IMPERIALISM: the subjugation and exploitation of a domain by an aggressive ideology

The subjugation imposed by an imperialist invasion is not only a military phenomenon. The etymological origin of the word 'imperialism' is that of 'giving a command' and thus is essentially a human social behaviour. Disobeying a command usually invokes reference to a set of rules, which in turn will have the flavour of the ideological climate in which they have been created. The upshot of all this is that 'imperialism' can sensibly apply to any situation where an ideology and its supporting administration system is imposed by humans upon a domain of any type. It is a human group behaviour that is motivated by an aggressive and invasive ideology of self-promotion.

There are various domains of human endeavour where imperialism can manifests itself. Firstly, there is the military domain where one society imposes its religious and political ideologies upon another by force of arms. All the historically recorded human empires were imperialist in this sense. On the global political stage imperialism is the invasion, import and promotion of an authority regime, its culture, its religious ideals and its economic policy of exploitation. With sufficient power available the intruding group crushes any resistance and then exploits the region by whatever instruments it has at its disposal. Secondly, there is the financial domain where without the presence of an active military it is still possible to subject a population to economic imperialism. The sheer size of the economy of one population can entirely dominate the economy of another, so that all the rules and penalties and operational procedures of the larger are in fact imposed upon the smaller. Thirdly, there is the ecological domain, where although we gardeners probably like to think of ourselves as eco-friendly and in tune with the moods of nature, never-the-less our activities are usually a determined form of imperialism. The original inhabitants of a plot of ground are deemed to be weeds, are forcibly removed, and an ecosystem of fruit, vegetables, decorative plants and flowers introduced that conform to the objectives of an ideological perspective. In any situation, the imposition of a set of rules and consequences upon a selected domain can be seen as a form of imperialistic behaviour.

All imperialist subjugations... as phases in the tensions between authoritarianism and democracy... go thru similar life-cycles. The residues of archaeology and recorded history indicate a continuous sequence of imperialist states. Eventually, because the self-serving structure of an imperialist hierarchy usually does not engender much widespread empathy with indigenous groups... and is frequently under extreme political tension internally... opposing groups of diverse motivations may get the opportunity to coalesce and form a network of resistance. The hazardous objectives of such groups is the devising of a strategy to expand their sphere of influence and allegiance without providing an opportunity for the authorities of the society to infiltrate their organization and neutralize their aspirations before they become a threat. If circumstances conspire to allow the revolutionary elements an advantage, then the disintegration of the imperialist situation will 'evolve' into an new dictatorship or a more democratic social organization.

If for some reason an invasive ideology abandons a region... maybe because there was not enough water... then the region will simply revert back to its 'natural' indigenous situation, with perhaps one or two surviving reminders of the imperialistic phase. Thus the gardeners of an imperialist regime abandon trying to impose commercial fruit growing on a semi-arid environment... because the cost of irrigation was prohibitive... and as a consequence the regime itself abandons the area, because fruit growing was the point of the invasion in the first place. Everything will then revert to an equilibrium that is similar to what was there before the invasion, except there will probably be an introduced fruit tree or two that will survive... because there actually were a couple of suitable places... or perhaps because someone made a point of watering them to ensure their survival.

When an incumbent imperialism is overcome by another more powerful conquering one... or by an internal revolutionary idealism... then the replacement ideology will set about purging the evidence of the old until its presence is deemed to be irrelevant and of no real threat. The temptation for a 'new' imperialist regime to conduct a relentless purge of the former is usually irresistible. If these cycles of social turmoil are indeed part of the evolutionary process whereby democracy seeks to find expression, then its not very amusing.