Was there any empire that was destroyed while still expanding?

Was there any empire that was destroyed while still expanding?

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The most famous empires I know had downfall periods of decades, even centuries, and many of them were only conquered after that huge downfall period. The Roman Empire, for example, stopped expanding in the third century AD (correct me if I'm wrong) but needed some two more centuries to finally be considered as gone (the western Empire, at least).

The only empire rapidly destroyed while still expanding that I can think of was the Inca Empire in South America. Their downfall was caused by diseases, superior European military technology at the time and internal struggles caused by a succession conflict some years before the Spanish arrival (exploited by Pizarro). That seems to me to be a quite unique set of characteristics, and I wish to know if any other Empire disappeared in a similar fashion before or after the American ones.

(The term 'destroyed' might be a bit vague: what I mean by it is not the complete and utter disappearance of an Empire in a blink of an eye, but still a rather abrupt downfall, something lasting maybe 15-20 years (opposed to the hundreds of years some Empires needed to disappear). Also, 'destroyed', in this question, is used as a substitute for 'conquered militarily'. So the Macedonian Empire and the Frankish Empire after Louis the Pious don't count.)

The term 'destroyed' might be a bit vague: what I mean by it is not the complete and utter disappearance of an Empire in a blink of an eye, but still a rather abrupt downfall, something lasting maybe 15-20 years (opposed to the hundreds of years some Empires needed to disappear).

I'm going to take "rapid" to mean "could an adult experience their empire rising to its peak, riding that peak, and collapsing"? About 50 years. That's very fast by historical terms.

Next, let's nail down "empire". A thing doesn't have to be called an "empire" to be an empire.

an aggregate of nations or people ruled over by an emperor or other powerful sovereign or government, usually a territory of greater extent than a kingdom

With that in mind, here are the 20th century empires.

The Soviet Empire

The Soviet Empire rose out of the ashes of the Russian Empire (which still exists) gobbling up the Baltic States, most of Eastern Europe in WWII, and edging into Mongolia in the 60s. Some of which was directly incorporated as republics, some left as semi-independent puppet states of the Warsaw Pact.

While it's expansion was effectively halted in the 60s, it was still playing world power in Afghanistan right up to when it fell apart.

In 1989 border controls between the East and West rapidly fell apart and the flood gates were opened. Just two years later would see the Warsaw Pact end and the Soviet Union dissolve into independent countries, and shrunken, but still powerful, Russian Empire.

Yes, a 20 year old in 1944 could be alive to see the empire fall 50 years later in 1992.

The French Colonial Empire

Like many European empires, their expansion period basically ended after WWI in 1919.

It collapsed quickly, starting about 1940 with its defeat in WWII, and ending in 1962 with the independence of Algeria, and it was in a lot of trouble before 1962. So I'd say it qualifies as a quick fall.

1919 to 1962 qualifies.

The British Empire (does not qualify)

Similar to the French, they reached their peak after WWI in 1919 at 4.7 million km2 and immediately began to fall apart. First the Irish Free State and Egypt in 192 and Iraq in 1932.

1931 saw the Statute of Westminster which made certain Dominions (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Irish Free State, New Foundland, and South Africa) independent nations within a Commonwealth. Despite the British sovereign being in technical control, it's arguable whether they still count as imperial subjects. They could pass their own laws and nullify British ones.

Immediately post WWII saw the independence of India, Palestine, and Pakistan. Malaysia in 1957. And most of Africa by 1968 with Zimbabwe lasting until in 1980. The 1980s saw Canada, New Zealand, and Australia sever their constitutional links to Britain.

The last hurrah for the British Empire would be the Falkland War of 1982. While it ended in British victory, it was costly and illustrated the folly of trying to maintain an empire in the modern world.

1919 to 1982 is a bit of a stretch. And the way it sort of dribbled along for 60 years… I don't think the British Empire qualifies.

Nazi Empire

Inheriting the ashes of the German Empire after WWI it quite obviously qualifies. Beginning in 1938 with the annexation of Austria, explosively expanding and reaching its height in 1942, and collapsing down to nothing in 1945.

Japanese Empire

Japan's modern expansion began with the annexation of Korea in 1910 and continued in China and the South Pacific until finally stopped about 1942. By 1945 she was completely stripped of her empire and occupied by a foreign army.

No, it doesn't matter if you still call yourself "Emperor". An emperor with no empire, no "aggregate of nations or people" to rule over, is just a king.

American Empire (does not qualify)

While it can be argued that The American Empire starts as soon as colonial settlers arrive and start annexing native lands, it wasn't really as an aggregate of nations. The US didn't rule over an aggregate of nations, they annexed their lands, wiped out their people, and replaced them with their own.

The American Empire begins at the end of the Spanish-American war in 1898. The US gained Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Phillipines, Guam, and a smattering of Caribbean and Pacific islands. It has no intention of turning these into states. The US suddenly and awkwardly finds itself in control of an overseas empire.

The US would continue to intervene in Caribbean, Central and South American, and Pacific nations through WWI and the 1930s with some excuse or another. If you elected a government the US didn't like, the US might invade. If you threatened US business interest, the US might invade. For example, Haiti was occupied from 1914 to 1934.

Most of the US' colonies and protectorates would be made independent post WWII with the exception of Puerto Rico and some small islands. Like the British, the American Empire would undergo a morphing from direct rule to a sort of quasi-Empire of mutual interest. Sometimes bullying, sometimes protecting.

One can argue it still has not fallen, nor stopped expanding, nor was ever an empire. So I don't count the American Empire.

There was many. The notable ones are Nazi Germany and Mongol empire. Nazis were still trying to expand by invading other countries but got destroyed in the process. Everyone knows pretty much about it so I will focus on the fall of Mongol empire which was the largest empire of the world at its peak expansion.

The first time Mongols were pushed back in their invasions was in the battle of Jinut when Muslim armies defeated them when they were trying to conquer the whole Africa. It was still expanding then. But that's not the real reason it was destroyed. The primary reason of its fall is because the golden horde revolted.

Mongol empire had four khanates and the ruler of one of these khanates (golden horde) converted to Islam and thereby rebelled against the unity of the mighty Mogol empire. Barke Khan was the ruler of golden horde and he allied himself with the Mumluk armies to fight the ikhanate which was ruled by holagu khan. The barke - hulagu wars eventually led to the demise of the whole empire.

The Khwarezmian Empire was a dynamic and expanding empire in Central Asia, and they were completely destroyed by the Mongols.

The German Empire at the end of the Great War immediately comes to mind. It was expanding on the eastern front, having conquered Poland, Bielarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Lativa, Estonia (all from the Russian Empire) and Romania. Although it wasn't clear what exactly they were going to do (plain annexation or puppet states) and how they were going to share them between Germany and Austria-Hungary, it was clear the German empire was the great victor of the eastern front, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria having done only modest contributions.

According to a book I read on the subject some of the higher generals were still debating whether Germany should have been expanded to the Black Sea or even to the Caspian (!) sea.

On the other hand, the empire collapsed on the western front because of a complex combination of :

  • Small but significant ground losses on the western front (industrial northern France was no longer under control, leading to a major decrease of economical power).
  • Tire and starvation of the army after 4 years and a half of constant hassle
  • Lack of food supplies due to naval blockade

We Now Understand Why The Inca Empire Crumbled

The Inca were one of the great civilizations of the so-called New World, and sadly, they're pretty mysterious, too. They actually weren't around for too long — LiveScience says they only really flourished beginning in the early 1400s, and the society's downfall started in earnest in the 1530s. They packed a lot into those relatively short decades, though, including the construction of Machu Picchu (pictured).

And that city alone is a great microcosm of what we know — and don't know — about the Inca. Archaeologists have been studying it for a while, but still aren't sure what many of the buildings were used for.

One of the big problems — well, for archaeologists, at least, the Inca themselves were probably fine with this — is that they didn't develop a system of writing. That lack of information has left modern historians scratching their heads, and what's even more confusing is that most of what we know comes via their conquerors — the Spanish. And how honest were they? No one can really be sure, but archaeologists have made major strides in putting together a picture of just how and why this once-powerful civilization disappeared . and here's the story.

Indicators Of A Crisis

Rome’s economic practices were questionable at best. Couple that with the fact that there was a lack of economic understanding as we know it today. Both these factors combined only raised the imminent threat of a bubble waiting to pop.

One significant issue was the trade deficit they were running while acquiring goods from the East(India and China).

Pliny the Elder documented his complaint that the Roman Empire was trading at a deficit of 100 million sesterces every year, and that was back in 70 A.D.

The practice did not subside. An economic crisis emerged after centuries of engaging in this practice.

The second most significant problem was the Roman imperial problem. An Empire can only keep up with its economic growth by continually expanding and keeping up with its military conquests. By the third century, keeping up with the pace was turning out to be an arduous task. Far more arduous than Rome’s leaders noticed.

Bonapartism and the Populist Empire

Under Louis Napoleon III, the Second French Empire was more successful than the first, and more successful than any political administration in France up to that point. An Empire focused on domestic order and growth had finally brought the liberty and prosperity that Republics and Monarchies had failed to achieve. How could such a successful regime collapse?

It’s no secret that, globally, populism has been on the rise for several years. More interesting than the endless gallons of ink spilt over its current iteration, one can look back on previous instances of populism throughout the turns of history and trace its development. While the various successes and failures of modern populism are still being written—and this is neither an endorsement nor condemnation thereof—there is a fascinating historical example of populism avant la lettre: that of Napoleon, but not that Napoleon.

Louis Napoleon III was Napoleon’s nephew, and arguably was more significant historically. While his uncle captured the French imagination with his successful campaigns against Austria, with his victories at Austerlitz and Friedland, and with his dominance on the global stage, Louis Napoleon’s second Empire from 1852-1871 was significantly more influential on France internally, and by extension the world, than anything his uncle had achieved.

However, to understand how Louis Napoleon managed to succeed in this regard (and of course to elaborate thereon), it is necessary to understand how he came to found his Second Empire, particularly as it pertains to the economic impact of revolution after revolution on the hapless and abused majority of people in France.

From 1789 until 1852, the political history of France could be described as a series of dashed hopes. The Revolution of 1789 that was supposed to bring liberte, egalite, fraternite instead brought bloodshed and genocide against Catholics (at least in the Vendee). This rampant violence resulted in the flight of those who could afford to, taking with them all of their financial means. Tax revenues fell to a trickle, and the Jacobins decided to print their way out of poverty. Of course, this failed, with the assignat losing 90% of its face value. Those Frenchmen who had hoped the Revolution would ease their financial hardships were sorely mistaken. Chateaubriand, seeing the bloodshed and devastation caused by this Revolution, was said to have uttered, “Is this what you call liberte?”

Napoleon Bonaparte’s restoration of order and extravagant gallivanting across Europe may have briefly led to a flurry of French glory, but catastrophes at Borodino and Waterloo rendered that short-lived. At the end, the Frenchman saw himself economically no better than before the Revolution, with Napoleon’s constant war-economy leading to massive production of weapons and uniforms, but little in the way of economic growth. Moreover, conscription and high taxes placed further hardship on French families as their working-age men went off to war and frequently came back wounded, or not at all. It was, in essence, the embodiment of Hayek’s pithy line: “if every worker was staffed in the army and fleet, we’d have full employment, and nothing to eat.”

The Bourbon Restoration did have some success in improving the lot of the average Frenchman, though this was on account of the stability brought by the regime, rather than any economic growth or innovation. While its main achievements were cultural, not economic, and while art and literature flourished, the economy stagnated. France’s lack of economic development led to British goods flooding the market, to which the Bourbons responded with protectionist tariffs, reaching 120% of the values of goods. The aim of protectionism is to protect a nation’s industry from foreign competition, but Bourbon France had no industry to protect. The price of goods skyrocketed, with no domestic counterparts to offset them.

There was great hope for Louis-Philippe and his “liberal monarchy” after the July Revolution of 1830, but as happens too frequently, those new hopes for governmental reform become the greatest inhibitor thereof. His liberalism never materialized, and the French economy sputtered and stagnated through two decades until the proclamation of the Second Republic in 1848.

Imagine what it must have been like to be a Frenchman during this Republic. For the better part of a half-century, your country had undertaken every political lurch and foreign escapade that its leaders deigned to try. You had seen your country invaded and your Churches desecrated. While all this is going on, your standard of living had essentially not changed since the 1780s, with every step forward (removal of forced labor) being coupled with two steps back (hyperinflation, conscription, and stagnation). In the late 1840s and early 1850s, you had suffered through all of that, and what are your leaders now arguing over? Whether to have a “social and democratic” or “liberal” Republic. Politics, the machinations of which politicians got which powers, and not economics, the material well-being of the citizenry, were once again the order of the day.

It is perhaps then no wonder that Emperor Louis Napoleon III (or just Louis Napoleon at this point) won his election to the Presidency in 1848 with almost three quarters of the vote. He ran on a platform of preventing a proto-communist revolution and suppressing the ongoing riots that had been a common feature in France for decades (particularly at the end of the July Monarchy), coupled with his support for mass industrialization and economic development. In so doing, he won the votes of members of the aristocracy and bourgeoisie on the one hand and the working class on the other. It would appear that the law and order, plus economic development, platform used by so many populists was written early.

On December 2nd 1851, the anniversary of the Battle of Austerlitz, Louis Napoleon engaged in a self-coup, referred to by co-conspirators as Operation Rubicon (after Caesar’s famous march) and installed himself as Prince-President. In 1852 he passed the new constitution and formally proclaimed the Second French Empire.

