Thursday, April 10, 2008

Imperial Guilt

In the U.S.- those who are aware of the hegemony we wield over the world are often encouraged to feel a sense of guilt. In academic circles, this at times arises as: Shame on you, citizens of an empire! Feel the guilt and then make change for the better!

I'm not sure if this is a very constructive way of taking responsibility. Pluralism and post-modernism, once again, is notorious for its system-busting characteristics. They're very good at deconstructing cultural myths, naivety and bias. That being said, politics and power in the US has been torn into shreds by most academic circles. Political scientists, sociologists and many other thinkers have been very critical of the US political activity in the past century. For good reason.

Yet I think I am resonating with Jim Garrison in Holons News' latest article. He writes,

Republics' imply single nations, democratically governed—which is what America was founded to be. The very essence of 'empire' is the control of one nation over other nations. While America remains a republic within its own borders, it has become an empire in relationship to the rest of the world."

"The central question before America, therefore, is what it should do with all the power that it has—how should it assert its authority, and for what end? This means that America should acknowledge—even celebrate—its transition to empire and acquisition of global mastery...."

~Jim Garrison, America as Empire



Could not have said it better myself. Although I'm not sure I'd go very far with celebrating our empire- I'll go as far to say that I'm grateful for living in a nation with so many benefits. The power we hold has much potential, and it can be used to build up or ravage the rest of the world.

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