The American Caliban (substitute) wrote,
The American Caliban

The Empire's Backstroke

Our empire’s over.

We had a good long 100+ year run of it. We won two world wars and beat the other empire afterwards. We took all the fuel and burned it and made a huge wealth jet with it and sprayed ourselves with money, and played in it. We gave the world our slaves’ music and our engineering and our medical miracles, and dropped a load of bombs on everyone too. It was quite a show.

We accidentally built the most diverse, bizarre, and contradictory society ever seen. We invented teenagers and nuclear bombs. We rocked. Our excess, our brutality, and our innocently hypocritical moralism were admired, loathed, feared, and imitated. We’ve out-empired the British, the Persians, and even the Romans. A winner is us.

But now it’s just coasting. We can’t afford to run that wealth jet any more. Like the Romans’ wheat, our oil is killing us. We can’t hire enough mercenaries or pay off enough caciques to keep this thing running. Eventually the bill for all these Hummer limos, mall goths, Superbowls, T-bone steaks, and Sea-Doos will be presented and we’re busted.

I hope it goes for us like it did for the Brits, and we gracefully shrink down to a civilized, well-run place with a lot of natural beauty, a taste for personal liberty, and some damned fine jazz. However, I have my worries. Our Imperial Mandarins seem to be increasingly deranged and the populace is behaving more like the Roman mob than the Londoners of 1946.

I hope the Chinese are nice to us anyway, at least on account of the rock ‘n’ roll if nothing else.
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