1) The Military Industrial Complex
In 1960 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower was leaving office he gave the American people a salient warning in his farewell address. This military man, General and Supreme Allied Commander in WWII, warned us against the rise of the Military Industrial Complex. The MIC is the combination of a large armaments industry, corporations, and the standing military. This combination is responsible for the creation of the national security state. The main goal of this group is to keep the USA on a constant war footing to further keep up their massive profits at the expense of the American taxpayers. This combination has no desire to see peace. War is how their money is made. New toys for politicians to exert power against weaker nations for the benefit of US corporations. Every year the military budget grows larger and larger, more bombs, planes and ships are built and funded, and war planned. To garner support for this program is the propaganda put out by the government - media complex to "support our troops", to "defend freedom" and "fight terrorists". A near worship of the military, and call to "respect" our military "leaders" is hurled at the citizenry. Compare this to our Founding Fathers fear of a standing army. They correctly saw that a standing military is a solecism in a republic. An armed citizenry, and militia made up of free men is the answer to national defense. A standing military is one building block of a growing imperial government.
2) The Elite Super Rich
In the United States today roughly 10 % of the population own 90% of all the wealth in the nation, and 1% of them own 50 % of that wealth. These statistics should frighten every believer and friend to liberty. I am sorry if this offends the fanatical free market libertarians, but these are accurate facts. Many libertarians would say that it doesn't matter if these stats are correct since the wealthy have no desire to oppress the people, because we are potential customers. This is rhetorical nonsense. In every age and nation the elite super rich have been the opponents of freedom and liberty for the masses. The reason for this is they are usually in alliance with the government and control it to their ends. Large concentrations of private wealth buy access to government and power. Whether the aristocrats of the monarchies of the middle ages or the wealthy communist bureaucrats the goal is the same, domination and control of government and enslavement of the people. Our Founders greatly feared large concentrations of wealth and they knew that such wealth was destructive to liberty.
Today the super rich are made up of the CEO's of large corporations,
politicians and government bureaucrats. This combination joins together to pillage and fleece the American people through huge tax breaks for corporations, in turn placing the tax burden on the middle and lower classes, subsidies for businesses and corporations, and fat government contracts. They use the government bureaucrats to feather their own nests and increase their wealth. Mercantilism at it's finest.
Government bureaucracy. This monster slowly strangles it's victims, the taxpayers, like a Mafia assassin. Taxes are raised every year on the middle classes. These taxes are everywhere: the gas pump, the cash register, property taxes on residences, paycheck witholding, social security, unemployment benefits, etc, the list could go on forever. The rise of administrative law destroys the rights of individuals to a proper due process by prohibiting trial by jury. Regulations are promulgated and decreed on high, written in complicated language and then used to snare the unsuspecting businessman or average citizen in a web of fines, penalties and prison. Over the last 40 years government bureaucracy has grown exponentially. All imperial powers need massive government bureaucracies to rule over the people.
Free speech in the USA is under extreme assault from both the right and the left. Rightwingers want to ban pornography, censor the internet, arrest people for "treasonous speech", and fund propaganda for the US government. Leftwingers want to pass hate crime laws, institute "speech codes" at colleges, and ban "racial epithets". Of course behind all this is the coercive power of government. The First Amendment is to be cast aside as an archaic law, bringing the USA that much closer to tyranny. Once free speech is completely ended, slavery is inevitable.
5) The Rise of Fanatical Religion and Cults
This is typical of a nation sinking into Empire when you see the rise of anti-intellectual movements like the Christian Right, the animal rights movement, anarchial movements ( both libertarian and leftist), super patriots ( Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Gordon Liddy etc), and general nihlism. All of these movements have objects of hate to unite them. For the Chrisitan Right it is homosexuals, liberals, secular humanists, other Christians, Muslims, Wiccans, Mormons, Roman Catholics, and abortion. For the Animal Rights folks it is scientists, science in general, any form of progress for humans, and people who eat meat. The Super Patriots hate liberals, libertarians, atheists, secular humanists, anyone who opposes their love of war, anyone insufficiently patriotic in their eyes, and anyone who dislikes President Bush. Usually they are sadistic and insecure individuals that love to exude power over others. They also crave the failure and misfortunes of others, usually the poor, and occasionally refer to them as "parasites", on society.
