Part one. There exists in any secret service worth the mention this dedicated department which translates the goings on in other places for the use of the local decision makers. So, Korean nut states for the record that "the cat is out of the bag nao" ? Well what does it actually mean, past what it says ? And what does it even say, in the first place ? Perhaps some Korean generals are thereby put on notice that the coffee they make is too bland. Perhaps some dancer girl is being wooed in the process. Perhaps it's a pledge to exchange fifty billion in teenage underwear forcibly collected throughout the nation's schools for fifty million worth of AK-47 rounds.
Part two. The difference between a science and a faith is the ability of the science to make predictions as to the future. More intellectually advanced faiths are aware of this fundamental difference and try their damnest to blur it, which is why prophecies are such an important tool in the faithster'si bag of tricks. Making good use of the difference between science and business discussed here recently a particularly competent (or particularly lucky) faithster might just as well convince a large group of people that "faith works", "Jesus heals" or what have you.
Part three. The difference between Republic and Empire is nowhere more evident than in the field of battle. A complete rout of the opponent and absolute victory is the largest positive outcome available to the Republic, and such an event strengthens both the group as such as well as the interpersonal relations of the various members among each other. A complete and resounding defeat is just as likely to strengthen the Republican cause as it is to shatter it, as numerous examples throughout history illustrate. A marginal defeat is in fact the most pernicious outcome for the Republicans, as it wears out their substance ; a long enough string of such marginal defeats is the only practical way to subvert a Republic through conflict.
The Empire on the other hand is happiest in marginal defeat. This is the ideal outcome, as it allows the Emperor a golden opportunity to rid himself of the more pesky alternative power centers, at a steep discount over what the same would have cost in peace time. An understanding of this principle is the deep reason for the state of perpetual war as displayed in the 1984 novel, but otherwise the observation is well borne by history : you can not defeat an Empire by inflicting on it a succession of small losses. If anything, you'll end up making it stronger.
Conversely, complete victory and a crushing of the enemy is very dangerous for the empireii, and the archetype of this sad reality is the collapse of the Kamakura shogunate post Genko. That moment is a caricatural rendition of the concept : a very large, scary, militarily superior enemy arrayed against an empire being then magically sunk en route. It doesn't get more extreme than that.
Nobody on the victorious side is willing or even mentally capable to say "we only 'won', if you can call it that, because the wind sunk them, we have no merit in all of this". Quite on the contrary, carried on the twin wings of warlike elation consequent to a sudden resolution of repressed fear and overcompensation as a result of the knowledge of personal irrelevance the victorious will expect to be rewarded, and what's more, be rewarded in proportion to the enormity of their victory as subjectively represented.
This is obviously not possible, as the wind didn't also conveniently create an alternate Japan wherein the shogun can give out fiefdoms to every single yari and yaoi that lined up on the shore.iii In short, while the beligerents did march through their own personal hell, the thing that saved them didn't also enact their own personal paradise in one fell swoop, and coming to terms with this reality will require force, and a lot of it. Certainly more than what the Emperor has at his disposal. And so the end of Empire comes through victory.
Part four. The recent resolution to the US budget dispute has resulted in the complete gutting of the US Congress, and the factual and pointed abandonment of the last shreds of Constitutional legitimacy : the Congress has abandoned the power of the purseiv.
The amusing posturing of some muppet or other about how "he hopes Congress has learned" aside, the Tea Party has certainly delivered a deathly blow to the Welfare State through their escalation technique, shaving a good five if not outright twenty years off its remaining life by simply having forced this result today. Because you see, the newly crowned Emperor of the United States has a very serious problem on his hands : he's won.
He's won, and all the people that made him win will want to be paid. This isn't something that may be resolved by a Louisiana purchase or Nebraska deal (if you can call it that). While throwing two billion in a dam here and there is definitely going to happen, you have to correctly appreciate the scope of the "victory" here (if you can call it that) : this is the biggest one thing any US president could have conquered. The purse, it's the holy grail, compared to it Lincoln's mockery of Habeas Corpusv is a trite bauble. So now, logically, the President has gained the power to make every libertard's dream reality, and all the libertards that pushed him through and made him will want their particular notion of Heaven implemented forthwith.
Obviously this can never be, not only because libertards are retarded and as such can't come up with anything that's worth doing or would even work once done. Even if sane, intelligent, cultivated people had this sort of expectation it still could never be resolved. Things just don't work that way.
Part five. These problems are in no way novel, or in any way avoidable. They've been with us since the earliest societies, they go along like shadow follows the cat. There are exactly three types of solutions available, and historical record distributes itself among them.
The first solution is sharing the magical power thus acquired. In this scenario, the President delegates the power to create fiat out of nothing to maybe a dozen barons, who then proceed to engage in a deathly stare game of "nobody prints a lot because if they do the others also will and so the whole currency collapses". This situation is not stable, in that the barons wish to extract as much value as possible while maintaining the appearance of ironclad stability, which leads to exsangvination of the entire construction, a few years after the president has been reduced to a purely figurehead role. Should this solution come to pass it wouldn't be possible to mistake it for anything else.
The second solution is the arab invention of the Caftan, as a gift from the Calif. In this paradigm privileged positions are created, and so should you in the future see this peculiar hat be introduced, that allows the wearer immunity to taxation, the ability to dismiss legal proceedings and the right to not be stopped by traffic cops you can't possibly mistake it for anything else.
The third solution is also the oldest, but since you don't remember Byzantium as well as you remember Stalin we'll go with that. Should we in the (very near) future see a major "child pornography"vi ring busted, with the result of having half the population of
Leningrad Washington DC hauled off to jail (preferably somewhere in Alaska) we can't possibly mistake it for anything else.
That's pretty much it, those are the ways it can go down. There could be, I suppose, the fourth solution, which consists of the newly acclaimed Emperor doing exactly nothing and being shredded by the silver fanged beast in the very street. This also happened now and again, when particularly dense Emperors ended up in the purple. It seems improbable to me, on the grounds that much like sexual intercourse, stumbling on one of the three solutions requires no actual understanding of anything, it's just a naturally emerging phenomena. Nevertheless, it's mentioned just in case.
And that'd be it. I guess time will show.———
- A fraudster, really. [↩]
- In general innocent historians represent the tendency of Roman Emperors in the late Empire towards beheading their successful generals as some sort of human failure on their part. Nothing could be further than the truth : there's simply nothing more dangerous to Empire than victory at war. [↩]
- In a sufficiently bloody victory this may be possible, simply reallocating the property of the dead among the survivors, but what if there aren't that many dead at all ? [↩]
- As part of the "deal", if you can call it that, debt ceilings will be lifted automatically and if Congress doesn't like it they can hold a vote on the matter. Which the President can veto, of course. [↩]
- Still alive and well through Bush, and Obama, and indefinitely - bad ideas never die in a state just like cancer doesn't die in a body, once there it will be there until the last day. [↩]
- It does seem this most heinous crime has been long constructed for just such a purpose, doesn't it ? [↩]