The United Bases Of America And The Paradox Of Imperialism

Tyler Durden's picture

The United States is estimated to have anything from 700 military bases around the world to more than 1000. Hans-Hermann Hoppe asks "how can democracy be a stable equilibrium if it is possible that it be transformed democratically into a dictatorship, i.e., a system which is considered not stable?" Concluding it may be better to heed the advice of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn and, instead of aiming to make the world safe for democracy, we try making it safe from democracy - everywhere, but most importantly in the United States.



Excerpted from Hans-Hermann Hoppe via the Ludwig von Mises Institute,

The Paradox Of Imperialism

"Democracy has nothing to do with freedom. Democracy is a soft variant of communism, and rarely in the history of ideas has it been taken for anything else."



On theoretical grounds: How can democracy be a stable equilibrium if it is possible that it be transformed democratically into a dictatorship, i.e., a system which is considered not stable? Answer: that makes no sense!

Moreover, empirically democracies are anything but stable. As indicated, in multi-cultural societies democracy regularly leads to the discrimination, oppression, or even expulsion and extermination of minorities — hardly a peaceful equilibrium. And in ethnically homogeneous societies, democracy regularly leads to class warfare, which leads to economic crisis, which leads to dictatorship. Think, for example, of post-Czarist Russia, post-World War I Italy, Weimar Germany, Spain, Portugal, and in more recent times Greece, Turkey, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, and Pakistan.

Not only is this close correlation between democracy and dictatorship troublesome for democratic-peace theorists; worse, they must come to grips with the fact that the dictatorships emerging from crises of democracy are by no means always worse, from a classical liberal or libertarian view, than what would have resulted otherwise. Cases can be easily cited where dictatorships were preferable and an improvement. Think of Italy and Mussolini or Spain and Franco. In addition, how is one to square the starry-eyed advocacy of democracy with the fact that dictators, quite unlike kings who owe their rank to an accident of birth, are often favorites of the masses and in this sense highly democratic? Just think of Lenin or Stalin, who were certainly more democratic than Czar Nicholas II; or think of Hitler, who was definitely more democratic and a "man of the people" than Kaiser Wilhelm II or Kaiser Franz Joseph.

According to democratic-peace theorists, then, it would seem that we are supposed to war against foreign dictators, whether kings or demagogues, in order to install democracies, which then turn into (modern) dictatorships, until finally, one supposes, the United States itself has turned into a dictatorship, owing to the growth of internal state power which results from the endless "emergencies" engendered by foreign wars.

Better, I dare say, to heed the advice of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn and, instead of aiming to make the world safe for democracy, we try making it safe from democracy — everywhere, but most importantly in the United States.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Cult of PersonALity's picture

All your base are belong to us


In AD 2013

War was begining

LetThemEatRand's picture

This article conflates democracy with imperialism.  While clearly the United States has become an imperialist power, that has nothing whatsoever to do with democracy (or being a Constitutional Republic, for the boneheads that want to debate democracy versus being a Republic).  The problem is that a few thousand people own most of the wealth of the world, and they are using the U.S. military to keep it.

Fuku Ben's picture

Using is probably not the right term. There is plenty of willful or ignorant complicity in what's being done. Especially at the top or it wouldn't be the way that it is. So they are allowing themselves to be used, re-used, abused and amused.

They probably wouldn't like to be called street walkers or hookers. That's too low class for these fine upstanding whores in uniform. Call girls is more their style. Mostly outcall right now. Incall coming soon to an American city near you.

Citxmech's picture

+1 for the Zardoz referance.

F. Bastiat's picture

The inertia of the USG today and the military industrial complex simply continues from WWII. 

Cutting the central government by 50%, across the board, while repealing the 16th and 17th amendments, woud be a good start toward rejuvenating the Republic.

FreeMktFisherMN's picture

democracy=mob rule. Two wolves and a lamb deciding on what's for lunch.

It is others deciding what is best for me, instead of voluntaryism where they persuade and if I agree I will do the action/buy whatever it may be of my own accord.

FreeMktFisherMN's picture

The spectrum is not this false L/R one; it is from where I want to be, laissez faire, to the other side, statism. 

Democracy is buying up the right to use force against someone else. These voters use a third party surrogate to do the theft (taxation or inflation), government, and it is no more noble than outright robbing a person.



LetThemEatRand's picture

So we have a Constitutional Republic that resulted in the imperialistic shit described by this article.  Is your point that a pure Democracy would be better?

FreeMktFisherMN's picture

I'm an anarcho-capitalist. I am my own agent. 

