Re: American Imperialism?

From: Robert Owen (
Date: Sun Mar 19 2000 - 02:26:08 MST

Zero Powers wrote:

> > [Owen] Perhaps if we substitute for "imperialism" the word "power"
> > things might be less muddy. After all, technically there are no
> > "empires" in the world anywhere at this time.
> Now you’re talkin’! I never really had a problem with the position that the
> US is too busy sticking its nose in where it doesn’t belong. My only point
> was that “imperialism” is an untrue and hyperbolic characterization of US
> foreign policy.
> >Now, let's ask the question: can we assign actual centers of
> >power (or control) geographic locations anymore? Does the
> >power-grid, if any, "float above ground"? On the other hand,
> >I am currently reading Gregory Stock’s _Metaman_.
> Stock proposes that we humans are merely cellular constituents of a global
> superorganism “Metaman” made up of the society of the developed world and
> the technical infrastructure which supports it. In this view there is no
> real world power save that of the organism itself, and the various
> governmental entities are but mere vital organs of this emerging global
> entity. If this is a legitimate viewpoint, saying that the US is
> imperialist is akin to saying that your heart or your liver is exercising
> imperial authority over the rest of your body. Whaddya think?

I think, Zero, that you have expressed precisely, by means of your
author's thesis, what I have concluded and pointed to the reason I
used the phrase "floating power grid". As your author indicates, this
floating grid is only "docked" at various location, which is becoming
more and more a convenience rather than a necessity. The verb
"anchored" probably expresses the current phase of this relation of
power to individual nations, while the process is leading to the
"docked" concept, eventually perhaps to only an electronically net-
worked connection that is more virtual than tangible.

I'm passing over your interesting comments on the relation of political
freedom and global power except to say that bodies do get cancer
and before metastasizing, it must being at a specific location. I only
mention this because a county can be internally liberal but quite
fascistic, totalitarian or exploitative in its treatment of other nations.
Phoenicia was a case in point, as was to a degree Athens in the
classic period -- Crete could also be cited. Rome was I suppose
a mix, but much more internally libertarian than most modern people
believe -- in fact, they were remarkably tolerant of individualism
as long as it did not create a problem for them that would sooner
or later demand an expensive military solution. Great Britain during
its imperial period, while internally rather rigid as it is today. was
highly dictatorial with respect to its colonies -- hence the good old
U.S.A. Today its relationship with Ireland provides another example.
I'm sure you can think of many more.

Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA

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