Has Imperialism Gotten A Bad Rap?

By: Victoria Kline – Integrity Intercept Eyes on the Truth, #8

I wholeheartedly admit, most of this article was stolen from Victor Davis Hanson. I called Hillsdale College to ask permission for a reprint of an Imprimis article July/August 2023. Volume 52, Number 7/8.

They could not give permission yet encouraged copying and handing it out to our hearts’ delight. I then said, “I can quote heavily from it, right?” they said, “Sure, within reason.” Well, I’m a reasonable person and I do love quotation marks.  

“The word imperialism comes from the Latin word imperium. It refers to a nation or a state implanting its rule on other states, treating them as subordinates and in an inferior fashion.” Hanson points out that some critics think America is acting imperialistically – we do have over 600 military bases around the world.

 I think it would be hoot if we discovered that “some critics” are the British saying this about America.

Historically, empires have commonalities. For example: “Leaders often say or seem to believe that their imperialist policies have little to do with self-interest.”  It is true that Mr. Hanson has a dry sense of humor, as he glides into historical figures like an agile cat on a roof.

Let us look at “Pericles’ famous funeral oration as recorded in the second book of Thucydides’ history of the Peloponnesian War.” The speech was delivered in 431 B.C., at the height of the Athenian Empire. “As Athens expropriated tribute from its subject states, it built the Parthenon, the Propylaea, and soon the Erechtheion.”

It is important to clarify that the government took land that did not belong to them, told the states it was for mutual defense, and spruced up the city to impress the states. Thucydides, who wrote the famous funeral oration said that Pericles was such a visionary, we would not need a poet like Homer to memorialize how totally awesome this leader was for he said, “We have forced every sea and land to be the highway of our daring, and everywhere, whether for evil or good, have left imperishable monuments behind us.”

Can you think of any seasoned leaders in local cities and counties that have grand visions which are tied to our growing taxes to improve us? I think we need one of the roads to the Panasonic Plant to be named Pericles. “In other words, Athens is proud of its mission to uplift the other Greek city-states-by force.”  

Continuing, “likewise with the Roman Republic and Empire.” Remember the United States is fashioned after this type of government. “Caesar went into Gaul in 58 B.C. and in a nine-year period killed perhaps one million Gaul’s and enslaved another million. And yet in Caesar’s Gallic Wars, and in later Roman literature, we read that Rome brought civilization to Gaul. The elite of Gaul were to wear purple togas, enjoy habeas corpus, and have aqueducts, so it was all for the good.” (1)

Well, purple togas are a must, and was habeas corpus something everyone knew now existed or was it passed off as something one said when you sneezed? And Rome’s aqueducts catapulted them down the road to greatness, our Kansas wind farms, not so much.

In fact, I really want to shove this into the article. Tennessee’s House Bill 726 should be followed by Kansas immediately.  Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution of Tennessee (All power is inherent in the people) declares: “That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; for the advancement of those ends they always have, an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.”

To summarize: As introduced, enacts the “Restoring State Sovereignty Through Nullification Act, which establishes processes by which the general assembly may nullify an unconstitutional federal statute, regulation, agency order, or executive order.” – Amends TCA Title 3 and Title 4.

The “Gaul” of some Caesars is beyond the pale. And, to understand this further check out this article in the Daily Caller. “Cherry-Picking Of Experts’: Biden’s Landmark Climate Report Authored By Eco-Activists Linked To Liberal Dark Money.” https://dailycaller.com/2023/11/29/biden-landmark-climate-report-activists/

Let us continue our historical imperialism journey, “similarly with sixteenth century imperialist Spain, which variously sent a force of 1,500 soldiers into Mexico in 1519 under Hernán Cortés. In two years, they destroyed Tenochtitlan, ancient Mexico City, wiping out probably 200,000 people. And was the purpose to gain land, gold, and riches to help in the fight against Protestantism and Islam in Europe? Not exactly, according to Bernal Diaz, who was on the expedition. Rather it was more to convert souls to Christianity and to stamp out sodomy, cannibalism, and human sacrifice. To be sure, the conquest had these effects.” (4) 

A quick read of Cortés life on Wikipedia will resonate profoundly with any student interested in imperialism in history. Hernán Cortés was born sickly yet mastered life “his way”. Everything from switching allegiances, disobeying direct orders, marrying the wrong woman for a title, fake news, smallpox helping to take out the enemy. It can be said that imperialists had to be almost as ruthless as those they removed. Read about the Great Temple Massacre on May 22, 1520. Both cultures record a festival for Tezcatlipoca, one of the main Aztec gods that required human sacrifice. It took thousands of deaths to stop an intoxicating dark civilization that participated in human sacrifice, cannibalism, and sodomy, all brought to a type of accounting for their perversion by imperialist conquerors to the Aztecs.(5)(6).