Sadly people fall for the siren songs of 'security' and give up liberty. 

LetThemEatRand's picture

So the guys who corrupted our Republic should be given the keys in your anarcho-capitalist fairy land.  Sounds great.

FreeMktFisherMN's picture

in voluntaryism there are no 'keys'. There is no government. People would arrange voluntary contracts and private owners would establish rules for using their property.

LetThemEatRand's picture

You should jump on Oprah's couch.  And smile, knowingly.   Think.

Harbanger's picture

I will burn an effigy in memory of you and Oprah. :)

Terminus C's picture

Yes, when people talk about anarcho capitalism etc. they always leave out the most important factor in their calculations... force.

tickhound's picture

So wouldn't enforcement of said "contracts" be left to the biggest bully?  And they set the rules?  Sounds a bit like, now.  Almost feudal.  Regardless, one volunteers for the choices they are given.  Private owners may need gun turrets or divine right or something. 


Harbanger's picture

Divine something or other.  Where've you been tick?

prains's picture

in voluntaryism there are no 'keys'. There is no government. People would arrange voluntary contracts and private owners would establish rules for using their property.


so what do you do with all the monopolies and oligarchs that just tilt the game only in their favor and your misery? remember this is not a meritocracy you are a part of.

so no merit based answer please

prains's picture

3 junks yet no CREDIBLE answer to an honest question, Liberty is a theory, nothing more. Humanity and all its shitty little nuances are not theory

Bearwagon's picture

I didn't junk you, and I don't want to pick on you, but maybe the concept of "Anarchism" is of interest in this regard ( not to be confused with "Anomie", as most often is the case ).





prains's picture

my point has less to do with societal deconstruction but the masquerade of Liberty as an idea when taken off the page of theory it is nothing more than a disguise behind which Oligarchy operates. Liberty is the disguise from which oligarchy best hides itself and operates to dominate and control. The last 100 years of American political and economic development is all the exactly what the idea of "liberty" has produced because oligarchy can use the theory of it to practice what we are living in right now.

it's all right here;

Lebensphilosoph's picture

Until they arrange a government under voluntary contract, and then proceed to exert their power over thos ewho didn't volunteer to gain more of it, as is the nature of so many humans and their insatiable will to power. You, like all Libertarians, are living in a rationalist la la land.

FreedomGuy's picture

I come from the libertarian angle. A Constitutional Repbulic was the best we could produce but we have found guys in black robes who reimagine, reinterpret and redefine the Constititution so that in essence it means nothing and is therefore no more than a speed bump to greater centralized power.

If we had a "do-over" I woiuld write laws with two sections, the letter of the law as we have it now and another section the intent or meaning. Everything would have to be judged against both parts.

I think the founders were essentially prescient when they noted that liberty tends to yield to authority over time. It is the great lie of history that governments of any sort will work for our good.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

We used to have a Republic. It lasted about 80 years or so. It ended a long, long time ago.

Totentänzerlied's picture

"This article conflates democracy with imperialism"

American democracy did that for itself, in case you've missed the last 200 years of its history - the author merely pointed it out. Sorry to be the one to tell you; letting go of the 'democracy = good' conditioned response isn't easy.

Apart from being the political system most conducive to tyranny (due to its implicit legitimation of politics, political outcomes, and the state on a large or universal scale), it is inherently incompatible with the promotion of individual liberties, contrarily, it serves to legitimize and promote the abuse of individuals by other individuals - by extending to ever more people the (promise, at least, of the) use of state power, as a proxy, to accomplish self-serving ends.

Harbanger's picture

Democracy = mob rule => totalitarian govt.

Anusocracy's picture

Bait and switch works really well in politics.

max2205's picture

Just who will fuck with us?

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Just who will fuck with us?

Same as always: the US government.

lakecity55's picture

They left off the secret nazi base under antarctica.

JamesBond's picture

it was moved to the moon a long time ago

phalfa5's picture

newest one Mars  ROFL

lolmao500's picture

But but but! If good people vote, only good people can be elected right??? And if by any miracle there's bad guys that are elected... the just-us system will take care of them right???


Unpopular Truth's picture

lolmao - right on! I will know when good guys get elected when they make bitcoin the formal currency

Thinking Bulldog's picture

Like the Roman Empire, the American Empire was originally constructed to protect the American people and the American way of life. Now it is transforming into an empire that exists to protect the Ruling Class and their income streams. Sorry, there's no turning back, and we know how the story ends. We are on our own.

scaleindependent's picture

What did happen, or who was the real ruler in Christendom during the Dark Ages ?