Louis Napoleon, now Emperor, immediately quelled the radical revolts that had plagued the end of the July Monarchy and Second Republic, and embarked on his economic program. He wanted to capitalize on the gold rushes in California and Australia that had increased the supply of gold and investment appetite among Europe’s lenders, and so founded France’s first modern banks (Societe Generale still operates to this day). They provided credit to fledgling firms in the textiles and industrials spaces, leading to a boom in France’s industrial output and domestic consumption. With France’s industry now established, he lowered the Bourbon tariffs and opened France’s factories to export markets around the world.

Paris’s population had doubled since 1815, with no new additions to housing or area. It was filled with urban poor and prone to frequent outbreaks of cholera. Louis Napoleon rebuilt it from the ground up (echoes of Augustus’s “I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble” spring to mind), expanding the housing supply, constructing new sewers and parks, providing clean water to his newly built residencies, increasing the supply of clean water per day provided to the city fivefold. He provided new streetlamps to cover the entire city, earning Paris’s still-used nickname “the city of light.” Similar urban restorations took place in Lyon and Marseille. He even restored ancient forests destroyed by modern war, with one such project in the Gironde region reforesting an area of almost 4000 square miles.

The results of this effort speak for themselves. In 1851 France had 2200 miles of railway (a quarter of the length of England’s rail system, and not much larger than Belgium’s, a country twenty times smaller than France). By 1870, France had 12,500 miles, transporting 100 million passengers per year. The maritime trading fleet grew to the second largest in the world (after England). Industrial production doubled. Foreign trade tripled. Workers, who now found their wages growing for the first time ever (for some this might have been the first period of stable income ever) were quick to spend their hard-earned wages in newly opened department stores, with the first such store, Bon Marche, being opened in Paris in 1852. Quality of life massively improved for the average citizen as capital flooded into the economy, providing work and wage for laborers. France was transformed from a country of peasant and lord akin to Russia to one of worker and business akin to Britain.

Politically too, he finally liberalized France. He welcomed back political exiles, eased freedom of the press, and gave more powers to the legislature. Culture too flourished, with Offenbach’s works being played the world over. By every stretch of the imagination, the Second French Empire was more successful than the first, and more successful than any political administration in France up to that point. An Empire focused on domestic order and growth had finally brought the liberty and prosperity that Republics and Monarchies had failed to achieve. How on earth could such a successful regime collapse?

Sadly, Louis Napoleon forgot the other tenet of the populist playbook: no foreign wars. After squandering his hard-won goodwill in Crimea, Italy, Mexico, and, finally, Prussia, defeat at the Battle of Sedan secured the rise of an Imperial Germany, setting the stage for the many conflicts of the twentieth century, and the end of the most successful regime in the long and proud history of France.

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The Eternal Empire: Emperor Maurice dies before being overthrown

Even setting aside the oncoming invasion Nikephorus III inherited a truly terrible position. Imperial troops had been driven out of Syria completely, and were retreating out of central Italy, with the Ravennan army bearing down on them out of the north. The troops in Hispani and Africa had been forced to surrender when their supply was cut off by local forces.

It can be difficult when looking at the strength of Romanos’s paper army to understand just why the position of soldiers loyal to Constantinople were so rapidly defeated, despite his major additions to their strength. And those additions actually hold the key to their internal weakness. Arming, training, and housing a hundred thousand soldiers, on top of the need to replace some fifty thousand from the Turkish war was expensive, but it was also very time consuming. The Roman state simply didn’t have the capability to make such a drastic expansion to the army so quickly, at least not without far more money than Romanos’s shrinking tax collection could provide.

When Manuel II had undergone such a massive expansion of the Imperial army he had basically raised and equipped a lot of men initially, and then had just taken them along with him on every campaign. Replacing only as needed. And much of the initial preparation had been done by his father. When he expanded the army after his victories to secure the peacetime gains he’d done so over nearly fifty years.

Romanos by contrast had tried to do so immediately, and things just didn’t work out. But, surely you say the soldiers could have been equipped after they were being raised. Well, yes. He did reign for nearly twenty years after all. But here Romanos’s reliance on army officers cost his regime dearly. Because being an army officer absolutely did not give the sort of skills necessary to coordinate mass equipment of men. Nor did his gutting of the civil administration do anything to cut down on the corruption endemic in any pre-modern supply system. So basically, there was a stream of equipment being sent out. Just not enough, and much of the money was ending up in the pockets of men who suddenly had very little accountability.

To compound matters, the influx of senior officers into these civil administrative roles had the added problem of consequently ensuring that the men staffing these new tagmas were not as experienced or as talented as might have otherwise been the case. Romanos’s centurions and other commanders who had won against the Turks, the Berbers, and the Cumans were either out of the army, or back in the capital where they might win Imperial favor and subsequently lucrative civil positions. Many of the men who might have left the civil posts and taken command of the provincial armieshad been surrounded by local troops engaged in the mass mutiny when the rebellions broke out. They were now either dead or prisoners awaiting trial for a multitude of crimes.

That said, the central army was still easily the most powerful force in the Empire. When taken together the Balkans, Anatolia, and the tagmata amounted to nearly one hundred thousand men, including the most elite and experienced soldiers and officers still in the army. So long as say a powerful foreign foe doesn’t come along and massacre the lot of them Constantinople had a pretty solid chance of putting down the Eastern rebellions fairly quickly, and then putting down Italy with the combined resources of the East.

Good thing one of those isn’t on its way.

Nikephorus did not actually start his reign trying to put down the rebellions with vicious violence and reprisals however. He had hated Romanos just as much as any of the rebels did, maybe more since the Emperor had murdered his entire family and then kept him under house arrest for twenty years. He totally got the desire for revenge. Instead he spent his early days, and that title is very fitting, sending out messengers to Syria and Italy to get the rebels to agree to talks. He made promises, spoke of how the tyranny of the old regime was at an end, and really tried to get everyone to agree to go back to how things had been. However, in this he ran into two extremely important obstacles.

First, the rebels really didn’t feel like taking orders from someone in Constantinople. They had been doing that for a long time, and they were sick of it. A multitude of complaints at the capital since the reign of Manuel II, and indeed before him that just hadn’t reached a boiling point now were very nicely simmering away, as the tyranny of Romanos had made all of those issues suddenly seem much larger than the benefits normally gained through the united Empire.

Second, and this is by no means exclusive with the first, none of the rebel leaders actually trusted him at all, or more accurately they did not trust his advisors. Remember, while we might today remember Constantine the Younger for his heroic actions as Emperor in the coming year, that wasn’t what anyone saw at this point. All that Julius in Italy, or Michael in Armenia, or John in Syria, or George in Egypt could see was the old regime just without the old leader at its head.

Also, for reasons not particularly relevant Egypt and Syria fell out pretty much immediately, and a new kingdom has been declared in the former.

And they weren’t exactly wrong either. Nikephorus might have been Emperor, but its not like he suddenly had all this power. The capital was still controlled by Romanos’s former troops. Sure they might have overthrown him, but that was mostly a reaction to his cruelty and a desperate attempt to keep their whole power structure from falling apart. Nothing really changed in the way they wanted to run things. They still wanted the lucrative civil posts out in the provinces, and would you look at that suddenly there were just a whole heap of job openings available. And even as Nikephorus was sending conciliatory messages these same officers were whipping their troops up to get them ready to go and crush the traitors.

And then, everything changed.

In July 1241 a massive nomad army suddenly appeared from out of the Zagros Mountains, and in three weeks had smashed the Turkic state setting itself up in Mesopotamia. The self-proclaimed Emperor fled south into the Arab Caliphate, and the nomads turned north, laying siege to Nisibis. Heralds went flying to Antioch, and the local Syrians were forced to marshal their troops and ready for a march east. Before the pivot could be completed however Nisibis fell in early August, with walls quite literally blown through by this nomad army. The city was razed to the ground, the garrison and population were slaughtered. They moved to Dara, which promptly fell as well.

By August 25th the two strongest fortresses on the Roman frontier were just gone.

Nikephorus heard of this, and readied to march east when he got news that another nomad army had been spotted by traders heading to Cherson, and would be at the Tyras River by mid-September. Constantine the Elder immediately took the army that had been gathering and went north as fast as possible, reaching the Danube as the nomads reached the Tyras. Both armies crossed, and with the phrourions useless against the nomad siege weapons, something that everyone had thought a contradiction in terms, all that stood between Moesia and a foreign invasion was the Roman army. And what an army it was. Eighty thousand men all told. Twenty-five thousand of them the finest heavy cavalry in Roman history. Men and horses armored head to toe in chain and scales. Five thousand Danes equally armored and wielding massive axes to decapitate horses and men.

And with them the best infantry in the empire.

And they were about to be wiped out.

The battle of Tyras is one of the single most depicted battles in history. Something about it captivates audiences the way that Cannae might have an old republic citizen. On the one side the might of the great Roman Empire, which had stood in some form for two thousand years. If you squint and count the legendary kings that is. On the other an up and coming force, but which now commanded the largest land empire in history.

The Romans were commanded by Constantine the Elder, with Nikephorus present to give the young man much needed credibility as a military leader, even if all he was supposed to do was sit on his horse and look inspiring. Constantine the Younger had been left back in Constantinople with a garrison of about two thousand men to keep order until his father’s return.

Constantine deployed his troops in a fairly standard formation, putting all of his heavy cavalry on the wings, with light cavalry as support. The center was held up by the infantry force of pikes and crossbows. A reserve of Danes was in the rear to reinforce the infantry lines should it be required.

Their opposing number, Tolui, commanded a force of some five thousand Syrican mounted infantry, who were mostly there to screen the cavalry should the need arise, and the forty-five thousand cavalry who made up the heart of the Hunnic army. These soldiers were often heavily armored, normally with llamelar. This was similar to scale armor used by the Romans, and offered excellent protection for them. It also was something that the Romans weren’t really prepared for. Most of the nomad tribes they had fought used little heavy armor, and so it came as a surprise when these soldiers were so well protected. But if that was one surprise it absolutely paled in comparison to the other. Firepowder. And in particular the fire lance. Nearly ten thousand men were equipped with one of these weapons, and another five thousand were equipped with fire arrows.

The battle opened with Constantine sending his light cavalry forward to skirmish, which Tolui matched. He critically held back his firepowder armed troops, wanting to save the shock of their attack for the charge. In the fighting which followed the Roman light cavalry was driven back, but the Mongol skirmishers were subsequently caught in a counterattack by the heavy cavalry, and hemmed in by crossbow bolts fired by the infantry. The skirmishers broke and fled back to the Mongol lines, suffering heavy losses.

This, despite some claims to the contrary, does not appear to be a feigned retreat. That was coming.

Seeing his advantage Constantine ordered an advance, looking to pin the Syricans in place with his vastly superior infantry, while holding the cavalry at bay with his own. When the infantry’s work was done he could split his own infantry and destroy both cavalry wings separately. The infantry raised their pikes and advanced, protected by arrows by their shields. Crossbow bolts returned as counterfire, and these weapons did extract many losses from among the Hunnic ranks. But Tolui still held his men in place, trusting to the armor of his most important troops to defend them. And these men were all battle-hardened and experienced, or were with their fellows who were. As the Roman cavalry came on he ordered his own men forward, but only the cavalry. The cavalry thus met at ahead of the Syrican infantry. Constantine seeing this, and mindful of Varro’s mistake at Cannae ordered his men into a square rather than a line, with men on the outside ready to extend their pikes outward should that be necessary.

As the cavalry forces met the Roman tactic seemed to have done its work well. The knight had charged, in complete silence, looking like nothing less than a soulless automaton, completely immune to minor things like some number of them who were killed. They lowered their lances, and slammed into the Hunnic cavalry. A brief fight ensued, but then the Huns broke and fled.

Surprised at the ease of this win Constantine ordered a disciplined pursuit, but hoped to retain some horsemen to turn and smash the flanks of the Hunnic infantry. That however did not happen. The Roman cavalry pulled away from their infantry, and another signal was given on the nomad side. The retreating cavalry suddenly turned, and countercharged the Romans. Leading the charge were the men armed with fire lances, which at this point were still unused. The Romans were momentarily thrown off by the rally, but were too disciplined to break and run at the turn. They steeled themselves and prepared to meet the countercharge with one of their own.

Then the fire started. As one the Huns blasted flames out of their own weapons, directly into the front lines of the Romans. Men and horses were burned by the attack, but the real devastating effect was on morale. The ignition of firepowder weapons brings with it an enormous roar, one that its almost impossible to understand unless you have just never seen an ignifera. To men from this era the noise was quite alien, and the addition of the jets of flame roasting their comrades alive was too much. They fled. In the press of bodies Constantine was knocked from his own horse as he tried to rally his men, and trampled to death.

And now as the Romans fled the fire arrows were added to the attack, unleashing yet more explosives onto the panicking Roman cavalry. Men and horses were slaughtered as the Huns pursued, and the infantry watched nearly helpless as the tagmata was slaughtered outside the ranges of their crossbows. And that’s it. Just like that six hundred years of history of the great Roman tagmata was over. They’re all dead.

Well, not quite all. The Pedinoi were still there to carry on the glorious name. For oh, about an hour. Nikephorus from his spot among the remaining men stood paralyzed with indecision, and his subordinates were little better. The army’s primary commanders were all dead, and victory now seemed impossible.