in 1899 a poem by Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands” was published in McClure’s Magazine. Theodore Roosevelt passed the poem around. Although he did not think it was well written, he thought it summed up nicely the United States’ expansion during the Philippine-American War and the U.S. Senate ratification of the treaty that placed Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba and the Philippines under American control. “Take up the White Man’s burden/In patience to abide/To veil the threat of terror/And check the show of pride/ By open speech and simple/An hundred times made plain/To see another’s profit/And work another’s gain.” The poem became the descriptor for Imperialist ideals. (7)

The Imperialist mindset is that necessary force is a burden for some to bear, to advance a backward country or culture. It’s often done reluctantly and for the good of the uncivilized. Such an endeavor couldn’t possibly be motivated by self-interest. 

“Another trait empires have in common is obviously their dependence for enforcement on some type of superior military power – most often the navy. True, the Spartans controlled the land empire, as did the Soviet Union; but those empires were confined with self-imposed limitations.”

Sea power allows the movement of troops around the enemy’s rear and imposes boycotts, stops trade and controls supplies.  There has always been a maritime element to the greatest empires. The Chinese in 1433 A.D. was light years ahead of Europe, and their Asian Empire was massive. The British Empire’s long-term rule was due to its superior navy, as the Royal Navy maintained its relative strength through the so-called “two power standard,” which required it to be at least as strong as the next two largest navies combined. (8)

“A third characteristic empires share in common – perhaps the most interesting and thoughtworthy – is that for all the supposed advantages to be had through imperial rule, a historical case can be made that it has never quite penciled out. The costs of control seem to outweigh the benefits, even though human nature being what it is -the imperialist tend to be oblivious to the expenses, perhaps because of the power and grandeur that comes with empires.”

A distressing story is that of Caledonian (Scottish) nationalist Calgacus in 85 A.D. in which Tacitus’s records his letter as he complains of the Roman military, “to robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a desert and call it peace.”  Calgacus correctly writes that some powers are so drunk on their own grandeur that they don’t want what they have conquered to benefit others. “One corollary to the unprofitability of empire is that it tends to corrupt the character of the imperial power.”  (9) (10)

The Athenian Empire was based on 180 subject democracies. They were subjugated to that type of government. In 415 B.C. the Athenian naval force traveled to Melos and demanded tribute, “you are for us or against us.” As the citizens of Milos tried to argue, they had a right to be independent and stay out of the fight between Sparta and Athens. Forcing this war upon Milos would only make the Greeks hate Athens even more. In response to the Melians’ refusal to submit, the Athenians enslaved women and children and slaughtered their men.

Originally, the Greek people wished Sparta would win and Athens lose. Even though Athens had many allies at its disposal. At first, this seemed strange. Athens had a democracy and Sparta had an oligarchy. Athens had influential philosophers like Socrates, Pericles, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, and Sophocles. I am sure people flocked to county board meetings to hear their long speeches and poetry recited. Sparta, however, was a backward rural area without a naval force.

It was the Sicilian Expedition that finally checked Athen’s hubris, despite conquering Milos. As Thucydides put it, “They were destroyed with total destruction, their fleet, their army – everything was destroyed, and few returned home.”

The Roman Republic had a similar fate. They conquered almost the entire Western Mediterranean. The farmers, a backbone to Rome, were shipped off to fight for long periods of time as legionaries. Their land was snatched by the wealthy and populated with two million slaves brought into the provinces. Huge amounts of money from conquered lands flowed into Italy. It enriched the elite class, whose members then consolidated the soldiers’ farms, leaving the wealthy with large estates worked by slaves.

The Republic had been known for “hard work, independence, autonomy, and agrarianism.” The military had become accustomed to pillaging (thank you Punic Wars) and when Carthage finally fell in 146 B.C., its population of 50,000, which was down from 500,000, was enslaved and the city taken to its foundation. “That same year the Romans looted and destroyed Corinth, Greece’s cultural capital.”

Rome degraded what made it mighty. There is something to be said that a republic will fall if it is overloaded with imperial ambitions. We may think of Britain’s highest moments of its imperial power as being in the 1850’s and 1860’s. However, when Charles Dickens’ Bleak House was published in 1852, it revealed many people were poor and lacking resources. The country spent its wealth throughout the world in a “civilizing” effort.