Terminus C's picture


and, for the most part, the "dark ages" were not nearly as dark as the official, simplified, historical narrative suggests.  Anyway, we are at/coming to the end of the anglo/american imperial era (250 years or so) and it is hard to say what will come out of it.

JOYFUL's picture

Excellent observation...

long after the "roman" popes had become subverted puppets of the Florentian\Venetian banking houses... and the Medicis had funded the spread of Hermetic Cabbalism into and beyond the Vatican... a variant form of the religion stayed afloat along the shores of the Bosphorus, the Aegean, and the Black Sea... although history has described it as "eastern orthodox" christianity, in essence it was a melding of various strains of eastern religious practices, all of which coalesed in the veneration of saints and holy men.

Exactly as original Islam had contained a strong basis of reverence for individual teachers, prophets and iconoclastic figures whose poetry, words, and scriptural interpretations strayed far from either orthodoxy or allegiance to the secular state, the holy men of Byzantinian(later Greek and Slave variations)xhristianity were mystics and individualists... not interested in building vast empires like the western sects like Benedictines, Franciscans, and later the infamous Jesuits...

When the western freemason inspired 'Wahabi" fundamentals were created to sow division and discord amongst Muslims, xactly like the Protestant\Catholic divide in christendom...the first thing they did was ridicule, and later ban the of the mystical holy men of Islam... who had been iconoclastic thorns in the side of rulers and religious hierarchies... and champions of the common people.

We are drinking from that bitter cup now... as the same usual suspects trying to pit east and west against each other conspire to degrade both Islam and Xhristianity into millenialist fanatical cults without any spiritual sustenance...

we can only hope that what comes out of our common refusal to get sucked into these strategies of terror and hegemony will be a reawakening of our common heritage as evinced by sites like the Santa Sofia... and the end to factionalist religious divisions based upon corrupted interpretations of the original spiritual impulses behind them. Istanbul is a city... Constantinople was a civilization... Viva el Byzantium Nuevo!

lolmao500's picture

Democracy is crap. What you need is a constitutional republic... with a good constitution. And then good, non-corrupt judges who will follow the constitution per the letter...

Dr. Engali's picture

We have a good constitution. It's an amazing work, unfortunately 95% of the sheeple don't know what it is or how it's designed to protect them. Throw in 200 years of corrupt judges, lawyers, and politicians and its easy to see how they gutted the thing.

LetThemEatRand's picture

And let's not forget the corrupters.  They have a small role in the corruption of the Republic.

rubiconsolutions's picture

A good constitution? I don't think so. A simple word count will show that 95% of the damned thing is parliamentary language and articulating government power. The other 5% is reserved for the rights of the individual and those are littered with all kinds of equivocations. On the value of the constitution I'm in agreement with Lysander Spooner - “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”

Dr. Engali's picture

That's ridiculous. Of course the majority of it articulates government power. The constitution lays out how our government is to operate. The bill of rights draws a line in the sand of areas government cannot cross. If there is a change that needs to be made then the constitution has a format in which to change it.

As far as Spooner's dumb ass comment it's not the constitution that allowed our current government , it's the stupidity of people and the corruption of men. No document can stand forever against stupidity.

Shit if they tried to write a constitution today, what took the founding fathers 6 pages would take 6,000 pages. Tacitus said it best; the more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. We certainly are living at the height of corruption.

Sean7k's picture

Spooner's treatise on the Constitution is classic and hardly a "dumb ass comment". 

The Constitution was written by merchantilists for the benefit of a ruling class. This is why they wanted Washington to be King. It was also a coup 'tat over the Articles of Confederation(which included the same format for change). Their greatest concern was the effects of popular passion. This is the reason sufferage was so slow in being allowed. 

The jewel in the Constitution is the first ten amendments (Bill of Rights). Unfortunately, they have been eviscerated through additional amendments. It is obvious that a line in the sand was not drawn at all. However, they still provide a better source of protection from tyranny than any other governmental promises.

Law is a great source of the problem, especially talmudic influence and persuasion through law. Corruption is normal, you need to see the driver of the corruption and gauge it's menace. 

machineh's picture

'We have a good constitution.'

The constitution was a coup d'etat against the Articles of Confederation. It gave birth to the hateful federal leviathan.

Fuck you, James Madison.

Anusocracy's picture

How about a strictly defined mutual defense treaty between the states and no federal government.

Citxmech's picture

-->  Standing Army?


-->  Citizen militia?