But then the nightmare just kept getting worse. The massive, slow, lumbering things that Tolui had dragged across the steppe to the Caspian Sea, then hauled onto trading ships, sailed across, then had dragged to the Black Sea, and loaded onto other captured ships, and then sailed along the coast until he thought a battle imminent now added their own voices to the battle.

The canna were big, slow to load, and almost as dangerous for the operators as for the enemy. But he had a very specific use in mind, and he didn’t need that many shots. He only had six of the things, but they exactly what he wanted. The Roman infantry remember were still in that big, immobile square that Constantine had put them in to ward off cavalry attacks. And while the canna might be truly useless against a moving target, they could, sometimes, hit a stationary one, and he would only get the one shot. But when all six of his canna fired, or rather five fired and one did nothing, he managed to hits. One was glancing, doing minimal damage to the Roman line. But it sure terrified the people nearby when suddenly the people standing right next to them were suddenly not standing, but instead were covering them in body parts. The other however impacted at a perfect angle and plowed through half a dozen men before smashing into the ground. The roar of the canna and the impact shook the infantry badly. Then the fire arrows came down on them. And that was it. They began to run. Men threw their weapons down and fled, and the Huns came on them from the sides and the rear. Then a group of three thousand circles around, and just charged from the front too. And the Roman soldiers were slaughtered in droves. Nikephorus’s horse was killed from under him, and he was promptly killed by the charging cavalry.

Some pockets of Pedinoi fought to the bitter end, but they were completely outnumbered and outmatched. By the end of the day barely one hundred Romans had survived, while the Huns lost about five thousand men. Nikephorus’s body was brought to Tolui, who had the Emperor decapitated, and put his head on a spike to parade before the Roman capital before he razed it as punishment.

Nikepherus III was 25 years old, and had been Emperor for about six months. He is impossible to rate. He did little, and was in a position to do little more. If it wasn’t for a quirk of history he would completely forgotten.

He was the last of the Thalassan dynasty, the family which had ruled the Empire since the dark days of the First Caliphate. From the lowest point of Roman fortunes, to a zenith under Leo and Manuel. The family left a permanent mark on the Empire, and the extended clan weren’t even close to being done. But Nikepherus was the last of them, and his death really does mark the end of the Empire as it had been for almost the past thousand years.

But at the time there was no time to think about any of that, because Constantine the Younger got the news a few weeks after of the disaster, and he immediately sent out desperate calls for help both East and West, promising anything that the rebels wanted if they would drop their grievances and come to Constantinople NOW.

Only, no one was really listening.

Well, almost no one. In Italy Julius II was eyeing the situation, and he thought he saw a once in a lifetime opportunity. Maybe once in a millennium. But to accomplish it he was going to need help. A lot of help.












As Constantine’s pleas fell on deaf ears the situation inside the city grew dire. Riots broke out as people realized that they were seemingly completely defenseless if this horrible enemy broke through the Moesian fortifications, which no one had any illusions about holding. Not with so much of the Moesian army dead beyond the Danube. What soldiers remained to Constantine the Younger put down multiple riots during the course of the month following news of the defeat, and as no word of reinforcement arrived the young man was forced to conclude that there was every likelihood that he would have to defend the city alone.

And to that end there was only one option, to be declared Imperator and Basileos, giving him the legal authority to make the needed moves to hold the city against siege or assault. Thus was the lone non-Thalassan Basileos crowned, the last man who would bear that as his part of his official title. With new authority in hand Constantine began the process of raising a new army, but it was both hard and slow. The cities of Thrace were closing up their gates to Imperial envoys, hoping to cut deals with the invaders and leave the capital to its fate. What food could be gathered was, and in a stark decision Constantine expelled a vast portion of the capital’s population, including virtually the entire upper class of the city. What people who could were shipped to the coast of Anatolia, but many were just forced from the city gates at spearpoint and left to fend for themselves. Anyone who could not produce a man to bear arms or work the fields and orchards behind the Theodosian Walls were out, and every scrap of food that could be stockpiled was, while docks were hard at work building more fishing vessels to keep the capital supplied. Constantinople’s population was reduced from three hundred thousand to merely one hundred thousand by the time three months had passed from Tyras.

And it would all be necessary. In October the Huns hit Moesia, and the phrourions which had served as strongpoints were swept away or bypassed. Vast quantities of food were seized, and by the end of the month virtually the entire province was under Hunnic control. Tens of thousands were slaughtered wholesale by Tolui, and many of the rest driven from their homes which now served to house the invaders. Tolui had scouted out the area, and did not wish to test the Roman capital, which he had been assured was the most heavily fortified city on Earth, during the winter. No, better to wait until spring was upon them before doing so. The army therefore settled in with their stolen provisions and waited.

Away in Italy Julius was at this point in full swing grabbing the Italian elite over to his idea to retake control not just of their own affairs, but of the whole of the Roman Empire. The Empire had been built by Italians he argued, it had been strongest under Italian rule. But then it had slipped into the hands of Greeks and barbarians, and now those men had driven it to the brink of ruin. So it would be fitting he claimed for the Italians to swoop in and save the Empire that they had founded.

This as pure spin. Not only had the Empire always been a highly multicultural affair, with Italians all being divided into their own petty kingdoms and squabbling tribes before the Romans came and united them, but the men he was making this to weren’t even the original Italians. Oh sure there were some, but these men were Lombards, Goths, Gauls, Franks, Greeks, and a hundred other points of origin that had all made Italy what it was. But oh boy did they buy what he was selling.

Not hurting matters was the fact that it wasn’t just invaders coming to destroy Rome, after all barbarians had once taken the Eternal City itself hadn’t they? But those invaders, the Visigoths, the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, they had all been Christians. Maybe the wrong kind of Christian, but Christian. But the Huns? They were pagan monsters out of nightmares. Attila reborn so far as Julius’s arguments were concerened, and indeed he is the one who gave this group of Huns the, rather unfair and inaccurate, name they are saddled with today. They would destroy Constantinople, the city of Christianity which the great Constantine had built to be a light shining in the pagan darkness. How could God ever look upon his Chosen People again with favor if they let that light be extinguished?

The idea of the glory of retaking their rightful places as masters of the world, being the saviors of Christendom, and the wealth that would come with all this was very tempting, but they did require certain guarantees from Julius, which he granted, and which would form the basis of his Charter, which we will reach when he finally takes his place in Constantinople as Augustus.

So caught up in all of this was he that Julius had the pope convinced utterly that Christendom itself was on the verge of complete annihilation, and the call was sent out not just for Romans to join in the march East, but for their brother Christians in the north.

And it didn’t take long for Julius to realize that this was very much a needed thing. He could only muster about thirty thousand men to march to Constantinople’s relief, and that was of course going to be nowhere nearly enough. And he did not have a realistic way of transporting that many men to the city itself. Instead in March 1248 Julius departed from Beneventum with a force of ten thousand loaded onto ships, and sailed for Constantinople, to defend the city until help could arrive.

He arrived days later, to find the situation already dire.

Tolui had arrived in force on March 27, 1248 and had immediately begun an assault, as a means of probing the city’s defenses. The attack was repelled, but the undertrained and underequipped militia of Constantinople that Constantine X had managed to organize had suffered badly, losing nearly half their strength of ten thousand and almost being driven from the wall under missile fire from fire arrows.

The sudden arrival of ten thousand Italian soldiers, and the promise of more to come, was a massive boost to the morale of the defenders, and Constantine immediately offered to abdicate in favor of Julius. The young Caesari however was shrewd, and encouraged his Imperial partner to keep the crown, since after all the city might need more than one leader before the siege was over. That said, he absolutely had no intention of sharing power long-term.

The Italian reinforcements also broke Tolui’s hope of breaking the city immediately, and he set about preparing a long-term sieged. Portions of the Hunnic army were dispatched to ravage Greece, stealing all the food and supplies they could, while a number of reinforcments from minor subjugated steppe tribes arrived from the north, eager to take part in the spoils of the fabled Roman capital.

What Tolui really wanted however was for his Syrian reinforcments to arrive, and on April 6th, they finally did.

The Syrian branch of the Hunnic army had swept West after the destruction of Nisibis and Dara, eventually meeting the Syrian army near Aleppo in early September, 1247. There sixty thousand Syrians had faced forty thousand Huns, and you can probably guess the outcome. Four thousand Huns dead, forty-thousand Syrians. Self-proclaimed Rex of Syria John had successfully withdrawn from the battlefield, but had been forced to retreat to the nearly impregnable position of Antioch with ten thousand of his surviving troops.

The rest had retreated south, looking to call on Egyptian reinforcement.

The commander of the Syrian army, Temujin, approached Antioch, but after significant initial work decided that he had little chance of taking the city due to the surrounding mountains, which would let the defenders rain death on his men even if the walls were breached, and as he was reliant on firepowder mines tunneled underneath walls, having no canna of his own, he saw little chance of success. However, he absolutely did not want this garrison, reinforced from the south, to be able to come up on his rear either. And so, he made the second Hunnic blunder of the war. He also divided his army.

Now, its understandable why he did this. His father would be waiting in Europe for his son to arrive and place the far side of what they thought was the Roman capital under siege. Then the two of them could divide Roman attention, and destroy both parts in turn. Given his own experience with the Roman army he also knew his father had probably defeated the Roman army with minimal losses, so his own force would be less critical. And if the Egyptians did send reinforcements it would leave his army trapped in hostile territory with no retreat. So those reinforcements had to be destroyed.

BUT, dividing the Hunnic forces at this point was not what he should have done. Instead Temjin should have advanced south with his entire army, destroyed any reinforcments out of Egypt, ravaged Syria, and only then tried to force Anatolia, or even just conquered the entire Roman East, including if possible the ability to build a functional fleet with which to threaten Constantinople. It might have delayed him by a few months, but in dividing his force further he doomed both to destruction.

The southern force had a commander who is completely irrelevant, because after Temujin sent him south he ran into an unexpected factor, the fact that Palaestina had called for aid of its own, and with the Romans seemingly helpless in the face of Hunnic attack, they had turned to the Arabs instead. The Arab Caliph al-Adid, accepted and marched forty thousand of his own men into Palaestina. And at the Battle of Jerusalem, actually fought thirty miles north of the city but that didn’t sound as good to the people naming it, a stunning upset occurred. The Arab army, heavily reliant foot archers, devastated the Hunnic horse archers. But then to the intense surprise of the Huns, the Arab camelry panicked their horses, resulting in the attempted use of fire lances, so effective in previous encounters, to backfire spectacularly.

In six hours of fighting the Arabs lost fifteen thousand men, while the Hunnic force of twenty-thousand was completely wiped out. Shortly thereafter all of Palaestina was occupied by the Arabs. But al Adid was not finished, instead he turned East, to Mesopotamia. Now held only weakly by the Huns’ Turkic allies the Arabs invaded in April 1248, and over the next year they overran the entire region, eventually taking all the way to the old Persian border with Rome when they officially took the ruins of Dara, but by then events in the West had overtaken them.

Temujin however was unaware of any of this, nor of how the presence of his army at Jeruslaem could have broken the Arabs and prevented both that and his own eventual fate. For now, his invasion of Anatolia was a smashing success. The Turks of the Eastern region were driven before the Huns, pushing into the northern mountains to hide, while a vast booty of sheep, cattle, and horses were captured and taken with his army to help their supplies. Western Anatolia fared little better, as farms were destroyed and their inhabitants slaughtered, with provisions being taken from the stocks that were captured. In November, as the last action for the year, Temujin successfully broke the walls of Dorylaeum, slaughtered the population, and settled in to wait out the winter in the gutted city.

I should note here then that the winter of 1248 was extremely hard on the population both of the Anatolian plateau, and of Moesia. The food and fuel that they had stockpiled for the winter was virtually all gone, homes and farms had been burned and vast portions of the population were just left out in the elements. And it was here that the true toll of the Hunnic invasion was felt. Because over the winter of 1248 something like two million people died. Not of enemy attack, not out of revenge for some action against them. Just from being left outdoors during the winter with no food. Even more were left crippled and would die in the spring, before any kind of harvest could be attempted. Ultimately some three quarters of the population of central Anatolia and Moesia were dead by the time the Huns moved on.

In Syria things weren’t as bad, in part because the Armenians and Arabs sent what aid they could to the starving, something which Julius very pointedly will pay the Caliph in full for when he is in power. Full-scale famine in the East was averted due to these actions, and also due to the vast shipments of grain that arrived from Egypt as the three Eastern Exarchs coordinated with one another to survive a possible second wave of invaders, a wave which thankfully for them would not come. That said, half a million people still died in Syria over the winter of 1248, in addition to the tens of thousands slaughtered during Temujin’s initial invasion.

In March however he was on the move again, though made slow progress as his army dragged along the vast quantity of captured booty they planned as only the first great addition to their wealth, which would surely be dwarfed by the Roman capital. On March 24, the army reached the Imperial palace outside Chalcedon, and overran it. The palace was burned to the ground, and virtually everything inside was stolen or destroyed. This included the Imperial Mausoleum here Manuel II, his wife, and his successors were interred. Also destroyed here were innumerable manuscripts, records, pieces of priceless art, and other objects which were consumed by fire.

Chalcedon itself was for the moment spared as Temujin’s army ravaged the countryside to the East for several days, before turning back on the city itself. On April 6th his army arrived and encircled the ancient city where an Ecumenical Council had once set out Christian dogma across the East.

