The Fall of the American Empire
(Cascadian National University, Lecture Hall. Full House)
Schadenfreude is a word that we borrow from the Germans. It's a delight in the suffering of others, and an ability to find joy in the deserved pain of the guilty. The fall of the American Empire is indeed a story rife with it, and it all starts with the Empire at its height.
In the first half of the 20th Century, many of the great European Empires had run up against the same problem that America ran into in its waning years. How to extract more resources from an already depleted world? Many of them had begun using the corporation as a tool, as a result, the creatures were crying for their profit. It was assumed that the continued profits to be made from the sales of weapons of war would go on indefinitely. War had almost always been the way for an Empire to continue its life.
The world wars devastated the world, killing millions and destroying even more lives. As the only Empire not to see any devastation, this meant that the American Empire was in a de-facto position to grab as much power as possible. And They acted upon that opportunity with great speed.
The American slaves were weary of the wars, since they were the ones that had to go and fight, and as such the Empire felt the need to pretend that there were no wars going on at all. They claimed that all slaves who fought in the wars were defending the other slaves. This resulted in a mythic reverence for the soldier, who was one of the only slave castes to be given any respect at all by the higher castes. Which I may have mentioned before, but it bears repeating because it ties directly in to how the Empire fell.
So, American Soldiers were assigned to monitor the slaves after the war, both in the new colonies set to check the expansion of American rivals, as well as make a tidy profit for the corporations which had completely taken over the day to day running of life. All authority was in truth ceded to the enforcer class, and even the Senators were subject to their commands. They received more and more resources, and began to believe themselves to be kings. Why should they not, after all, they were treated like kings, and paid like kings, and immune from the law like kings. Even the Cults bowed to them.
Americans had worked very hard over the generations to create a seamless, integrated society. This supposed strength ended up a weakness when it was discovered that the vast majority of the soldiers had no particular regional loyalty. The threat of soldiers refusing to fight had always been Americas check on self proclaimed kings, and without the loyalty to the state it was only a matter of time before some cult member decided to make a play for the brass ring.
During the reign of Obama the Hope, Seventy-Five of them did. Without repercussions. Their Areas became kingdoms in all but name. The corporate rulers were quite happy to allow the Cults free reign if it resulted in more profit, and as a result the slaves were to turn all of their livelihoods over to the corporation, but only "For the Duration of the Emergency." Later this philosophy was to be wholly adopted into the practices of the "Maggot" cult. While they still officially flew the American symbol, everyone in the area knew who the real power was.
The Empire was obsessed with corporate struggles overseas, mostly involving sedatives for their people, as well as oil to make their war machine profit continue. The slaves did not even enter into the equations. They even went so far as to shut the slaves out of the last public forums which allowed their discontent to see expression, demanding that only corporate entities would determine who was allowed to speak.
The Empire believed it could live without the people. And one by one, the people began to believe and know that they could live without the Empire.
It started small, in clubs and gatherings around the various states. The Empire's secret police and propaganda arms tried hard to shut them down, but it resulted in the groups simply not acknowledging that they were people who lived outside the Empire. Often they would be disguised as groups that the Empire considered useful for propaganda purposes. It became a comedy of sorts, with the Empire threatening dire warnings of doom and destruction by the removal of money, when an entire economy had sprung up that completely sidestepped their control.
Some claimed that technology would save them, and that if they played the magic numbers well enough, that the rewards of the empire would fall upon them. Others retreated to more simple forms of commerce, using old forms of Imperial currency that completely eliminated the Corporate control over the funds. Others completely abandoned the concept of commerce entirely, and retreated to more monastic lifestyles. Whatever their choice, the death knell was sounding for the Empire as more and more Slaves refused to play their part, but in ways that could not be punished according to the rules of the Empire. The only true losers in this were the corporations, who could not survive without constant input.
And so things began to fall apart. The great roads fell into disrepair, and the corporations continued to insist that their profits were up as more and more of their power fell from their hands. They had stopped making any kind of contribution to the host Empire, and instead existed only to siphon from the corpse. Without the vast interactions between cities, each began to take on its own regional loyalties once again. The abysmally small number of slaves that were inducted into the Soldiers began to more and more have loyalty to the areas where they served rather than their homes of record.
Anything that relied upon transportation became scarce and valuable. With that came those who would wish to make a profit, and as a result outright theft between corporations became popular. Of course, It was only a few clicks on a keyboard for a corporation to declare itself outside the bounds of Empire, and beholden as they were the Political caste put up no resistance. Mercenary corporations became more and more profitable, and the idea of selling your services began to catch fire with those of the slaves with ambitions toward corporate immortality.
Mercenary corporations are some of the most profitable, but they are also some of the most short lived. Without deep pockets or larger corporate sponsor, they will wither quickly as their labor follows the basic rules of the machine. Meet my demands, or I stop working.
Without enforcement, many smaller nations broke away from the Empire, slowly at first, but faster as more and more geographical barriers began reasserting themselves. Without the ability to do anything but pay the supposed debts of the Empire, the politicians simply carried on as if nothing has changed. Many American Imperials still believe that they are the masters of the continent, and that their cults hold sway. They even still have a Senator of Oregon, I hear, but the guy hasn't been from Cascadia in at least 200 years.
But I'm certain if you want to hear more about the Empire State you can go see Dr. Tiree in the Diplomacy department, it's right down the hall.