are literally guaranteed.
Finally, we address Pontius Pilate’s infamous inquiry, to Jesus of Nazareth before His public trial:
“What is truth?”
It is a question that has been left to humanity for two millennia, and it is time that it be answered, for in the answer lies our common fate.
Intrigued? Stay tuned to The Mint for the book’s release.
Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.
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