On April 15th, a successful tunnel under the walls of Chalcedon had a firepowder mine set in place, and then detonated. The wall as blown open, and Huns poured into the city. Chalcedon’s defenders fought bravely, and in a great act of defiance Alexander of Chalcedon, an otherwise unknown figure held his unit in place on the bridge into the city of Constantine while defenders on the far side set the bridge aflame. He and his men were slaughtered to the last, but others fleeing on boats watched their final moments as behind them the burning wooden hulk fell from where it had stood for centuries, and the link between Thrace and Anatolia was severed. Of the ten thousand or so residents of Chalcedon before the battle only about one thousand safely made it across the Strait and behind the relative safety of the Theodosian Walls.

Similar mining attempts of those defenses had been foiled, and the defenders now were on the watch for such efforts.

The destruction of Chalcedon was a great triumph for Temujin, who had now destroyed what he saw as the eastern bastion of the Roman capital. But it did little to change the stalemate settling in on the far side of the strait. Tolui needed reinforcements of crack troops that Temujin could bring, but the water was simply too much of an obstacle. Correspondance between the two was seemingly unnoticed by the Romans, as small boats passed between them at night, were almost undetectable by sentries of the defenders.

Temujin himself desperately needed to cross as well. His supplies were beginning to run dangerously low. Food, fodder, and powder were all low, and he now realized there was a solid chance he might have to retreat across the barren Anatolian Plateau, either risking an unknown path, or retreating back across territory his army had already stripped bare. Both of those were bad options. His hope was that the army he had sent south would get word to him that Syria was open, and he could order them to bring supplies from the now pacified region up to support his army, which could then proceed south and ravage the Anatolian coast.

But on May 6th he finally got the news from riders who had escaped Jerusalem. His reinforcing army wasn’t coming, and the passes through the Taurus Mountains were held against him by the Syrians. There would be no retreat out of Anatolia.

Looking over the situation then Temujin decided there was only one option, he was going to have to force the strait. He had captured a large number of boats when Chalcedon fell, and more had been taken along the coastline north and south, enough to probably move his entire army, but not their horses. After consultation with Tolui the young Hunnic prince decided that despite how dangerous it would be, it needed to be done soon. But, critically, it was now that a particular point should be made, namely that the secret correspondence between Temujin and his father was in fact known to the Romans, not its contents, but that it was happening. And so as Temujin readied his fleet of captured ships to cross Constantine and Julius knew it was happening. On May 25th, 1248 the Huns finally attempted their crossing under the cover of night.

But they were caught by Italian patrol ships, and soon the entire capital fleet was bearing down on them. And as the fighting raged the Huns were introduced to the Roman’s own weapon of fiery terror. Liquid fire was unleashed in the tight confines of the Strait, and consumed the Hunnic ships as their comrades on the far shore watched in horror. The carnage lasted for the remainder of the night, and when the sun rose Tolui could only look on the burning wrecks in the sea, and knew that his son and all his son’s men were dead. Burned alive by Roman ships.

Furious at this loss Tolui immediately set about a new round of preparations for breaching the Theodosian walls, and as his canna roared he had a new tunnel dug, under cover of darkness and well concealed, and this one went unnoticed by the defenders. The tunnel was ready on June 17th, and as it was finished the Huns finished blasting holes in the outer wall , and sent their men forward. As they began the massive explosive planted under the inner wall was detonated, blowing a hold through the Theodosian Wall. Men panicked and retreated, with the Huns rushing through the breach and fighting began in the outer section of the city. The Blachernae Palace was overrun and burned, and over the course of the next six days the defenders were forced back, until finally they were forced to retreat behind the walls of Constantine.

It was in this fighting that Constantine X took a sword through his back as he led his men in a retreat, which some still claim was ordered by Julius II, which to be fair even if he was innocent of this particular order, he as absolutely guilty in spirit. Constantine was carried back to the inner city by his men, but had been left crippled from the waist down. Knowing he would never recover Constantine called Julius, and arranged for his daughter Adelheid to marry Julius’s young son when the two came of age. He also made clear his intention to abdicate when the siege was over.

The fighting of late June wound down, but the siege had now taken a very bad turn for the Roman defenders. In total nearly eight thousand of them had died, leaving under five thousand remaining in the city. But worse than that, the orchards, gardens, and fields between the Theodosian and Constantinian Walls had been captured mostly intact by the Huns, leaving the invaders well provisioned going into July. The defenders now were entirely reliant on fishing in the Black Sea, and occasional shipments from southern Greece.

Tolui gave his army several days to rest, then renewed his bombardment of the Constantinian Walls. Fire arrows streaked over the walls as well, setting fire to the inner city, with the defenders forced to fight the blaze as well as defend the remaining walls. On July 9th, as things looked completely hopeless for the defenders, and Julius himself seems to have been considering simply abandoning the city and trying to meet up with his army somewhere off in Greece however everything changed. In the distance trumpets were heard, and banners were spotted far off, outside the Theodosian Walls. The combined army of Christendom had arrived.

Songhai empire

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Songhai empire, also spelled Songhay, great trading state of West Africa (flourished 15th–16th century), centred on the middle reaches of the Niger River in what is now central Mali and eventually extending west to the Atlantic coast and east into Niger and Nigeria.

Though the Songhai people are said to have established themselves in the city of Gao about 800 ce , they did not regard it as their capital until the beginning of the 11th century during the reign of the dia (king) Kossoi, a Songhai convert to Islam. Gao so prospered and expanded during the next 300 years that from 1325 to 1375 the rulers of Mali added it to their empire. About 1335 the dia line of rulers gave way to the sunni, or shi, one of whom, Sulaiman-Mar, is said to have won back Gao’s independence.

The century or so of vicissitudes that followed was ended by the accession about 1464 of Sonni ʿAlī, also known as ʿAlī Ber (died 1492). By repulsing a Mossi attack on Timbuktu, the second most important city of Songhai, and by defeating the Dogon and Fulani in the hills of Bandiagara, he had by 1468 rid the empire of any immediate danger. He later evicted the Tuareg from Timbuktu, which they had occupied since 1433, and, after a siege of seven years, took Jenne (Djenné) in 1473 and by 1476 had dominated the lakes region of the middle Niger to the west of Timbuktu. He repulsed a Mossi attack on Walata to the northwest in 1480 and subsequently discouraged raiding by all the inhabitants of the Niger valley’s southern periphery. The civil policy of Sonni ʿAlī was to conciliate the interests of his pagan pastoralist subjects with those of the Muslim city dwellers, on whose wealth and scholarship the Songhai empire depended.

His son Sonni Baru (reigned 1493), who sided completely with the pastoralists, was deposed by the rebel Muḥammad ibn Abī Bakr Ture, also known as Muḥammad I Askia (reigned 1493–1528), who welded the central region of the western Sudan into a single empire. He too fought the Mossi of Yatenga, tackled Borgu, in what is now northwestern Nigeria (1505)—albeit with little success—and mounted successful campaigns against the Diara (1512), against the kingdom of Fouta-Toro in Senegal, and to the east against the Hausa states. In order to win control of the principal caravan markets to the north, he ordered his armies to found a colony in and around Agadez in Aïr. He was deposed by his eldest son, Musa, in 1528.

Throughout the dynastic squabbles of successive reigns (Askia Musa, 1528–31 Bengan Korei, also known as Askia Muḥammad II, 1531–37 Askia Ismail, 1537–39 Askia Issihak I, 1539–49), the Muslims in the towns continued to act as middlemen in the profitable gold trade with the states of Akan in central Guinea. The peace and prosperity of Askia Dāwūd’s reign (1549–82) was followed by a raid initiated by Sultan Aḥmad al-Manṣūr of Morocco on the salt deposits of Taghaza. The situation, which continued to worsen under Muḥammad Bāni (1586–88), culminated disastrously for Songhai under Issihak II (1588–91) when Moroccan forces, using firearms, advanced into the Songhai empire to rout his forces, first at Tondibi and then at Timbuktu and Gao. Retaliatory guerrilla action of the pastoral Songhai failed to restore the empire, the economic and administrative centres of which remained in Moroccan hands.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy McKenna, Senior Editor.

Was there any empire that was destroyed while still expanding? - History



At the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin told an inquisitive citizen that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention gave the people “a Republic, if you can keep it.” We should apologize to Mr. Franklin. It is obvious that the Republic is gone, for we are wallowing in a pure democracy against which the Founders had strongly warned.

Madison, the father of the Constitution, could not have been more explicit in his fear and concern for democracies. “ Democracies ,” he said, “ have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death. ”

If Madison’s assessment was correct, it behooves those of us in Congress to take note and decide, indeed, whether the Republic has vanished, when it occurred, and exactly what to expect in the way of “ turbulence , contention , and violence .” And above all else, what can we and what will we do about it?

The turbulence seems self-evident. Domestic welfare programs are not sustainable and do not accomplish their stated goals. State and federal spending and deficits are out of control. Terrorism and uncontrollable fear undermine our sense of well-being. Hysterical reactions to dangers not yet seen prompt the people at the prodding of the politicians to readily sacrifice their liberties in vain hope that someone else will take care of them and guarantee their security. With these obvious signs of a failed system all around us, there seems to be more determination than ever to antagonize the people of the world by pursuing a world empire. Nation building, foreign intervention, preemptive war, and global government drive our foreign policy. There seems to be complete aversion to defending the Republic and the Constitution that established it.

The Founders clearly understood the dangers of a democracy. Edmund Randolph of Virginia described the effort to deal with the issue at the Constitutional Convention: “ The general object was to produce a cure for the evils under which the United States labored that in tracing these evils to their origins, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy. ”

These strongly held views regarding the evils of democracy and the benefits of a Constitutional Republic were shared by all the Founders. For them, a democracy meant centralized power, controlled by majority opinion, which was up for grabs and therefore completely arbitrary.

In contrast, a Republic was decentralized and representative in nature, with the government’s purpose strictly limited by the Constitution to the protection of liberty and private property ownership. They believed the majority should never be able to undermine this principle and that the government must be tightly held in check by constitutional restraints. The difference between a democracy and a republic was simple. Would we live under the age-old concept of the rule of man or the enlightened rule of law?

A constitution in and by itself does not guarantee liberty in a republican form of government. Even a perfect constitution with this goal in mind is no better than the moral standards and desires of the people. Although the United States Constitution was by far the best ever written for the protection of liberty, with safeguards against the dangers of a democracy, it too was flawed from the beginning. Instead of guaranteeing liberty equally for all people, the authors themselves yielded to the democratic majority’s demands that they compromise on the issue of slavery. This mistake, plus others along the way, culminated in a Civil War that surely could have been prevented with clearer understanding and a more principled approach to the establishment of a constitutional republic.

Subsequently, the same urge to accommodate majority opinion, while ignoring the principles of individual liberty, led to some other serious errors. Even amending the Constitution in a proper fashion to impose alcohol prohibition turned out to be a disaster. Fortunately this was rectified after a short time with its repeal.

But today, the American people accept drug prohibition, a policy as damaging to liberty as alcohol prohibition. A majority vote in Congress has been enough to impose this very expensive and failed program on the American people, without even bothering to amend the Constitution. It has been met with only minimal but, fortunately, growing dissent. For the first 150 years of our history, when we were much closer to being a true republic, there were no federal laws dealing with this serious medical problem of addiction.

The ideas of democracy, not the principles of liberty, were responsible for passage of the 16th Amendment. It imposed the income tax on the American people and helped to usher in the modern age of the welfare/warfare state. Unfortunately, the 16th Amendment has not been repealed, as was the 18th. As long as the 16th Amendment is in place, the odds are slim that we can restore a constitutional republic dedicated to liberty. The personal income tax is more than symbolic of a democracy it is a predictable consequence.

Transition to Democracy

The transition from republic to democracy was gradual and insidious. It seeds were sown early in our history. In many ways, the Civil War and its aftermath laid the foundation for the acute erosion that took place over the entire 20th century. Chronic concern about war and economic downturns — events caused by an intrusive government’s failure to follow the binding restraints of the Constitution — allowed majority demands to supersede the rights of the minority.

By the end of the 20th century, majority opinion had become the determining factor in all that government does. The rule of law was cast aside, leaving the Constitution a shell of what it once was- a Constitution with rules that guaranteed a republic with limited and regional government and protection of personal liberty. The marketplace, driven by voluntary cooperation, private property ownership, and sound money was severely undermined with the acceptance of the principles of a true democracy.

Unfortunately, too many people confuse the democratic elections of leaders of a republic for democracy by accepting the rule of majority opinion in all affairs. For majorities to pick leaders is one thing. It is something quite different for majorities to decide what rights are, to redistribute property, to tell people how to manage their personal lives, and to promote undeclared, unconstitutional wars.

The majority is assumed to be in charge today and can do whatever it pleases. If the majority has not yet sanctioned some desired egregious action demanded by special interests, the propaganda machine goes into operation, and the pollsters relay the results back to the politicians who are seeking legitimacy in their endeavors. The rule of law and the Constitution have become irrelevant, and we live by constant polls .

This trend toward authoritarian democracy was tolerated because, unlike a military dictatorship, it was done in the name of benevolence , fairness , and equity . The pretense of love and compassion by those who desire to remold society and undermine the Constitution convinced the recipients, and even the victims, of its necessity. Since it was never a precipitous departure from the republic, the gradual erosion of liberty went unnoticed.

However, it is encouraging that more and more citizens are realizing just how much has been lost by complacency. The resolution to the problems we face as a result of this profound transition to pure democracy will be neither quick nor painless. This transition has occurred even though the word “democracy” does not appear in the Constitution or in the Declaration of Independence, and the Founders explicitly denounced it.

