to a death in his family, Justin Raimondo will be away
this week. He will return Monday.
chic is in bloom on the left as well as the right, with
weepy liberals like Michael
Ignatieff joining neoconservatives Max
Boot and Dinesh D'Souza in hailing the American
Caesar. "People are now coming out of the closet
on the word 'empire'," noted Washington Post
resident neocon Charles Krauthammer. It's a measure
of the new shamelessness. No idea is too obscene as
to not enjoy its momentary fashion, not even the repeal
of the American Revolution.
insult to injury and adding to the suspicion that
the whole idea is inherently un-American – the
most vocal are immigrants: Ignatieff and Mark "imperialism
is the answer" Steyn hail from Canada, and
though Krauthammer was born in New York, he grew up
in Montreal. Historian Paul Johnson, who poses colonialism
as the solution to the terrorist challenge, is British:
D'Souza, who pines for the days of "jodhpurs and
pith helmets," was born in India.
always wondered why it is that foreigners seem to be
among the most militant of the neo-imperialists, and
an interesting piece by Jeet Heer in the Boston Globe,
Anglosphere," traces the history of the idea
of American expansionism as primarily an attempt to
mimic Great Britain:
many years, supporters of the British empire tended
to be anti-American in outlook; they regarded the upstart
republic as disorderly and disloyal. But with the rise
of German power in the late 19th century,
'Anglo-Saxon unity' became the watchword and British
imperialists began encouraging American expansionism."
explains, in part, the Canadian connection, but none
of this is new. The idea of the Anglosphere was first
broached by Clarence
K. Streit, and other Anglophiles, in the 1940s,
who promoted the idea of a formal U.S. merger with the
United Kingdom through such organizations as "Union
Now." Winston Churchill's book, A
History of the English-Speaking People,"
inspired the movement. The Unionists believed (and still
believe) that the Pax Britannia must be replaced by
a Pax Americana: in their view, the American Revolution
was a mistake that ought to be rectified forthwith.
Today, the neo-Unionists (otherwise known as neoconservatives)
are touting the rise of the Anglo-American Raj in Iraq,
and urging its expansion to Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia,
particularly like Heers' take on neo-imperialism as
a career move as well as an ideology:
is often seen as an expanding circle, with power radiating
outward from a capital city like London or Paris to
hinterlands. But a quick review of history shows that
imperial enthusiasm doesn't emanate only from the center.
Often, the dream of empire is nursed by those born on
the periphery of power, precisely because empire would
give them a place in a larger framework."
goes on to cite Alexander the Great and Napoleon as
two examples of this trend. I would also point to the
Visigoths and other "barbarians"
who became Roman emperors. The modern manifestation
of this Visigoth-mercenary trend is the increasing amount
of foreigners who serve in the U.S. armed forces, underscored
during the Iraq fighting by the
number of foreign-born casualties. Promised citizenship
and financial benefits in exchange for a term of service,
these foreign fighters are the modern equivalent of
the German tribes brought into the Roman army who eventually
became a power in their own right, ensconcing themselves
in the Praetorian Guard and toppling Emperors at will.
It all ended in the sack of Rome
to the Imperial metropolis by the opportunities available
to ambitious young immigrants in an ever-growing Empire,
a whole new interest group has arisen in this country
dedicated to overseas expansionism. Their intellectual
spokesmen are not shy about their origins, as Heers
think there's more openness among children of the British
Empire to the benefits of imperialism, whereas some
Americans have never gotten over the fact that our country
was born in a revolt against empire,'' notes Max Boot,
currently a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
'But lots of people who are advocating pro-imperial
arguments - such as Bill Kristol and me - are not Brits
or Canadians.' (Boot, who was born in Russia, moved
to the United States as a baby.)"
others, such as the Canadian David Frum, shy away from
the idea of an American empire, and instead refer to
"neo-Wilsonianism on the right." Boot accurately
avers, however, that the issue is more semantic than
substantial. In any case, Frum is the chief critic of
those of us on the right who oppose empire-building,
yet he wisely perceives that the American people don't
see their anti-colonialist heritage as something to
be gotten over. The smart money is on a de facto imperialist
policy effectively pursued and supported by the majority
of Americans under a false flag of Wilsonian "idealism"
tragic irony of an overseas crusade to export liberal
democracy at gunpoint is that to the degree we are successful
we undermine our system of constitutional limited
government on the home front. The tax burden alone is
enough to permanently crush any hope of freeing up the
American economy, and, besides that, an empire cries
out for an Emperor or a President with monarchical
powers. The Founders warned against the dangers of foreign
entanglements and overseas wars precisely because they
feared the restoration of royalism.
got rid of one King George, the hard way; which is why
the effort to enthrone another one is intellectual sedition.
American patriotism does not consist of unthinking loyalty
to the policies of whatever party is in power, but fealty
to the ideals promulgated by the Founding Fathers of
this country. And surely our forefathers are rolling
over in their graves as they listen to these latter-day
Tories most of them foreign-born! calling for the
overthrow of our Republic paid for in blood of patriots.
IN THE MARGIN
much as I don't like to interrupt my schedule, a death
in the family is going to keep me away from my computer
at the end of this week. I'll be back on Monday.
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