This is such a terrible essay. I love it, personally. It is a 'reader response' to Albert Beveridge's speech entitled "The March of The Flag," some turn of the century expansionist tripe. Google it if you care.
11 September 2008
Alas, young Albert J. Beveridge, that ye have so quickly forgotten history’s mores and so readily embraced a greedy and self serving policy destined to inevitable failure. Your speech proponing the eventual American conquering of the world under the subversive name of “March of the Flag” is naught more than a propaganda tool for the expansionary members of our nation. Empires are futile creations of greedy men who desire naught but power. So many have come and gone, they may well be blades of grass to the Lord’s reaper. Your vision of the American flag marching across the world is a best facetious and at worst downright tyrannical. This nation was founded upon the ideals of a democracy, a system of government under which every man has a vote in what their government will be. Will you truly deny the world that right and force them to live under American tyranny? The last time I went to congress I saw no Porto Rican senators, I saw no Filipino delegates, I saw no Cuban congressmen. What you advise is nothing more than a wholesale rape of nations, stealing their land not for any sufficient purpose, but simply to extract what value you can and leave the people to rot. What happens to our market when the people have no money? What happens to the market when American workers are fired in exchange for cheap foreign labor? What happens to your market when china discovers that it can do the same as you, only better?
These nations that you encourage America to devour, Porto Rico, the Philippines, and Cuba are in fact some of the poorest places in the world. Though they may be rich with natural materials, the people of these nations have very little personal wealth and would be entirely unable to afford American products, especially after additional costs like shipping are factored in. this is not solely limited to America’s prospects. Despite the natural wealth of India, few Indians have the money to purchase expensive British goods; despite the natural wealth of South China, the population has few members with the ability to afford French goods; despite the cultural wealth of Qingdao, few Chinese residents have the monetary influence necessary to purchase pricy German exports. Inevitably, the people of the “civilized” nations remain rich and influential, while the citizens of the nations they conquer remain in abject squalor.
Let me offer another example, still a fresh wound in the soul of America: slavery. As recent as a hundred years before your birth, huge shiploads of Blacks were transported to America for the sole purpose of providing cheap labor. Unfortunately, we’ve abolished such practices in the U.S. in exchange for a fair wage for services provided. The Porto Ricans, the Filipinos, and the Cubans have no such demands. Any wage at all is a joyous and rare bounty coveted by all in these destitute nations. When employers realize that they can more cheaply produce products in other countries and simply ship them to the United States, they will cease employing good, honest, hard-working Americans and begin employing primitive savages.
China has an amazingly large population, the majority of which is rural. However thanks to the piecemeal sequestering by western powers, China is rapidly industrializing with a workforce greater than any other nation in the world. Chinese trade barons are unscrupulous in their practices, perfectly willing to pay workers the equivalent of twenty cents an hour for brutal work in factories. This allows them to undercut prices in other, more humane nations despite shipping costs. China has effectively captured a worldwide market for its goods, and is rapidly emerging as a global superpower. America cannot contend with this. Were America to invade, to expand it’s territories to include south America and all of Latin America, It would still be outnumbered and outmatched by the industrious Chinese. Simply the act of expanding beyond our borders would likely provoke China into a similar expansion, intended to reclaim the sovereign nations of Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Taiwan, Tibet, and many others. It’s a disastrous policy, one that will lead to the eradication of many cultures.
Why do you feel so forthright as to suggest that America and America alone has the right to rule the world? What odd twinge of the ambition produced such grandiose visions? I posit that you, in fact, are a megalomaniacal madman hell-bent on ruling the entire world. Why, Albert? Why do you feel so? Was it child abuse? A bad relationship? Did you suffer through the death of a favorite pet? Or are you simply insane?