It is as Jefferson called it the "bellum omnium in omnia", Latin for the "war of all against all". All of this leads us closer to Empire as people are busy fighting each other and for causes that are destructive to the preservation of liberty. A republic cannot survive under such stresses, and it makes Empire virtually inevitable.
6) Violations of the Constitution
The US Constitution, while not perfect, is far preferable to 99% of the governing documents in the world, except maybe the Swiss Confederation. The Constitution is a document that lays out the powers of the federal government and along with the Bill of Rights spells out it's limitations. It established a republic, the first since ancient Greece and Rome, with roots in Enlightenment philosophy. The people, not kings, priests, or nobles would possess the sovereignty. Unfortunately since the US Civil War, the US Constitution has slowly been usurped, ignored, and cast aside. Both liberals and conservatives have violated it. Rightists want to portray it as a "Christian" document ordained by God, and Leftists want to make it a "living" document with no real meaning. Both views are not only wrong but dangerous. A government with limitless power is also absolute. The politicians, not the people will rule.
7) The Increase of Executive Power
In conjunction with the growth of the Federal government, has come the inevitable growth of the power and size of the Executive branch. The Presidency, as feared by many of our Founders, has morphed into an elective monarchy. All of the trappings are there. A large salary, a palace ( the White House), a Praetorian Guard ( the Secret Service), unlimited control of the military, rule by decree ( executive orders), and a huge swath of patronage to dole out ( government jobs and positions). The Presidents today, unlike every President from Jefferson to Woodrow Wilson, now address the Congress in person, as if it were a speech from the throne. Two areas are the most dangerous. First the ability of the President to send soliders across the globe without any real approval of Congress, and secondly his ability to circumvent the legislative process by issuing executive orders with the force of law.
These usurped powers are worthy of a king or emperor, not the chief executive of a democratic republic. Sadly, the Republican Party is attempting to elevate the President to the status of a king by their propaganda.His sycophants call him "our President", "your President", "our leader", "the Commander in Chief", etc. This sickening groveling is a far cry from the republican simplicity of Jefferson's presidency where he abolished levees, sent written messages to Congress, reduced the size of the executive branch, refused to proclaim days of fasting and prayer, citing the unconstitutionality of such acts, and normally deferred to the federal Congress on policy matters.
8) Perpetual War
Currently the United States has a military presence in over 140 nations around the globe. This of course puts soliders in precarious situation of being involved in the internal affairs of other nations, making "defense" treaties that further entangle us in wars that are none of our business, nor have any direct threat to the US itself. Empires and imperialists love war. War increases the size of the standing military, increases the military budget, causes civil liberties to be cast aside or abolished outright, and most importantly increases the wealth and power of the imperialists who are in the government. The famous term "war is the health of the state" should be modified to say" war is the health of all empires". Throughout history it has been empires, monarchies , communist dictatorships, plutocracies, and other tyrannies that have been the advocates of power and perpetual war. Republics, if libertarian and democratic, have absolutely no reason to attack each other or any other nation.
Thomas Jefferson described the best of all foreign policies for a nation, especially a republic in his First Inaugural Address: " Peace, Commerce and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none."
9) The Government Media Complex
At one time in the United States the press was free and full of vigorous and spirited debate and discussion. Those days are long gone. Now the Media and the Federal Government have incestous and mutually beneficial relationship that keeps both powerful, and the people duped. Through the power of the FCC the Federal Government can fine, ban, or restrict radio stations, and television from allowing "indecent speech". This doctrine has been supported by both leftists and rightists throughout the last 40 years. Who suffers? Don't we want the banning or restriction of "indecent" speech? I say NO! Personal censorship is the answer. If you don't like something, DON"T WATCH IT! Do not let hypocritical government bureaucrats tell you what you should see and hear. What's next, newspapers? Maybe, but newspapers are already shills for power.