Over the last hundred years, the goal of securing individual liberties within the framework of a constitutional republic has been replaced with incessant talk of democracy and fairness.

Rallying support for our ill-advised participation in World War I, Wilson spoke glowingly of “ making the world safe for democracy ,” and never mentioned national security. This theme has, to this day, persisted in all our foreign affairs. Neo-conservatives now brag of their current victories in promoting what they call “Hard Wilsonism.”

A true defense of self-determination for all people , the necessary ingredient of a free society, is ignored. Self-determination implies separation of smaller government from the larger entities that we witnessed in the breakup of the Soviet Union. This notion contradicts the goal of pure democracy and world government. A single world government is the ultimate goal of all social egalitarians who are unconcerned with liberty.

Current Understanding

Today the concepts of rights and property ownership are completely arbitrary. Congress, the courts, presidents and bureaucrats arbitrarily “legislate” on a daily basis, seeking only the endorsement of the majority. Although the republic was designed to protect the minority against the dictates of the majority, today we find the reverse. The republic is no longer recognizable.

Supporters of democracy are always quick to point out one of the perceived benefits of this system is the redistribution of wealth by government force to the poor. Although this may be true in limited fashion, the champions of this system never concern themselves with the victims from whom the wealth is stolen. The so-called benefits are short-lived, because democracy consumes wealth with little concern for those who produce it. Eventually the programs cannot be funded, and the dependency that has developed precipitates angry outcries for even more “fairness.” Since reversing the tide against liberty is so difficult, this unworkable system inevitably leads to various forms of tyranny.

As our republic crumbles, voices of protest grow louder. The central government becomes more authoritarian with each crisis. As the quality of education plummets , the role of the federal government is expanded. As the quality of medical care collapses , the role of the federal government in medicine is greatly increased. Foreign policy failures precipitate cries for more intervention abroad and an even greater empire. Cries for security grow louder, and concern for liberty languishes.

Attacks on our homeland prompt massive increase in the bureaucracy to protect us from all dangers, seen and imagined. The prime goal and concern of the Founders, the protection of liberty, is ignored. Those expressing any serious concern for personal liberty are condemned for their self-centeredness and their lack of patriotism.

Even if we could defeat al Qaeda, which surely is a worthwhile goal, it would do little to preserve our liberties, while ignoring the real purpose of our government. Another enemy would surely replace it, just as the various groups of barbarians never left the Roman Empire alone once its internal republican structure collapsed.

Democracy Subverts Liberty and Undermines Prosperity

Once it becomes acceptable to change the rules by majority vote, there are no longer any limits on the power of the government. When the Constitution can be subverted by mere legislative votes, executive orders or judicial decrees, constitutional restraints on the government are eliminated. This process was rare in the early years of our history, but now it is routine.

Democracy is promoted in the name of fairness in an effort to help some special-interest group gain a benefit that it claims it needs or is entitled to. If only one small group were involved, nothing would come of the demands. But coalitions develop, and the various groups ban together to form a majority to vote themselves all those things that they expect others to provide for them.

Although the motivating factor is frequently the desire for the poor to better themselves through the willingness of others to sacrifice for what they see as good cause, the process is doomed to failure.

Governments are inefficient and the desired goals are rarely achieved.

Administrators, who benefit, perpetuate the programs.

Wealthy elites learn to benefit from the system in a superior fashion over the poor, because they know how to skim the cream off the top of all the programs designed for the disadvantaged. They join the various groups in producing the majority vote needed to fund their own special projects.

Public financing of housing, for instance, benefits builders, bureaucrats, insurance companies, and financial institutions, while the poor end up in drug-infested, crime-ridden housing projects. For the same reason, not only do business leaders not object to the system, but they also become strong supporters of welfare programs and foreign aid.

Big business strongly supports programs like the Export/Import Bank, the IMF, the World Bank, farm subsidies, and military adventurism. Tax-code revisions and government contracts mean big profits for those who are well-connected. Concern for individual liberty is pushed to the bottom of the priority list for both the poor and rich welfare recipients.

Prohibitions placed in the Constitution against programs that serve special interests are the greatest threat to the current system of democracy under which we operate. In order for the benefits to continue, politicians must reject the rule of law and concern themselves only with the control of majority opinion. Sadly, that is the job of almost all politicians. It is clearly the motivation behind the millions spent on constant lobbying, as well as the billions spent on promoting the right candidates in each election.

Those who champion liberty are rarely heard from. The media, banking, insurance, airlines, transportations, financial institutions, government employees, the military-industrial complex, the educational system, and the medical community are all dependent on government appropriations, resulting in a high-stakes system of government.

Democracy encourages the mother of all political corruption — the use of political money to buy influence. If the dollars spent in this effort represent the degree to which democracy has won out over the rule of law and the Constitution, it looks like the American republic is left wanting. Billions are spent on the endeavor.

Money in politics is the key to implementing policy and swaying democratic majorities. It is seen by most Americans, and rightly so, as a negative and a danger. Yet the response, unfortunately, is only more of the same. More laws tinkering with freedom of expression are enacted, in hopes that regulating sums of private money thrown into the political system will curtail the abuse. But failing to understand the cause of the problem, lack of respect for the Constitution, and obsession with legislative relativity dictated by the majority serve only to further undermine the rule of law.

Be Prepared: The Dangers of Pure Democracy are Known

We were adequately warned about the problem. Democracies lead to chaos, violence and bankruptcy. The demands of the majority are always greater than taxation alone can provide. Therefore, control over the monetary and banking system is required for democracies to operate. It was no accident in 1913, when the dramatic shift toward a democracy became pronounced, that the Federal Reserve was established. A personal income tax was imposed as well. At the same time, popular election of Senators was instituted, and our foreign policy became aggressively interventionist.

Even with an income tax, the planners for war and welfare (a guns and butter philosophy) knew that it would become necessary to eliminate restraints on the printing of money. Private counterfeiting was a heinous crime, but government counterfeit and fractional-reserve banking were required to seductively pay for the majority’s demands. It is for this reason that democracies always bring about currency debasement through inflation of the money supply.

Some of the planners of today clearly understand the process and others, out of ignorance, view central-bank money creation as a convenience with little danger. That’s where they are wrong. Even though the wealthy and the bankers support paper money — believing they know how to protect against its ill effects — many of them are eventually dragged down in the economic downturns that always develop.

It’s not a new era that they have created for us today, but more of the same endured throughout history by so many other nations. The belief that democratic demands can be financed by deficits, credit creation and taxation is based on false hope and failure to see how it contributes to the turbulence as the democracy collapses.

Once a nation becomes a democracy, the whole purpose of government changes. Instead of the government’s goal being that of guaranteeing liberty, equal justice, private property, and voluntary exchange, the government embarks on the impossible task of achieving economic equality, micromanaging the economy, and protecting citizens from themselves and all their activities. The destruction of the wealth-building process, which is inherent in a free society, is never anticipated. Once it’s realized that it has been undermined, it is too late to easily reverse the attacks against limited government and personal liberty.

Democracy, by necessity, endorses special-interest interventionism, inflationism, and corporatism. In order to carry out the duties now expected of the government, power must be transferred from the citizens to the politicians. The only thing left is to decide which group or groups have the greatest influence over the government officials. As the wealth of the nation dwindles, competition between the special-interest groups grows more intense and becomes the dominant goal of political action. Restoration of liberty, the market and personal responsibility are of little interest and are eventually seen as impractical .

Power and public opinion become crucial factors in determining the direction of all government expenditures. Although both major parties now accept the principles of rule by majority and reject the rule of law, the beneficiaries for each party are generally different, although they frequently overlap. Propaganda, demagoguery, and control of the educational system and the media are essential to directing the distribution of the loot the government steals from those who are still honestly working for a living.

The greater problem is that nearly everyone receives some government benefit, and at the same time contributes to the Treasury. Most hope they will get back more than they pay in and, therefore, go along with the firmly entrenched system. Others, who understand and would choose to opt out and assume responsibility for themselves, aren’t allowed to and are forced to participate . The end only comes with a collapse of the system, since a gradual and logical reversal of the inexorable march toward democratic socialism is unachievable.

Soviet-style communism dramatically collapsed once it was recognized that it could no longer function and a better system replaced it. It became no longer practical to pursue token reforms like those that took place over its 70-year history.

The turmoil and dangers of pure democracy are known. We should get prepared. But it will be the clarity with which we plan its replacement that determines the amount of pain and suffering endured during the transition to another system. Hopefully, the United States Congress and other government leaders will come to realize the seriousness of our current situation and replace the business-as-usual attitude , regardless of political demands and growing needs of a boisterous majority.

Simply stated, our wealth is running out, and the affordability of democracy is coming to an end.

History reveals that once majorities can vote themselves largesse, the system is destined to collapse from within. But in order to maintain the special-interest system for as long as possible, more and more power must be given to an ever-expanding central government — which of course only makes matters worse.

The economic shortcomings of such a system are easily understood. What is too often ignored is that the flip side of delivering power to government is the loss of liberty to the individual. This loss of liberty causes exactly what the government doesn’t want — less productive citizens who cannot pay taxes.

Even before 9/11, these trends were in place and proposals were abundant for restraining liberty. Since 9/11, the growth of centralized government and the loss of privacy and personal freedoms have significantly accelerated.

It is in dealing with homeland defense and potential terrorist attacks that the domestic social programs and the policy of foreign intervention are coming together and precipitating a rapid expansion of the state and erosion of liberty. Like our social welfarism at home, our foreign meddling and empire building abroad are a consequence of our becoming a pure democracy.

Foreign Affairs and Democracy

As expected, the dramatic shift away from republicanism that occurred in 1913 led to a bold change of purpose in foreign affairs. The goal of “making the world safe for democracy” was forcefully put forth by President Wilson. Protecting national security had become too narrow a goal and selfish in purpose. An obligation for spreading democracy became a noble obligation backed by a moral commitment, every bit as utopian as striving for economic equality in an egalitarian society here at home.

With the growing affection for democracy, it was no giant leap to assume that majority opinion should mold personal behavior. It was no mere coincidence that the 18th Amendment — alcohol prohibition — was passed in 1919.

Ever since 1913, all our presidents have endorsed meddling in the internal affairs of other nations, and have given generous support to the notion that a world government would facilitate the goals of democratic welfare or socialism. On a daily basis, we hear that we must be prepared to spend our money and use our young people to police the entire world in order to spread democracy. Whether in Venezuela or Columbia, Afghanistan or Pakistan, Iraq or Iran, Korea or Vietnam, our intervention is always justified with a tone of moral arrogance that “it’s for their own good.”

Our policymakers promote democracy as a cure-all for the various complex problems of the world. Unfortunately, the propaganda machine is able to hide the real reasons for our empire building. “Promoting democracy” overseas merely becomes a slogan for doing things that the powerful and influential strive to do for their own benefit. To get authority for these overseas pursuits, all that is required of the government is that the majority be satisfied with the stated goals, no matter how self-serving they may be. The rule of law, that is, constitutional restraint, is ignored. But as successful as the policy may be on the short run and as noble as it may be portrayed, it is a major contributing factor to the violence and chaos that eventually come from pure democracy.

There is abundant evidence that the pretense of spreading democracy contradicts the very policies we are pursuing. We preach about democratic elections, but we are only too willing to accept some for-the-moment friendly dictator who actually overthrew a democratically elected leader or to interfere in some foreign election.

This is the case with Pakistan’s Mushariff. For a temporary alliance, he reaps hundreds of millions of dollars, even though strong evidence exists that the Pakistanis have harbored and trained al Qaeda terrorists , that they have traded weapons with North Korea, and that they possess weapons of mass destruction. No one should be surprised that the Arabs are confused by our overtures of friendship. We have just recently promised $28 billion to Turkey to buy their support for Persian Gulf War II.

Our support of Saudi Arabia, in spite of its ties to al Qaeda through financing and training , is totally ignored by those obsessed with going to war against Iraq. Saudi Arabia is the furthest thing from a democracy. As a matter of fact, if democratic elections were permitted, the Saudi government would be overthrown by a bin Laden ally.

Those who constantly preach global government and democracy ought to consider the outcome of their philosophy in a hypothetical Mid-East regional government. If these people were asked which country in this region possesses weapons of mass destruction, has a policy of oppressive occupation, and constantly defies UN Security council resolutions, the vast majority would overwhelmingly name Israel. Is this ludicrous? No, this is what democracy is all about and what can come from a one-man, one-vote philosophy.

U.S. policy supports the overthrow of the democratically elected Chavez government in Venezuela, because we don’t like the economic policy it pursues. We support a military takeover as long as the new dictator will do as we tell him.

There is no creditability in our contention that we really want to impose democracy on other nations. Yet promoting democracy is the public justification for our foreign intervention. It sounds so much nicer than saying we’re going to risk the lives of our young people and massively tax our citizens to secure the giant oil reserves in Iraq.

After we take over Iraq, how long would one expect it to take until there are authentic nationwide elections in that country? The odds of that happening in even a hundred years are remote. It’s virtually impossible to imagine a time when democratic elections would ever occur for the election of leaders in a constitutional republic dedicated for protection of liberty any place in the region.

Foreign Policy, Welfare, and 9/11

The tragedy of 9/11 and its aftermath dramatize so clearly how a flawed foreign policy has served to encourage the majoritarians determined to run everyone’s life.

Due to its natural inefficiencies and tremendous costs, a failing welfare state requires an ever-expanding authoritarian approach to enforce mandates, collect the necessary revenues, and keep afloat an unworkable system. Once the people grow to depend on government subsistence, they demand its continuation.

