Empire: Let’s Stop and Think

“If one was to stop and think, it might seem unfathomable that people in the United States, living in the most extensive war-culture the world has ever known, have so little consciousness of it.” — Kelly Denton-Borhaug

Take this as an invitation to stop and think.  To think about war-culture and empire, and to grow in consciousness.

I was reading two books at once (off and on) when I came upon the above sentence by Denton-Borhaug.  And it did seem unfathomable to me…in fact it had been seeming unfathomable to me for some time, thought maybe I had not described it as unfathomable.  But I was deeply troubled by this blissful ignorance of our culture—a war-culture— and our empire.  

Yet I keep finding other people, a few of them, who are troubled by the same thing.  Just this morning I read this terse description of the problem by Caitlin Johnstone:

“There’s more public criticism of ordinary people taking ivermectin than there is of planet-dominating power structures driving humanity to armageddon.”   Interesting…to stop and think about that. 

Besides Denton-Borhaug’s book AND THEN THEIR SOUL WAS GONE:  MORAL INJURY AND U.S. WAR-CULTURE,  these days I am also reading THE SORROWS OF EMPIRE:  MILITARISM, SECRECY, AND THE END OF THE REPUBLIC by Chalmers Johnson.   Here the key word is “empire.”

Do we think of empire?  Do we think we live in an empire?  How would you describe this country in which we live?  If not an empire, then what?  

Chalmers Johnson published his book in 2004.  He was calling the USA an “empire” in 2004.  Were you?  

Here’s a possibility.   Thinking of the United States of America as an empire might help us understand ourselves as Americans, and our troubled moment in world history.  Let’s stop and think: what if we could understand ourselves better if we recognized not only racism and white supremacy as debilitating moral injuries in our culture, but imperialism and assumptions of American supremacy as also profoundly injurious to our collective health? 

John K. Stoner    9/10/21