Tuesday, August 09, 2005

On Empires

Apropos of this, wood s lot (who needs a working RSS feed, but is one of the rare bloggers worth reading anyway) notes Rockstroh's essay on the Death Gene of Empire
The Death Genes lord over the American empire. Accordingly, an empire destroys nearly everything it touches, because, after a time, it begins to exist for no other reason other than to perpetuate its own existence. Within it, its subjects’ lives lose meaning and purpose: meaningless work, petty ambition, and endless appetite define the days, resulting in a decimated (internal as well as external) landscape -- the hollowed-out lives of its populous -- and the concomitant death cult convergence of religious fundamentalism and habitual consumerism that follow.
The neo-plantation system of the corporate empire stands before us and within us: It has molded our lives and perceptions as thoroughly as the old South’s stratified society of landed gentry and tenant farmer rabble molded the life and perceptions of my wife’s departed father.

We, the subjects of this empire, bear the Death Gene. As my fellow southerner, Walker Percy pointed out, the best way to survive our Death Genes is to face them and name them -- and never suffer from the deadly delusion that you can deny them, reason with them, or outrun them . . . for you carry them within you.

When we face the empire, we face ourselves. To survive, it is imperative that we cease to lie to ourselves about our condition.
And, as he notes, to do something about it.

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