Excessive meddling in the internal affairs of other nations and involving ourselves in every conflict around the globe has not endeared the United States to the oppressed of the world.

The Japanese are tired of us.

The South Koreans are tired of us.

The Europeans are tired of us.

The Central Americans are tired of us.

The Filipinos are tired of us.

And above all, the Arab Muslims are tired of us.

Angry and frustrated by our persistent bullying and disgusted with having their own government bought and controlled by the United States, joining a radical Islamic movement was a natural and predictable consequence for Muslims.

We believe bin Laden when he takes credit for an attack on the West, and we believe him when he warns us of an impending attack. But we refuse to listen to his explanation of why he and his allies are at war with us.

Bin Laden’s claims are straightforward. The U.S. defiles Islam with military bases on holy land in Saudi Arabia, its initiation of war against Iraq, with 12 years of persistent bombing, and its dollars and weapons being used against the Palestinians as the Palestinian territory shrinks and Israel’s occupation expands. There will be no peace in the world for the next 50 years or longer if we refuse to believe why those who are attacking us do it.

To dismiss terrorism as the result of Muslims hating us because we’re rich and free is one of the greatest foreign-policy frauds ever perpetrated on the American people. Because the propaganda machine , the media, and the government have restated this so many times, the majority now accept it at face value. And the administration gets the political cover it needs to pursue a “holy” war for democracy against the infidels who hate us for our goodness.

Polling on the matter is followed closely and, unfortunately, is far more important than the rule of law . Do we hear the pundits talk of constitutional restraints on the Congress and the administration? No, all we ever hear are reassurances that the majority supports the President therefore it must be all right.

The terrorists’ attacks on us, though never justified, are related to our severely flawed foreign policy of intervention. They also reflect the shortcomings of a bureaucracy that is already big enough to know everything it needs to know about any impending attack but too cumbersome to do anything about it. Bureaucratic weaknesses within a fragile welfare state provide a prime opportunity for those whom we antagonize through our domination over world affairs and global wealth to take advantage of our vulnerability.

But what has been our answer to the shortcomings of policies driven by manipulated majority opinion?

We have responded by massively increasing the federal government’s policing activity to hold American citizens in check and make sure we are well-behaved and pose no threat, while massively expanding our aggressive presence around the world. There is no possible way these moves can make us more secure against terrorism, yet they will accelerate our march toward national bankruptcy with a currency collapse.

Relying on authoritarian democracy and domestic and international meddling only move us sharply away from a constitutional republic and the rule of law and toward the turbulence of a decaying democracy, about which Madison and others had warned.

The Utopian Nightmare of One-World Government

Once the goal of liberty is replaced by a preconceived notion of the benefits and the moral justifications of a democracy, a trend toward internationalism and world government follows.

We certainly witnessed this throughout the 20th century. Since World War II, we have failed to follow the Constitution in taking this country to war, but instead have deferred to the collective democratic wisdom of the United Nations.

Once it’s recognized that ultimate authority comes from an international body , whether the United Nations, NATO, the WTO, the World Bank, or the IMF, the contest becomes a matter of who holds the reins of power and is able to dictate what is perceived as the will of the people (of the world). In the name of democracy, just as it is done in Washington, powerful nations with the most money will control UN policy. Bribery, threats, and intimidation are common practices used to achieve a “democratic” consensus-no matter how controversial and short-lived the benefits.

Can one imagine what it might be like if a true worldwide democracy existed and the United Nations were controlled by a worldwide, one man/one vote philosophy? The masses of China and India could vote themselves whatever they needed from the more prosperous western countries. How long would a world system last based on this absurdity? Yet this is the principle that we’re working so hard to impose on ourselves and others around the world .

In spite of the great strides made toward one-world government based on egalitarianism, I’m optimistic that this utopian nightmare will never come to fruition. I have already made the case that here at home powerful special interests take over controlling majority opinion, making sure fairness in distribution is never achieved. This fact causes resentment and becomes so expensive that the entire system becomes unstable and eventually collapses.

The same will occur internationally, even if it miraculously did not cause conflict among the groups demanding the loot confiscated from the producing individuals (or countries). Democratic socialism is so destructive to production of wealth that it must fail, just as socialism failed under Soviet Communism. We have a long way to go before old-fashioned nationalism is dead and buried. In the meantime, the determination of those promoting democratic socialism will cause great harm to many people before its chaotic end and we rediscover the basic principle responsible for all of human progress.

With the additional spending to wage war against terrorism at home, while propping up an ever-increasing expensive and failing welfare state, and the added funds needed to police the world — all in the midst of a recession — we are destined to see an unbelievably huge explosion of deficit spending.

Raising taxes won’t help. Borrowing the needed funds for the budgetary deficit — plus the daily borrowing from foreigners required to finance our ever-growing current account deficit — will put tremendous pressure on the dollar.

The time will come when the Fed will no longer be able to dictate low interest rates. Reluctance of foreigners to lend, the exorbitant size of our borrowing needs, and the risk premium will eventually send interest rates upward. Price inflation will accelerate, and the cost of living for all Americans will increase. Under these conditions, most Americans will face a decline in their standard of living.

Faced with this problem of paying for past and present excess spending , borrowing and inflating of the money supply has already begun in earnest. Many retirees, depending on their 401k funds and other retirement programs, are suffering the ill-effects of the stock market crash — a phenomenon that still has a long way to go . Depreciating the dollar by printing excessive money, like the Fed is doing, will eventually devastate the purchasing power of those retirees who are dependent on Social Security. Government cost-of-living increases will never be able to keep up with this loss. The reality is that we will not be able to inflate, tax, spend or borrow our way out of this mess that the Congress has delivered to the American people. The demands that come with pure democracy always lead to an unaffordable system that ends with economic turmoil and political upheaval.

Tragically, the worse the problems get, the louder is the demand for more of the same government programs that caused the problems in the first place, both domestic and international. Weaning off of government programs and getting away from foreign meddling because of political pressure are virtually impossible. The end comes only after economic forces make it clear we can no longer afford to pay for the extravagance that comes from democratic dictates.

Democracy is the most expensive form of government. There is no “king” with an interest in preserving the nation’s capital. Everyone desires something, and the special-interest groups, banding together, dictate to the politicians exactly what they need and want. Politicians are handsomely rewarded for being “effective,” that is, getting the benefits for the groups that support them . Effectiveness is never measured by efforts and achievements in securing liberty, even though it’s the most important element in a prosperous and progressive world.

Spending is predictable in a democracy, especially one that endorses foreign interventionism. It always goes up, both in nominal terms and in percentage of the nation’s wealth.

Paying for it can be quite complicated. The exact method is less consequential than the percent of the nation’s wealth the government commands. Borrowing and central-bank credit creation are generally used — they are less noticeable, but more deceitful, than direct taxation (which would amount to “pay as we go”). If direct taxation were accomplished through monthly checks written by each taxpayer, the cost of government would immediately be revealed, and the democratic con-game would end much more quickly.

The withholding principle was devised to make paying for the programs the majority demanded seem less painful. Passing on debt to the next generation through borrowing is also a popular way to pay for welfare and warfare.

Inflation — The Most Sinister Tax of All

Because the effect of inflating a currency to pay the bills is difficult to understand, and the victims are hard to identify, inflation is the most sinister method of payment for a welfare state. It, too, grows in popularity as the demands increase for services that aren’t affordable. Although this appears to be a convenient and cheap way to pay the bills, the economic consequences of lost employment, inflated prices, and economic dislocation make the long-term consequences much more severe than paying as we go. Not only is this costly in terms of national wealth, it significantly contributes to the political chaos and loss of liberty that accompany the death throes of a doomed democracy.

This does not mean that direct taxes won’t be continuously raised to pay for out-of-control spending. In a democracy, all earned wealth is assumed to belong to the government. Therefore any restraint in raising taxes, and any tax cuts or tax credits, are considered “costs” to government. Once this notion is established, tax credits or cuts are given only under condition that the beneficiaries conform to the democratic consensus. Freedom of choice is removed, even if a group is merely getting back control of that which was rightfully theirs in the first place.

Tax-exempt status for various groups is not universal but is conditioned on whether their beliefs and practices are compatible with politically correct opinions endorsed by the democratic majority. This concept is incompatible with the principles of private-property ownership and individual liberty. By contrast, in a free society all economic and social decision-making is controlled by private property owners without government intrusion, as long as no one is harmed in the process.

Confusion Regarding Democracy

The vast majority of the American people have come to accept democracy as a favorable system and are pleased with our efforts to pursue Wilson’s dream of “ making the world safe for democracy .” But the goals of pure democracy and that of a constitutional republic are incompatible . A clear understanding of the difference is paramount, if we are to remain a free and prosperous nation.

There are certain wonderful benefits in recognizing the guidance that majority opinion offers. It takes a consensus or prevailing attitude to endorse the principles of liberty and a Constitution to protect them. This is a requirement for the rule of law to succeed. Without a consensus, the rule of law fails.

This does not mean that the majority or public opinion measured by polls, court rulings, or legislative bodies should be able to alter the constitutional restraints on the government’s abuse of life, liberty, and property. But in a democracy, that happens — and we know that today it is happening in this country on a routine basis.

In a free society with totally free markets, the “votes” by consumers “cast” through their purchases, or refusals to purchase, determine which businesses survive and which fail. This is “free-choice” democracy, and it is a powerful force in producing and bringing about economic efficiency.

In today’s democracy by decree , government laws dictate who receives the benefits and who gets shortchanged. Conditions of employment and sales are taxed and regulated at varying rates, and success or failure is too often dependent on government action than by consumers’ “voting” in the marketplace by their spending habits. Individual consumers by their decisions should be in charge — not governments armed with mandates from the majority.

Even a system of free-market money (a redeemable gold-coin standard) functions through the principle of consumers always voting or withholding support for that currency. A gold standard can only work when freely converted into gold coins, giving every citizen a right to vote on a daily basis for or against the government money.

It’s too late to avoid the turbulence and violence that Madison warned about. It has already started. But it’s important to minimize the damage and prepare the way for a restoration of the republic. The odds are not favorable, but not impossible. No one can know the future with certainty. The Soviet system came to an abrupt end with less violence than could have ever been imagined at the height of the Cold War. It was a pleasant surprise.

Interestingly enough, what is needed is a majority opinion — especially by those who find themselves in leadership roles, whether political, educational, or in the media — that rejects democracy- and support the rule of law within the republic. This majority support is essential for the preservation of the freedom and prosperity with which America is identified.

This will not occur until we as a nation once again understand how freedom serves the interests of everyone. Henry Grady Weaver, in his 1947 classic, “The Mainspring of Human Progress,” superbly explains how it works. His thesis is simple. Liberty permits progress, while government intervention tends always to tyranny.

Liberty releases creative energy government intervention suppresses it. This release of energy was never greater than in the time following the American Revolution and the writing of the U.S. Constitution.

Instead of individual activity being controlled by the government or superstitious beliefs about natural and mystical events, activity is controlled by the individual. This understanding recognizes the immense value in voluntary cooperation and enlightened self-interests .

Freedom requires self-control and moral responsibility. No one owes anyone else anything and everyone is responsible for his or her own acts. The principle of never harming one’s neighbor, or never sending the government to do the dirty work, is key to making the system tend toward peaceful pursuits and away from the tyranny and majority-induced violence. Nothing short of a reaffirmation of this principle can restore the freedoms once guaranteed under the Constitution. Without this, prosperity for the masses is impossible, and as a nation we become more vulnerable to outside threats.

In a republic, the people are in charge. The Constitution provides strict restraints on the politicians, bureaucrats and the military. Everything the government is allowed to do is only done with explicit permission from the people or the Constitution. Today, it’s the opposite. The American people must get permission from the government for their every move, whether it’s use of their own property or spending their own money.

Even the most serious decision, such as going to war, is done while ignoring the Constitution and without a vote of the people’s representatives in the Congress. Members of the global government have more to say about when American troops are put in harm’s way than the U.S. Congress.

The Constitution no longer restrains the government. The government restrains the people in all that they do. This destroys individual creative energy, and the “mainspring of human progress” is lost. The consequences are less progress, less prosperity, and less personal fulfillment.

A system that rejects voluntary contracts, enlightened self interest, and individual responsibilities permits the government to assume these responsibilities. And the government officials become morally obligated to protect us from ourselves, attempting to make us better people and setting standards for our personal behavior. That effort is already in full swing. But if this attitude prevails, liberty is lost.

When government assumes the responsibility for individuals to achieve excellence and virtue, it does so at the expense of liberty, and must resort to force and intimidation. Standards become completely arbitrary, depending on the attitude of those in power and the perceived opinion of the majority. Freedom of choice is gone.

This leads to inevitable conflicts with the government dictating what one can eat, drink or smoke. One group may promote abstinence, the other tax-supported condom distribution. Arguments over literature, prayer, pornography, and sexual behavior are endless. It is now not even permissible to mention the word “God” on public property.

A people who allows its government to set personal moral standards, for all non-violent behavior, will naturally allow it to be involved in the more important aspects of spiritual life. For instance, there are tax deductions for churches that are politically correct, but not for those whose beliefs that are considered out of the mainstream. Groups that do not meet the official politically correct standards are more likely to be put on a “terrorist” list. This arbitrary and destructive approach to solving difficult problems must be rejected if we ever hope to live again in a society where the role of government is limited to that of protecting liberty.

