‘The Sorrows of Empire’ and the Founding of a New Rome

by on October 16th, 2005

In the third chapter ‘Toward the New Rome’, in his larger narrative ‘The Sorrows of Empire’ Chalmers Johnson writes “Not since the jingoists of the Spanish-American War have so many Americans openly called for abandoning even a semblance of constitutional and democratic foreign policy and endorsed imperialism.”

According to Johnson, a new era is on the rise, where the sanctities of the old Republic are being desecrated, in the face of a concerted effort geared towards militarism and secrecy.

This New World Order, according to Mr. Johnson, operates in “an odd combination of Wilsonian idealism and Reaganite muscularity”, which has decidedly culminated in a systematic, worldwide penetration of the American imperialistic system, eviscerating national autonomies and cultural self-preservation of foreign nations (Johnson notes South Korea as one, mentioning the two cases of rape incidents perpetrated by American soldiers, another case of reckless behavior involving the death of two teenage girls, and the inconsiderate use of prime acres in the dense city of Seoul for the lavish construction projects of the American military).

Johnson decries America’s alleged disregard towards symbolic values in an unabashed effort to proclaim American unilateral world domination, citing the Neoconservative movement, whose apathy for authentic global humanitarian causes and goals perhaps may be noted as the psychology behind this new world government, and perhaps a discretionary note towards the compounded ramifications of such order of thought.

Johnson cites Sebastian Mallaby, a Washington Post columnist: “Mallaby proposes, among other things, that the United States create a new American-dominated “international” organization modeled after the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to ‘fill the security void that empires left’”.

According to Walter Russell Mead, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the United States is “the gyroscope of world order.” Indeed, this is what Chalmers Johnson dreads.

In the rising New Rome, the irreconcilable genuine differences between the Senatus and the Publius are being forcibly bridged with a synthetic glue resembling the panacea of ‘Democratic justice’. Public Opinion, carefully crafted; organized around the deliberate and systematic supervision of information, is becoming an indentured servant of the scion of change. But then again, when was it not?

Mr. Johnson’s points are moot. Indeed, the world is changing, and this country has become Walter Russell Mead’s proverbial gyroscope, rightfully or not. However, the reality of State control has been extant for thousands of years. When Chalmers Johnson says ‘The Sorrows of Empire’ he neglects to understand that no one is crying.

I just went for a leisurely stroll through a well-to-do East Coast suburbia, I noticed a motley of young girls and boys dressed in black, smeared in dark mascara, lips stained purple black, and metal chains with embedded silver protrusions loosely hanging around the drooping curves of the waist. Some of them had smoking paper cylinders dangling by the waysides of their mouths.

I noticed the daily sales objective of a McDonald’s outlet: their extra large burgers had outperformed that day’s sales expectations by over 50%. A group of giggling youth streamed through the mall, with suggestive tank tops and ogling ‘spending spree’ looks, and uncensored intentions.

A buxom woman tiptoed by a group of seated senile men and women well past their 60’s, with the words ‘These are for real’ pronounced on her swiveling bulging torso.

And finally, the snapshot of the day: a ‘family’ of 7 African-Americans whose average age must have been 16 (the guess range being 26 to 6), a grown black woman draped from head to toe in an Orthodox Islamic garb permitting only a small slit for her eyes, and a black man in a traditional Islamic gown with a full beard; between them a noisy, but suspiciously bony, group of 5 children invoking haunting images of New Orleans.

The woman carried in her barely exposed fingers a bag of fast food, and the man liberally swung in his a collection of shopping bags from a clothing store called ‘G-Spot’ catering to designer sneakers and XXL sized garments for enthusiasts of the same.

While it is well, while a little outmoded (by atleast 5,000 years), to condemn ‘the evil of Secrecy and Imperialism’ and the end of a mythic ‘Republic’; never mind, that the geometric growth of all world orders, all nations, have circulated around the manipulation of the average man, and the brainwashing of all soldiers: the best examples of the average man.

The majority thrives in the cultivation of an insatiable appetite, and few amongst them would care about ‘The Sorrows of Empire’.

Far removed from the bases in Okinawa, the concentration camps at Guantanamo bay, and all other alleged models of vice, our men and women, our young people today contemplate such Socratic questions as ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’, transporting their mental flesh to Corporate and Carribbean adventures through reality TV shows.

It is hard to purchase something without being seduced incontrovertibly by gliding curves, and suggestive slogans.

The Sorrows of Empire do not concern itself with the categorical suspension of historical symbolism, proliferation of nuclear cylinders, cartloads of crack, or diplomatic debacles.

They are far more visceral, far more connected to the impulses of its citizens, far more pervasive in ramification. The Sorrows of Empire are being wrought by the medication of an entire nation on Prozac, Ritalin, and diet-pills. Indeed, it is confirmed, 50% of Americans experience the effects of a diagnosable mental disorder.

Public education is supplying our nation with hordes of young men and women who are incapable of sustaining America’s traditional excellence, swept aside by more compelling considerations below the waist.

“Creativity has become the global gold standard for economic growth, and yet the United States seems intent on shooting itself not just in the foot but in the brain. …” reports Corporate cognoscente Alan M. Webber.

Mr.Johnson, who cares?

“No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”~Henry Louis Mencken (American journalist and social commentator)

“See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time.”~ Robin Williams (American Actor)

“The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force.”~Adolf Hitler (German Chancellors, leader of the Nazi Party, 1889-1945)

“To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.”~ Confucius (Chinese Philosopher and Political Theorist, 551-479 BC)

Alexander Rai