News stations like CNN, FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC, are not interested in freedom. They are part of the corporate government-media complex with FOX in particular leading the charge. With morons like Bill O'Reilly, a shameful, anti-freedom statist, Brit Hume, and Roger Ailes, who runs FOX, they have become the propaganda arm of the Republican Party and the Federal government. O' Reilly calls for newspapers to be shut down, shouts down anyone who disagrees in "No Spin Zone" and behaves like the egotistical bully he is. All the while he parrots the Party line shilling for Bush and Co. at the expense of liberty. The free press, if not dead, is dying. O'Reilly is a symptom of the greater disease of anti intellectualism in which thugs, bullies, and power hungry individuals use force, slander and outright lying to acheive their goals of tyranny and oppression.
10) Debt Slavery
I believe that debt, both public and private, is one of the most corrosive corruptions in our Republic. I, however, view it differently that some of my other libertarian friends. Witness the latest assault on the middle and working classes of the United States, the recently passed bankruptcy "reform" bill. Bankruptcy legislation is one of the enumerated powers of the Federal government, so it is proper for the Congress to legislate on matters of bankruptcy. Most bankruptcies are not,as propagated by the corporate media the result of irresponsible people who get into debt. Oh, of course some debtors are in this boat, most are not. 50% of all bankruptcies are the result of medical bills, and 2/3 of that figure are people who have insurance. Another 40% are the result of death of a significant other (spouse or partner) causing one's income to drop dramatically. The rest are a result of other factors, including irresponsibility. The Republican Party, and some corporate Democrats, have decided to be mercantilists and lend support to their allies in the business world. In the recent "reform" bill, all exemptions for working folks were eliminated. Spouse dies, too bad!, Medical bills overwhelming you, too bad! Lose your job? Too Bad! Also eliminated was the homestead exemption ( this keeps your house from being seized) and if your a veteran fighting in one of the Empire's foreign wars, you too lose any protection that previous laws once provided. As a libertarian I agree that if one can pay back debts they should, but life is not always so black and white. Libertarians need to wake up and acknowledge that the middle classes are the backbone of the Republic. No republic can survive a society of the very rich and the very poor. Large concentrations of wealth along with a large poverty stricken populace might be desirable if you are the head of a Latin American dictatorship, but not a free republic like the US. Our way of life, along with freedom, cannot survive the corporate class war on the rest of society.
The answer does not lie in Marxist redistribution of wealth, but a right wing redistribution is just as bad. This will in effect create an aristocracy similar to those that existed in the middle ages. A new nobility of corporations, government bureaucrats, large industries, and a powerful military will combine to keep the masses in line. Let us recognize this danger before it is too late.
Here is an apt quote from Jefferson describing the condition of the British Empire in a letter to J.F. Watson in 1814:
" the vital principle of the English constitution is corruption, it's practices the natural results of that principle, and their consequences a pampered aristocracy, annhilation of the substantial middle class, a degraded populace, oppressive taxes, general pauperism, and national bankruptcy." What Jefferson is describing eerily resembles the modern United States, doesn't it?
We are rapidly transforming into the old British Empire. The result will be the same calamities that Jefferson described above. Those conditions will be the a further step towards Empire.
These ten planks are I believe the biggest threats to the Republic and a windfall to he rise of the Empire. American history is replete with examples of resistance to tyranny. From the Levellers in the radical English Revolution of the mid 17th century , the radicals of the American Revolution to the Jeffersonians of the early 19th century, we have a history of libertarian and democratic ideals which we can use to oppose the Empire and it's sycophants. If we do not heed this history, we will fall prey to the same despotism that destroyed the Roman and French Republics,and what will be left for our children will be a life of misery, poverty, and slavery. Let's awaken ourselves to the danger before it is too late.