The question that I’m most often asked when talking about this subject is, “Why do our elected leaders so easily relinquish liberty and have such little respect for the Constitution?” The people of whom I speak are convinced that liberty is good and big government is dangerous. They are also quite certain that we have drifted a long way away from the principles that made America great, and their bewilderment continuously elicits a big “Why?”

There’s no easy answer to this and no single explanation. It involves temptation, envy, greed, and ignorance, but worst of all, humanitarian zeal.

Unfortunately, the greater the humanitarian outreach, the greater the violence required to achieve it. The greater the desire to perform humanitarian deeds through legislation, the greater the violence required to achieve it. Few understand this.

There are literally no limits to the good deeds that some believe need to be done. Rarely does anyone question how each humanitarian act by government undermines the essential element of all human progress: individual liberty .

Failure of government programs prompts more determined efforts, while the loss of liberty is ignored or rationalized away. Whether it’s the war against poverty, drugs, terrorism, or the current Hitler of the day, an appeal to patriotism is used to convince the people that a little sacrifice of liberty, here and there, is a small price to pay.

The results, though, are frightening and will soon become even more so. Poverty has been made worse, the drug war is a bigger threat than drug use, terrorism remains a threat, and foreign wars have become routine and decided upon without congressional approval.

Most of the damage to liberty and the Constitution is done by men and women of good will who are convinced they know what is best for the economy, for others, and foreign powers. They inevitably fail to recognize their own arrogance in assuming they know what is the best personal behavior for others. Their failure to recognize the likelihood of mistakes by central planners allows them to ignore the magnitude of a flawed central government directive, compared to an individual or a smaller unit of government mistake.

C. S. Lewis had an opinion on this subject:

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

A system that is based on majority vote rather than the strict rule of law encourages the few who thrive on power and exerting authority over other people’s lives, unlike the many driven by sincere humanitarian concerns. Our current system rewards those who respond to age-old human instincts of envy and greed as they gang up on those who produce.

Those individuals who are tempted by the offer of power are quick to accommodate those who are the most demanding of government-giveaway programs and government contracts. These special-interest groups notoriously come from both the poor and the rich, while the middle class is required to pay.

It’s not just a coincidence that, in the times of rapid monetary debasement , the middle class suffers the most from the inflation and job losses that monetary inflation brings. When inflation is severe, which it will become, the middle class can be completely wiped out. The stock market crash gives us a hint as to what is likely to come as this country is forced to pay for the excesses sustained over the past 30 years while operating under a fiat monetary system.

Eric Hoffer, the longshoreman philosopher, commented on this subject as well: “ Absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep .”

Good men driven by a desire for benevolence encourage the centralization of power. The corruptive temptation of power is made worse when domestic and international interventions go wrong and feed into the hate and envy that invade men’s souls when the love of liberty is absent.

Those of good will who work to help the downtrodden do so not knowing they are building a class of rulers who will become drunk with their own arrogance and lust for power. Generally only a few in a society yield to the urge to dictate to others, and seek power for the sake of power and then abuse it.

Most members of society are complacent and respond to propaganda, but they unite in the democratic effort to rearrange the world in hopes of gaining benefits through coercive means and convince themselves they are helping their fellow man as well. A promise of security is a powerful temptation for many.

A free society, on the other hand, requires that these same desires be redirected. The desire for power and authority must be over one’s self alone. The desire for security and prosperity should be directed inward, rather than toward controlling others. We cannot accept the notion that the gang solution endorsed by the majority is the only option. Self-reliance and personal responsibility are crucial.

But there is also a problem with economic understanding. Economic ignorance about the shortcomings of central economic planning, excessive taxation and regulations, central bank manipulation of money, and credit and interest rates is pervasive in our nation’s capital.

A large number of conservatives now forcefully argue that deficits don’t matter.

Spending programs never shrink, no matter whether conservatives or liberals are in charge.

Rhetoric favoring free trade is canceled out by special-interest protectionist measures.

Support of international government agencies that manage trade, such as the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, and Nafta politicizes international trade and eliminates any hope that free-trade capitalism will soon emerge.

The federal government will not improve on its policies until the people coming to Washington are educated by a different breed of economists than those who dominate our government-run universities. Economic advisors and most officeholders merely reflect the economics taught to them. A major failure of our entire system will most likely occur before serious thought is given once again to the guidelines laid out in the Constitution.

The current economic system of fiat money and interventionism (both domestic and international) serves to accommodate the unreasonable demands for government to take care of the people. And this, in turn, contributes to the worst of human instincts: authoritarian control by the few over the many.

We, as a nation, have lost our understanding of how the free market provides the greatest prosperity for the greatest number. Not only have most of us forgotten about the invisible hand of Adam Smith, few have ever heard of Mises and Hayek- two individuals who understood exactly why all the economic ups and downs of the 20th century occurred, as well as the cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But worst of all, we have lost our faith in freedom. Materialistic concerns and desire for security drive all national politics. This trend has sharply accelerated since 9/11.

Understanding the connection between liberty, prosperity, and security has been lost. The priorities are backwards. Prosperity and security come from liberty. Peace and the absence of war come as a consequence of liberty and free trade. The elimination of ignorance and restraints on do-goodism and authoritarianism in a civilized society can only be achieved through a contractual arrangement between the people and the government — in our case, the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitution was the best ever devised for releasing the creative energy of a free people while strictly holding in check the destructive powers of government. Only the rule of law can constrain those who, by human instinct, look for a free ride while delivering power to those few, found in every society, whose only goal in life is a devilish desire to rule over others.

The rule of law in a republic protects free-market activity and private-property ownership and provides for equal justice under the law. It is this respect for law and rights over government power that protects the mainspring of human progress from the enemies of liberty.

Communists and other socialists have routinely argued that the law is merely a tool of the powerful capitalists. But they have it backwards. Under democracy and fascism, the pseudo-capitalists write the laws that undermine the Constitution and jeopardize the rights and property of all citizens. They fail to realize it is the real law, the Constitution itself, which guarantees rights and equal justice and permits capitalism, thus guaranteeing progress.

Arbitrary, ever-changing laws are the friends of dictators. Authoritarians argue constantly that the Constitution is a living document, and that rigid obedience to ideological purity is the enemy we should be most concerned about. They would have us believe that those who cherish strict obedience to the rule of law in the defense of liberty are wrong merely because they demand ideological purity. They fail to mention that their love of relative rights and pure democracy is driven by a rigid obedience to an ideology as well.

The issue is never rigid beliefs versus reasonable friendly compromise. In politics, it’s always competition between two strongly held ideologies. The only challenge for men and women of good will is to decide the wisdom and truth of the ideologies offered.

Nothing short of restoring a republican form of government with strict adherence to the rule of law, and curtailing illegal government programs, will solve our current and evolving problems.

Eventually the solution will be found with the passage of the Liberty Amendment. Once there is serious debate on this amendment, we will know that the American people are considering the restoration of our constitutional republic and the protection of individual liberty.

January 29, 2003

To make this subject perfectly clear, an excellent example of democracy is a lynch mob. The majority wants to hang the guy, and the guy to be hanged doesn't. So, they have a vote and hang the guy. THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO RESTRAINTS OF ANY KIND IN A PURE DEMOCRACY.

Society and culture [ edit | edit source ]

Culturally, the Sith Empire was very different from that of the Republic, being much more ecumenically-driven than its counterpart. The Sith Empire was hierarchical, utilizing both a rigid caste system and a stratified rank structure to put its subjects in their proper place. Due to how long Sith society has separated the Sith into castes (across approximately 100,000 years), each caste was sometimes referred to as a sub-species of Sith. The Kissai were the priest caste of the Sith who also served as spiritual leaders that indoctrinated others into Sith teachings. Δ] This was most likely where the mages and other practitioners of their ancient and mysterious magic were placed. In contrast, the Massassi were the warrior caste of the Sith. They were unswervingly obedient to the Dark Lord of the Sith they were also loyal to the individual Sith Lord they served, though this loyalty was secondary to their loyalty to the Dark Lord. The Sith Engineer Caste built and maintained Sith technology, including droids and starships. Sith slaves were the lowliest caste of the Sith. They worshipped the Sith Lords as gods, and were often used as sacrifices. The Sith Lords used them for slave labor and menial tasks, such as grooming their feet. Most citizens of the Empire lived in this meager caste driven structure where they toiled to build their rulers tomb or dying by the millions in internecine warfare. They were ultimately ruled by a military styled culture with a great reverence for the dead. Η] When a Sith Lord died, his slaves were buried alive with his body in his tomb on Korriban.

When Adas unified the Sith nations, he took the title of "Sith'ari" which, when translated, meant "Sith Overlord" in Basic. They were the leaders of the Sith. Each Sith Lord had his own slaves and his own army of Massassi while the Sith'ari ruled over all the Sith Lords also. Following the death of Adas, many claimed the title of Sith'ari and fought each other in constant civil wars, each ruling only a fief. Following 6,900 BBY, the current Sith'ari was killed and the Sith interbred with the Jen'jidai, resulting in a mix of Ancient Sith and baseline Human species traits, resulting in many losing the low-light vision which most Ancient Sith possessed. Following the fall of the Sith Empire in 5,000 BBY, the word "Sith'ari" took on the approximate meaning "Chosen One" with later Sith, referring to an unidentified individual who would fulfill a particular Sith prophecy, this prophecy was later fulfilled by Darth Bane.

Members of the Sith species.

The term "Jen'ari" was the title translated "Dark Lord of the Sith" in Basic. Jen'ari were the greatest and most powerful of the Sith Lords who took the place of the Sith'ari in the Sith hierarchy. There was only one Jen'ari at a time, who was the head of the Sith Council, and ruler of the Sith Empire. The original Jen'ari were Jen'jidai later Jen'ari were Sith Lords who assumed the title after the death of the previous Jen'ari, defeating any rival claimant to the title in combat (often resulting in death, or at least disfigurement). From 6,900 BBY to 5,000 BBY, the Sith Lords collectively ruled the Empire through a governing body known as the Sith Council, which the Jen'ari ruled over and commanded each member of the Council had a personal fleet. Many Jen'ari had partial Jen'jidai ancestry, which was, in some, considered more desirable. After the fall of the Sith Empire, the title "Dark Lord of the Sith" was used by both the leader of the Sith Order (such as Exar Kun or Revan) and his apprentice (such as Ulic Qel-Droma or Malak), although it is uncertain if the title "Jen'ari" remained in use in any capacity, or was abandoned for the title "Darth".

Before the formation of the Sith Empire, the Sith were engaged in constant warfare with one another though this was seen as an acceptable practice as they believed it to be a fundamental aspect of their existence. This meant that they lived both a barbaric yet strangely harmonious existence on their homeworld. The early Sith often engaged in sentient sacrifices which they made to their deities. ΐ] Their constant warring led to a dwindling of the population on their original homeworld of Korriban as well as cultivated an intensely xenophobic society. ⎲] After the arrival of the Exiles, only those that were Force-sensitive had the capacity to reach the upper echlons of the Sith Empire. Those that were blind to the Force were considered useless fit for only common labor purposes or simple bureaucratic work. Amongst the elite, power was craved due to the intense feelings of greed perpetrated by the dark side which also meant that these individuals were also ambitious as well as paranoid. This society encouraged the survival of the fittest with only the most ruthless and powerful rising to positions of power as well as surviving. ⎧]

This empire ultimately thrived on slavery as well as exploitation and oppression of the masses. In addition, they lived in constant belief that they would face external threats to their dominion and thus had a belief in expansion or dying. Some believed that this was a necessity for the Sith as they hungered for new lands and riches to bring under their control. This allowed for Naga Sadow to lead his forces during the Great Hyperspace War though despite this being the case, there were other traditional and more conservative factions that believed in remaining within their territory in order to preserve their ways. ⎨]

During the time of the first Sith Empire, there were many instances of travelers stumbling into Sith space where they became slaves to one of the many members of the nobility. Over the years of enslavement, these aliens and outsiders continued to live for generations whereupon they forgot their origins thus turning them into true subjects of the Sith. Some Sith Lords even found value in the descendants of these foreigners such as those of the Tapani worlds due to their skills in science. Natural born Sith tended to focus on sorcery while the Tapani's excellence in the fields of science meant that they became valued members of the Empire and developed the industrial as well as medical infrastructure for several Sith Lords. Through such means as those presented by the Tapani, the Sith developed new lightsaber construction techniques that were more advanced than those produced by either Sith or Jedi. However, the intense rivalry and fierce competitive nature of Sith society meant that ranking Sith Lords never shared these new developments or weapons. Among the Sith, about glorification of self and the subjugation of others was a constant aspect within their society. ⎩]

The five castes of the Sith Empire (top to bottom): Sith lord, priest, engineer, warrior, slave.

One of the greatest secrets of the ancient Sith was their devotion to the arts of Sith sorcery. As such, those individuals that practiced this art took on the title of Sith mages who held great mystical power that allowed them to cause stars to go supernova. Δ] The original Sith were also quite skilled in the art of Sith alchemy though it was the Dark Jedi Exiles who later became Sith Lords that perfected the ability. ⎢] Originally, the species was a united people who instead preferred to stay within different and divided tribes. These were led by one or more sorcerers who were in charge with the groups protection. This remained the case until the arrival of the Exiles who took interest in the species' techniques in drawing on the power of the dark side of the Force which they used to accomplish their sorcery. ⎯] This practice was used by pure blood Sith who often dwelled in Library-temples where they sat in meditation as well as recorded their experiences as well as experiments. ⎣] They also created many tools designed to enhance or project their power which was commonly seen in Sith talismans. These dark side empowered constructs were capable of a wide range of feats from being simple concentration tools to being a trap that turned other Force users to the dark side when being used or defensive tools that absorbed weapon fire and even being used for healing. ⎯] They also created special chambers and sanctuaries that amplified the power of the Force which were either used as Meditation chamber or Focusing chambers. ⎶] One of the greater feats was the capacity to create sentient vessels such as Meditation Spheres that were capable of enhancing the power of a Sith sorcerer.

