Monday, May 12, 2008

Finding Strength in Self Destruction

Dear George,

Hegemony is a gas. It is a process of fossilization in which a once dynamic country, having attained the status of a world power, goes into a defensive crouch and becomes more concerned with its preservation than with the productivity that was responsible for its rise to power and influence.

Where once it produced spirited men who loved the sweat and grime of factories that shook with the roar of machinery stamping and forming, it now produces fragile children of privilege who eschew the filth of the factory for the gentle hum of an air-conditioned office. Computer screens have replaced machinery and the movement of capital means more to them then the sweat of actually making something.

Over time its leadership devolves to a gaggle of feral old men cut off from reality by the rank bubble they occupy, from which they systematically tear down the very virtues that made the hegemon the envy of the world.

This is why no power lasts forever, for in truth the acquisition of power is an exercise in progressive self destruction.

To become a hegemon, a country must become a military power, and the process of militarization requires tremendous inflows of nonproductive capital.

Power produces paranoia. The fastest gun in the West is always paranoid because he knows the country is full of young bucks who would love to knock him off his pedestal. The Swiss have the right idea: be the slowest gun in the West and make a fortune selling pocket knives.

The irony of power is that its preservation weakens, yet the feral old men cling to it because they are convinced that losing it would be a sign of weakness which means that the longer they cling to this power, the weaker they become.

Some say God is a God of love; some say He is an angry God. Personally, I believe He is rolling on the floor laughing over the antics of a dying hegemon.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

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