plumeria the worst '-ism'

Our world of human conception, and behavior, is filled with a lot of ‘isms.’ Racism is one of the more incendiary isms. Use of the ‘ism’ is a grammatical trick that turns a noun into a verb. For example, the term race, in the context of ethnicity, is a noun. But, when ‘ism’ is applied, racism becomes the practice or teaching, the ‘world view,’ of a race, or a nation, or a community, or a family, in contrast to other races, nations, communities and families. Race is a static neutral thing while racism is an active comparative process.

There are literally hundreds of ‘isms.’ Consider the following short list of samples: atheism, secularism, capitalism, socialism, humanitarianism, totalitarianism, determinism, spiritualism, romanticism, monasticism, absenteeism, journalism, mechanism, magnetism and modernism, to name a very few. One of the worst ‘-ism’ words and one which informs human behavior in general is ‘imperialism.’ The word ‘imperialism’ is defined as ‘the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence’ (Mirriam-Webster). And, ‘a state policy, practice, or advocacy of extending power and dominion, especially by direct territorial acquisition or by gaining political and economic control of other areas.’ ( Imperialism ‘has been common throughout recorded history.'(Wikipedia)

This extension or imposition of power, authority or influence is generally in the context of nations and land acquisition, but it can just as easily and perhaps more substantially be applied to every single person in relation to others, whether that ‘other’ is a single person or groups of people, large or small. A nation is a notion in the mind of the populace. A nation is built from the ground up, not top down. A large collection of people create a nation; a nation does not create a collection of people, although it can appear so in much the same way people create machines, which then become regulators of daily life. We become subordinate to the dominance of machines we ourselves have created.

The theme inherent in imperialism is domination. There are many ways in which one person or sets of persons, such as a gang, or a nation, dominate others. There are even religious scriptural passages that suggest and even encourage this notion of domination, and dominion.’The founders of the United States of North America (USNA) were astutely aware that every single citizen was potentially susceptible to strive towads domination and superiority. If domination is as old as recorded human history, it would be a rare person who is not influenced by the drive to be dominant, which requires the foil of a subordinate. The USNA Constitution is framed with words emphasizing the importance of limiting domination, within itself. And, yet, slavery, a pervasive practice of domination, was not initially prohibited in the USNA and, in fact, it took an internal war to make it so. The domination of the first peoples of the land by ‘settlers’ was an imperialistic domination. Such domination today would be considered a violation, and is in some ways prohibited.

But, as is well known, prohibition does not prevent, it only punishes. Imperialism as a national policy is generally condemned. Domination as a personal policy, though also condemned, is widely practiced, in the forms of racism, sexism, ageism, egoism, fanatacism, and capitalism. Too many households throughout the USNA exhibit symptoms of imperialistic rule by a dominant authoritarian. Reactions by those subordinated against their will does include rebellion and is not unhealthy. A nation, or persons, which value the notion of domination will invariably institute forms of slavery in which there is a dominate, and a subordinate. Economics, a term which translates from the Latin as ‘home management’ and is of the same root as the word ecology, can be an arena in which the the imperialistic model leads to efforts at ‘market domination.’ Imperialistic capitalism tends to give way to a dominant-subordinate dynamic which becomes it’s own form of racism, called ‘classism’ in which one class dominates another. Classism is defined as ‘a biased or discriminatory attitude based on distinctions made between social or economic classes.’ Classism actually predates racism and it could be said that racism is a byproduct and subset of classism. And classism is a byproduct and subset of Imperialism.

Social and psychelogical imperialism plays out in many ways throughout households and cities across the USNA. Some everyday examples of psychelogical imperialism in everyday life is an annual reported murder rate of 16,000 and an annual reported rape rate of 135,000. A parent spanking a child, or a spouse abusing their partner are other all too common exhibitions of domination. Many social ills can be attributed to the employment of an imperialistic mindset, one in which there must be a subordinate, to dominate. Many marital conflicts, arguments and ‘fights’ can be boiled down to one or the other, or both, wanting to be dominant. What makes the subordinate position unacceptable is the lack of consent by the subordinate.

The antidote to imperialism, and the best ‘ism,’ is egalitarianism. Egalitarianism is defined as ‘a doctrine of human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs.’ Egalitarianism does not necessarily do away with domination, it just requires ‘consent of the governed.’ For example, egalitarianism does not prohibit such sports as football or boxing, as long as there is mutual consent between participating parties. The popularity of such sports speaks to the inherent drive towards the struggle for domination, if even lived vicariously. Children, and adolescents, at play or work, will often demonstrate tendencies towards imperialism and domination. Egalitarianism, and cooperation, is not the default state. It is learned, and practiced.

Governance without consent is domination. Domination without consent is rape. Domination without consent is slavery. As expressed in Article 21 of the United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ‘The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.‘ Or, on a more personal level, the will of one person shall not be imposed upon another without consent.

For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed

is the very definition of slavery.”

– Jonathan Swift

Related Posts

Equalities and False Equivalancies

Print Friendly, PDF & Email