The Sith Empire had also made use of droids and recognized their potential as security troops leading to several different designs to be produced. Schematics for these droids were often stored within holocrons and though their inner workings were inferior to later generation droids, the fact that Sith alchemy was used in their construction meant that their outer plating was equal to a low powered shield generator. ⎶]

The decline and fall of the American empire: Joe Biden's biggest challenge

By Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J.S. Davies
Published February 4, 2021 5:50AM (EST)

(Illustration by Calvin Shen)


In 2004, journalist Ron Suskind quoted a Bush White House adviser, reportedly Karl Rove , as boasting, "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality." He dismissed Suskind's assumption that public policy must be rooted in "the reality-based community." "We're history's actors," the adviser told him, "and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Sixteen years later, the American wars and war crimes launched by the Bush administration have only spread chaos and violence far and wide, and this historic conjunction of criminality and failure has predictably undermined America's international power and authority. Back in the imperial heartland, the political marketing industry that Rove and his colleagues were part of has had more success dividing and ruling the hearts and minds of Americans than of Iraqis, Russians or Chinese.

The irony of the Bush administration's imperial pretensions was that America has been an empire from its very founding, and that a White House staffer's political use of the term "empire" in 2004 was not emblematic of a new and rising empire as he claimed, but of a decadent, declining empire stumbling blindly into an agonizing death spiral.

Americans were not always so ignorant of the imperial nature of their country's ambitions. George Washington described New York as "the seat of an empire," and his military campaign against British forces there as the "pathway to empire." New Yorkers eagerly embraced their state's identity as the Empire State , which is still enshrined in the Empire State Building and on New York State license plates.

The expansion of U.S. territorial sovereignty over Native American lands, the Louisiana Purchase and the annexation of northern Mexico in the Mexican-American War built an empire that far outstripped the one that George Washington built. But that imperial expansion was more controversial than most Americans realize. Fourteen out of 52 U.S. senators voted against the 1848 treaty to annex most of Mexico, without which Americans might still be visiting California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Utah and most of Colorado as exotic Mexican travel spots.

In the full flowering of the American empire after the Second World War, its leaders understood the skill and subtlety required to exercise imperial power in a post-colonial world. No country fighting for independence from the U.K. or France was going to welcome imperial invaders from America. So America's leaders developed a system of neocolonialism through which they exercised overarching imperial sovereignty over much of the world, while scrupulously avoiding terms like "empire" or "imperialism" that would undermine their post-colonial credentials.

It was left to critics like President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana to seriously examine the imperial control that wealthy countries still exercised over nominally independent post-colonial countries like his. In his book " Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism ," Nkrumah condemned neocolonialism as "the worst form of imperialism." "For those who practice it," he wrote, "it means power without responsibility, and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without redress."

So post-World War II Americans grew up in carefully crafted ignorance of the very fact of American empire, and the myths woven to disguise it have provided fertile soil for today's political divisions and disintegration. Trump's "Make America Great Again" and Biden's promise to "restore American leadership" are both appeals to nostalgia for the fruits of American empire.

Past blame games over who "lost" China or Vietnam or Cuba have come home to roost in an argument over who lost America — and who can somehow restore its mythical former greatness or leadership. Even as America leads the world in allowing a pandemic to ravage its people and economy, neither party's leaders are ready for a more realistic debate over how to redefine and rebuild America as a post-imperial nation in today's multipolar world.

Every successful empire has expanded, ruled and exploited its far-flung territories through a combination of economic and military power. Even in the American empire's neocolonial phase, the role of the U.S. military and the CIA was to kick open doors through which American businessmen could "follow the flag" to set up shop and develop new markets.

But now U.S. militarism and America's economic interests have diverged. Apart from a few military contractors, American businesses have not followed the flag into the ruins of Iraq or America's other current war zones in any lasting way. Eighteen years after the U.S. invasion, Iraq's largest trading partner is China, while Afghanistan's is Pakistan, Somalia's is the United Arab Emirates and Libya's is the European Union.

Instead of opening doors for American big business or supporting America's diplomatic position in the world, the U.S. war machine has become a bull in the global china shop, wielding purely destructive power to destabilize countries and wreck their economies, closing doors to economic opportunity instead of opening them, diverting resources from real needs at home, and damaging America's international standing instead of enhancing it.

When President Dwight Eisenhower warned against the " unwarranted influence " of America's military-industrial complex, he was predicting precisely this kind of dangerous dichotomy between the real economic and social needs of the American people and a war machine that costs more than the next 10 militaries in the world put together but cannot win a war or vanquish a virus, let alone reconquer a lost empire.

China and the EU have become the major trading partners of most countries in the world. The United States is still a regional economic power, but even in South America, most countries now trade more with China. American militarism has accelerated these trends by squandering the nation's resources on weapons and wars, while China and the EU have invested in peaceful economic development and 21st-century infrastructure.

For example, China has built the largest high-speed rail network in the world in just 10 years (between 2008 and 2018), and Europe has been building and expanding its high-speed network since the 1990s, but high-speed rail is still only on the drawing board in America.

China has lifted 800 million people out of poverty, while America's poverty rate has barely budged in 50 years and child poverty has increased. America still has the weakest social safety net of any developed country and no universal health care system, and the inequalities of wealth and power caused by extreme neoliberalism have left half the U.S. population with little or no savings to live on in retirement or to weather any disruption in their lives.

Our leaders' insistence on siphoning off 66% of U.S. federal discretionary spending to preserve and expand a war machine that has long outlived any useful role in America's declining economic empire is a debilitating waste of resources that jeopardizes our future.

Decades ago Martin Luther King Jr. warned us that "a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

As our government debates whether we can "afford" COVID relief, a Green New Deal and universal health care, we would be wise to recognize that our only hope of transforming this decadent, declining empire into a dynamic and prosperous post-imperial nation is to rapidly and profoundly shift our national priorities from irrelevant, destructive militarism to the programs of social uplift that Dr. King called for.

Medea Benjamin

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Prelude [ edit | edit source ]

Shortly after the Third Overlord was trapped in the Infernal Abyss by the dying Forgotten God and the treacherous Jester and the minions were forced to abandon him, his evil empire began crumbling. After the Great Cataclysm destroyed the dark tower and caused the Magical Plague, the scared citizens of the world were united by a man named Solarius. Solarius attempted to unite the scared and scattered human populations under one banner: The Glorious Empire. Solarius named himself Emperor of this growing, he seeked to get rid of the magic creatures and apparently restore order, but the true ideals of Solarius were not to protect the people, but so he could ascend into godhood, and for nearly 20 years they hunted down magic creatures and imprisoned them for the arena, forcing the remaining Magic creatures such as the fairies, elves and unicorns to form the hidden sanctuaries,and one figure united the magic creatures, the beautiful and good hearted Queen Fay.

The ideological conflict between Queen Fay and Emperor Solarius.

Besieging Nordberg [ edit | edit source ]

The still-expanding Empire is first encountered during the Overlad Prologue. They besiege Nordberg Town and demand they hand over any magic users to be "cleansed". In response, the Nordbergians toss out the Overlad, who proceeds to escape with the aid of the minions and a Yeti. During the time the Overlad is being raised to become the Fourth Overlord, the Glorious Empire expands and takes over much of the World. Their ruler is Emperor Solarius, a ruthless and deluded tyrant, who wishes to eradicate all of the world's magic and collect it in the Magic Containment Room in the Imperial Palace.

Nordberg [ edit | edit source ]

Many years later when the Overlord was proving his value to be the reigning Overlord, he came across hunters that were authorized by the Glorious Empire to hunt, and attacked the Overlord, altough they were no match for him and destroyed their camp. The Overlord then proceeded, and found a area with cut down trees, and found that the Glorious Empire had found another sanctuary, and Gnarl suggested to go inside to take a magic relic to power the gates of the Netherworld Tower, which was still uncomplete, but when inside they've seen that the soldiers already taken the relic and Borius was there to oversee the operation. After going through the sanctuary, the Overlord found a stone from the abyss, but was inactive due of his unconfirmed Overlord status, and procedeed, after taking the stone and smashing the gnomes, he became the rightful Overlord fully, and the first Overlord plan was to take Nordberg, which was held by the Glorious Empire, but they had fire barriers to prevent the Overlord from entering the city. After rescuing the reds from the sanctuary, he destroyed the barriers, but the city was protected by an army of legionnares,armed with a ballista, and the Overlord took an alternate path and destroyed the legion, but the city had still armed doors, so he scavenged in a mine that the Glorious Empire was digging to reach the Netherworld, and took several explosives and destroyed the armed doors. He then assaulted the city, which was protected by the legion and some citizens that disliked the overlord, but he massacred them, pushed a stone statue over the Governor Borius and officially started a war with the Glorious Empire. After taking care of the Nordberg, the Overlord reached the shipyard to take a ship and reach Everlight, setting on fire several pites, and possibly destroying the nearby settlement.

Everlight [ edit | edit source ]

The Everlight Governess,the ruler of Everlight.

He then proceeded to conquer the Empire held Everlight, where he defeated the town's governess, another agent working for the Empire, and rescued Juno, another mistress, from Everlight.

Wastelands [ edit | edit source ]

Both the Overlord, Elves and the Empire had traveled to the Wastelands, a barren land ruined by the Great Cataclysm, and found its sanctuary. Here, he joined the elves and drained Fay, their queen as the Empire destroyed the last sanctuary.

Empire Heartlands [ edit | edit source ]

Minions, stealing greek pots and being chased by the large Empire army, including large experimental brutes.

The Overlord finally launched a major attack against the Empire, he proceeded to conquer the Empire Heartlands and conquer Empire City smashing through its anti-magic shield by catapulting the Tower Heart at the walls of the City, where he finds out Solarius has become corrupt and that the Overlord's Darkness is necessary. After finding Solarius and discovering that he is actually Florian Greenheart who has gone mad with power and must be stopped before he can destroy all traces of good in him. After fighting the newly formed Devourer, the Overlord realizes that in order for there to be evil, there must be good, and the only thing that could destroy a great evil is an even greater evil. The Overlord accepts that he is that greater evil and kills the Devourer, the Glorious Empire fell and the Fouth Overlord takes his rightful place as ruler of all the land as Overlord.

Ideology and Society [ edit | edit source ]

The Helghan Empire's ultra-nationalistic ideals centered on the superiority of the Helghast, a strong military, and total commitment to the Helghast government. Their ideals are symbolized by the Helghast Triad, which emphasizes duty, obedience, and loyalty. The filtration masks ubiquitously worn by the Helghast, once a badge of low station, is valued in the Helghan identity, as Scolar Visari regarded mask-wearing to be a testament to the Helghast's fortitude.

Helghast Superiority [ edit | edit source ]

Over successive generations of living on Helghan's harsh conditions had physically changed the inhabitants, biologically making their bodies to adapt and survive Helghan than normal humans growing lungs to breath and filter the toxic atmosphere, and their bodies more resistant to the heavier gravity of their planet. Due to living under the strict sanctions imposed by the ISA for generations, the Helghast developed a strong sense of isolation which turned into otherness, seeing themselves different from and very wary of ordinary humans. Scolar Visari validated the Helghast's mutations as proof for the Helghast being an entirely new and entirely superior race. Visari shaped the Helghast's age-old feelings of grievance into a sense of purpose, giving them pride in their past and belief in their future, to reclaim the Helghast's rights that were lost in the First Extrasolar War by force. Ώ] ΐ]

Human Rights [ edit | edit source ]

Helghan brutality is widely accepted in their society. They do not hesitate to execute those who are not born up to standards or who sympathize with humanity. During the Second Extrasolar War, Helghan atrocities were quite prevalent against Vektan prisoners of war and civilians. In Killzone 3, Stahl Arms mercenaries are seen executing surrendering ISA troops on the spot, or even shooting them when their backs are turned. Prisoners of the Helghast are often tortured to death or even used as unwilling test subjects for a number of agonizingly fatal experiments. Live public executions are also practiced.

Militarism [ edit | edit source ]

The military is above all the most prized element of the Helghan Empire. The vast majority of the Helghan Nation's resources are spent on the military and Visari's propaganda-related structures in Pyrrhus, leaving very little for the average Helghast civilian's well-being. Also, many high ranking officials in the Helghast military hold very little compassion for their own soldiers or even Helghast civilians in general, let alone any shown to the people of Vekta and anywhere else in the galaxy. The Helghast military's extensive damage inflicted towards Vekta, and the detonation of a nuclear weapon in their own capital of Pyrrhus shows their deep hatred for human life and complete disregard for collateral damage, only having a total commitment to their objectives no matter the cost. Α]

Alphabet [ edit | edit source ]

The Helghast use their own form of a symbol alphabet, similar to Eastern Asian written languages. Visari implemented this system claiming it was an attempt to control speech by restricting the use of 'outmoded' Earth alphabets. This is actually a form of newspeak, designed to dissuade alternative thinking, as there is no symbol for 'surrender'.