This brings us to our American Constitutional Republic. The homeless in San Francisco who are currently injecting themselves with drugs, defecating, and urinating on the streets can relate to the story of Bleak House. Chicago’s crime rates are skyrocketing, with gun violence at an all-time high. Yet, we “pledged to give 120 billion to Ukraine, making its military budget the third largest in the world.”

And tragedy does not just reside in big cities. Recently, a series of train derailments, like in East Palestine, Ohio oozed toxic waste into a working-class area that appeared to stay off our present leadership’s radar. (11) In fact, pictures of Ukraine and President Zelensky are easier to find than the 103 U.S. food manufacturing facilities destroyed during the Biden administration.(12)

“I am not sure one can properly say that the United States is an imperialist power, but this phenomenon of neglected and hollowed-out cores coupled with widespread overseas investments and commitments tends to be characteristic of empires.”

Today we have two clear “manifestations of imperialism…one is Chinese brand of imperialism. China de facto now controls 15 ports of the major ports in the world – ports that the Chinese have leased, rebuilt, and refashioned. The Chinese are very farsighted, so these ports are not just random acquisitions. They control the Panama Canal. They monitor the entry into the Mediterranean at Tangiers and the exit of Port Said. The two largest Ports in Europe, Antwerp and Rotterdam, are in the hands of the Chinese, as are the artificial islands in the South China Sea, a gateway for 50 percent of global ocean traffic.” (13)

Earlier this year I had two friends visit the Panama Canal. Ironically, they visited in the same month. Neither of them knew one another and both reported they were told the Chinese operate the Panama port. Despite this, they didn’t really see any Chinese.

Think about what this means, the Chinese have control of 15 ports that if all hell breaks loose could shut off friends and family without so much as an eggroll as a consolation prize.

Additionally, China has invested heavily in rare earth minerals and natural resources in Africa, as well as becoming thick as thieves with Iran and Saudi Arabia. And the Chinese, like the aged Empire of the Ottomans, have no problem roping off their areas in Africa and announcing their plans for the future, “China has a monolithic culture and makes no apologies for its ambition to be a global power.” Unlike the United States who is being trained daily in our socialist-agenda-driven schools to apologize for sucking air through our face. (That’s fancy speak for breathing). (14)(15)

“The other imperial power we see on the rise today is more insidious. George Orwell’s 1984 dystopia was a world without nation-states, but three powers wielding absolute control over three land masses into which everyone had been aggregated.” Did you know that was 1984′s plot? Yes, they stole it from the media…I think. It is based on Klaus Schwab’s nightmare on Elm Street, otherwise known as the World Economic Forum. A group of elites that fool people into thinking they know about economics because they put the word in their name. They meet on the Hill, which would be Davos, Switzerland.

It is at Davos where edicts on Climate Change are reported in the newspapers as though the gods spoke from Mount Olympus. Speaking of Mount Olympus, Alexander the Great fought his first battle in 334 B.C. at Granicus (also known as Biga River), in Asia Minor. One decade later he died, “having killed over two million people in creating what he envisioned as an everlasting Hellenistic age based on an idea of the “brother of man.”  This is the same propaganda that Davos peddles to the people that their “vision” is to unite the masses…ahem, once they get rid of all the people who have the property they want and enslave the rest with health care thrust upon us by their ugly stepsister, The World Health Organization.

In the title of this article, the question is posed, “Has Imperialism received a bad rap?” I return to the end of Victor Davis Hanson’s magnificent piece in which he shares that Rudyard Kipling was asked to present a poem at Queen Victoria’s 60th Diamond Jubilee. This Jubilee honored a Queen, whose Empire spanned 420 million people and 12 million square miles of territory, seven times the Roman Empire. Kipling planned on reading “White Man’s Burden” yet instead chose “Recessional”: Far-called, our navies melt away/on dune and headland sink the fire/Lo, all our pomp of yesterday/Is one with Nineveh and Tyre/Judge of the Nations, spare us yet/Lest we forget – lest we forget!”

The poem is a lamentation. It is as though on a jubilant day in the history of an Imperialist Empire he warned that it was destined to die. As historians, we are meant to reflect and learn from our past, so our future…well, I will let you finish that sentence. Victor has said enough. (16)

(10) Imprimis

(11) Imprimis

(12)   https://americanfaith.com/list-of-103-u-s-food-manufacturing-facilities-                                  destroyed-under-biden-admin/

    (13) Imprimis

    (14) Imprimis

    (15) https://illinoisfamily.org/education/how-socialists-used-teachers-unions-such-as-the-nea-to-destroy-education/

    (16) Imprimis

art by Tim McCabe

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