When did Empire become the "E" Word?

Jan 2016
5
Atlanta, GA
#22
Interesting thread! I went to Andalucía for summer vacation last year, and in Granada I saw some graffiti that said “Abajo el imperio español” or “Down with the Spanish Empire.” Not sure if that sentiment is unique to Southern Spain, though...
 
Sep 2015
1,602
England
#24
If you are talking about recent history in Western society, it is because in Western culture during the cold war the word "Empire" was associated with the USSR, and it is derived from the Russian Empire. As a trope for evil enemy nations, early instances occur in the 1960s with Star Trek's Klingon Empire and Dr. Who's Dalek Empire. Essentially, it is the democracy/freedom vs. Imperial authoritarian tyranny - the same narrative pushed in the cold war for the West.

The term was more than likely vilified in the US as early as the time of the American War of Independence, so it wasn't exactly a stretch to start assigning the term "Empire" as a label of an evil nation during cold war media.



Initially applied to the 17th century Commonwealth, the Republic established by Oliver Cromwell until the Restoration.
Exactly, there's a not insignificant area in American culture, that is anti-empire essentially, in contrast to Britain, via kings, and of course the actual American revolution or war of independence and independence from the British empire such as it was at that time, etc. After WWII (and probably before) they became the new generation, the new world consensus.

As a means of re-newing the attack (revolution) on western culture and the free world: 'Marxist scholars see imperialism as a relationship involving economic exploitation, with economic benefits flowing from subject to ruler', and thus America can fall into this form of, or version of imperialism (discounting the Philippines and the land mass of north America itself, and later bits of latin America), and probably not China, for obvious reasons: they are a one party state with associations with communism, and now dictatorial totalitarian rule, rather than just totalitarian one party rule (albeit with a benign(?) Deng direction).
 
Oct 2014
77
Osaka
#25
Yes, those pesky evil empires, in total contrast to the upstanding morality of the massive ethnic and religious violence and persecution that followed in the wake of the collapse of the German, Austrian, Russia, Ottoman and British (Indian) empires.
Those empires all collapsed in wars. The Japanese empire is another example. I'm not expert on the European countries but wasn't that mainly caused by nationalism?

I doubt that any one objectively speaking would like to see their country turned into part of a foreign empire.

But hey, it's great if you're the ruling group in an empire... let's civilise those savages! :winktongue:
 
Mar 2016
563
Australia
#26
Those empires all collapsed in wars. The Japanese empire is another example. I'm not expert on the European countries but wasn't that mainly caused by nationalism?

I doubt that any one objectively speaking would like to see their country turned into part of a foreign empire.

But hey, it's great if you're the ruling group in an empire... let's civilise those savages! :winktongue:
You pretty much ignored my point and tried to strawman me at the end there. You aren't taking a very nuanced view on this topic.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,029
Spain
#27
Interesting thread! I went to Andalucía for summer vacation last year, and in Granada I saw some graffiti that said “Abajo el imperio español” or “Down with the Spanish Empire.” Not sure if that sentiment is unique to Southern Spain, though...
Not with Southern Spain.. but with the REDS... the Communist and that kind of fauna.... as you can see in Polls... always a minority.
 
Oct 2014
77
Osaka
#28
You pretty much ignored my point and tried to strawman me at the end there. You aren't taking a very nuanced view on this topic.
OK sorry, I had another look. Yes, it's a fair point that the fall of all of those empires was disastrous. I'm not a fan of the "empire" as a concept, in the sense that it's usually based on exploitation. I don't know where that leaves us. What would you like to say about empires?

Presumably a statement roughly along the lines of "Of course empires were bad, but they did offer a period of stability and relative peace while they existed. Their demise resulted from nationalistic fervour which in some cases made the aftermath worse than the empire itself. On balance I'm glad we don't live in an empire, but equally they're not totally evil either and in some cases are preferable to failed states".

Would that be more or less fair?

*A side note that comes to mind here is also the balance between what we'd ideally like (concepts such as national self determination, independent policy, etc) and the messy reality (e.g. that ethnic nationalism was pretty terrible for 20th century Europe and other regions too).
 
Mar 2016
563
Australia
#29
OK sorry, I had another look. Yes, it's a fair point that the fall of all of those empires was disastrous. I'm not a fan of the "empire" as a concept, in the sense that it's usually based on exploitation. I don't know where that leaves us. What would you like to say about empires?

Presumably a statement roughly along the lines of "Of course empires were bad, but they did offer a period of stability and relative peace while they existed. Their demise resulted from nationalistic fervour which in some cases made the aftermath worse than the empire itself. On balance I'm glad we don't live in an empire, but equally they're not totally evil either and in some cases are preferable to failed states".

Would that be more or less fair?

*A side note that comes to mind here is also the balance between what we'd ideally like (concepts such as national self determination, independent policy, etc) and the messy reality (e.g. that ethnic nationalism was pretty terrible for 20th century Europe and other regions too).
If it came down to a choice between being part of an empire that economically 'exploited' my country, or being in a 'free' and independent nation-state that decided to ruthlessly persecute people of a certain religious or ethnic variety because of long-held local prejudices, I know what I'd choose. For every display of successful nationalism and freedom like the United States, there are countless other examples of nationalists embarking on campaigns of persecution in the wake of the collapse of empires - the Germans persecuted the Jews, the slavs in the Balkans persecuted each other, the Russians persecuted the Ukrainians, the Turks persecuted the Armenians, the Indians persecuted the Muslims, and all of these are just in the first half of the 20th century. When the disinterested and distant imperial rulers - whose concerns are purely economic - depart, it makes room for long-held and deeply rooted animosities and hostilities that only exist among people that live with each other. At least in the 20th century, I believe that a lack of political representation or certain economic exploitation was a lesser evil to the ethnic and religious persecutions that occurred after the fall of these empires. Anyway, most people dramatically overestimate how important and valuable their own votes are in 'democracies'.
 
Oct 2014
77
Osaka
#30
people dramatically overestimate how important and valuable their own votes are in 'democracies'.
Maybe. I don't know. Japanese society is a bit less individualistic than the west. Same to some other Asian countries. People's mentality is just different. Atomized individuals can't change anything. Although some young people spend way too much time online and don't care to vote. Which is the problem of another kind imo.
 

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