Between the Lines

A Bubbling Crude

We have crossed the boundary that lies between Republic and Empire.  If you ask when, the answer is that you cannot make a single stroke between day and night; the precise moment does not matter.  There was no painted sign to say: “You are now entering Imperium.”  Yet it was a very old road and the voice of history was saying: “Whether you know it or not, the act of crossing may be irreversible.”  And now, not far ahead, is a sign that reads: “No U-turns.”

Thus began Garet Garrett’s prescient polemic “Rise of Empire,” written in 1952.  I turn to Garrett when I’m in an elegiac mood, and surely these days my moods rival his in their darkness.  He annoyed his fellow libertarian, the novelist and ideologue Rose Wilder Lane, to no end with what she called his “keening” note of pessimism, which mourned “a world forever lost.”  When I was younger I sided with the ebullient Miss Lane, whose vision of a rising World Revolution (her caps) in favor of individual liberty stirred my hopeful heart.  Alas, it’s not just my lowered level of testosterone that has me defecting to Garrett’s more worldly, albeit less inspiring, view.

The idea that the United States is any kind of a republic, even loosely defined—never mind a constitutional republic—is at this point laughable. ...

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