Bill Bonner

What a delight it is to have an empire!

Do the Swiss get to send out drones to kill people they don’t know in countries they’ve never been? No! The poor yodelers go around with long faces and visit their shrinks. Americans have troops in 170 countries. Where are the Swiss? Only in Switzerland and the Vatican. Alas, they will never know the joys of nation building and people murdering.

We hear that Ron Paul was booed in the Republican presidential debates. Why? He suggested that we get out of the empire business, bring the troops home and become a civilized nation again. What a party pooper…a wet blanket…a killjoy!

An empire is so much more entertaining. We already have three wars going on…at last count…and quasi-wars in several other places.

Having an empire is like having a football team that plays for mortal stakes. It’s fun to watch…at least when your team is winning. And now, Team USA is kicking butts all over the planet. That’s why at football games, for example, (or so we’ve heard) images of the football team are sometimes mixed with images of US combat troops. The flag flies. The lumpen salute. They don’t want to think about it; they just want the homeland team to win!

And we have so much to look forward to. At least, we moral historians and ironic economists do. Gone is habeus corpus…forgotten is the presumption of innocence…into the wastebasket has been thrown the spirit of liberty. All that guff is in the past. In their place are hit squads and precision guided assassins. Now, the killer drones are only used abroad. But as the empire matures it is only a matter of time before they are used on more dangerous enemies — those at home! Yes, dear reader, if you can kill US citizens overseas, without any charges filed, let alone proved, you can certainly kill them where they might do the most damage — in the homeland. It is just a matter of time before the drones fly in Los Angeles and Baltimore, so watch out, Ron Paul.

You want to know what lies ahead? Just read the classics…particularly the history of Rome. Empires have roles to play too. They have scripts to follow. They have plots they must respect…and destinies they must fulfill.

For example, in the US, it is probably only a matter of time before a weak president is replaced by a strong emperor. A senate may be able to rule a constitutional democracy, but a real empire needs a real emperor, someone who can make decisions without getting caught in the gridlock of Congress. Besides, the public will love it. Yes, a popular general is sure to cross the Potomac sooner or later…from the Pentagon to the White house. The crowds will cheer. Garlands will be hung. Flowers will be strewn in his path. Finally, someone will bring order to the US…slay its enemies and reward its friends with war booty (military contracts).

And then, of course, there will be civil war. Once a government can be taken by force, rather than the fraud that is customary in democracy, force will be used to compete for it. Perhaps the Democrats will have their military men…the Republicans will have their own forces. They will fight it out for control of the empire.

And then, to stop the killing and the destruction, the army will get together and decide to put its own man in the top position. Inevitably, this will lead to more struggles for power…

…and much comedy. The military forces will choose even bigger morons than the voters. They will come and go quickly…with two, three…maybe a dozen new leaders in a single year. Some will be dangerously incompetent. Others will be dangerously able. Some will be lunatics.

How long will it be before an American Caligula appears? Will he force the senators’ wives to become prostitutes? Will he proclaim himself a god? Will he be murdered by his own guards and companions? We hope so.

Of course, it won’t the America we knew. Or even the one we want. But it should be a treasure trove for future historians and stand-up comedians.


Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success in numerous industries. His unique writing style, philanthropic undertakings and preservationist activities have been recognized by some of America's most respected authorities. With his friend and colleague Addison Wiggin, he co-founded The Daily Reckoning in 1999, and together they co-wrote the New York Times best-selling books Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. His other works include Mobs, Messiahs and Markets (with Lila Rajiva), Dice Have No Memory, and most recently, Hormegeddon: How Too Much of a Good Thing Leads to Disaster. His most recent project is The Bill Bonner Letter.

  • phelps

    I think I’ll take that Ron Paul sign out of my frontyard now. If they’ll kill the man, then his supporters are sure to follow. We peacenik pussies really have no place in the world.

    Yes Bill, they mix images of troops with the football teams at some stadiums. I’ve never seen that done at Arrowhead or OU, but have heard of it in other places.

    Not all football fans, or players are crazed for war, they just think they are actually supporting the troops in this way. Bringing them home is the ultimate support.

  • chowthen

    Ron Paul was booed not because he said bring home the troops but rather he said we should try to understand the reason we were attacked in 9/11 and basically blaming the US policies. You should have listened to what Ron Paul said before spouse crap from your mouth BB. I like your opinions when it comes to financials just like Ron Paul but your mind is clouded by your hatred of the US Military just like Ron Paul.

  • Faith Inda System

    I like that Imp-eror idea; the whole idea of the purple robes and leaves on their heads is kind of gay, but if they had a red-white-and-blue color scheme, ‘Murikans would go for it. I believe that Caligula is the feckless Emperor who married his horse. I don’t know if we need a Constitutional Amendment to allow such a thing here in ‘Murika or if the GOPTp-ers can be won over just by being persuaded through Faux Snooze. Then we can free up the voting machines for Dancing With The Stars where I know my vote really counts.

  • ken

    I hope RP wins the election. Be interesting watching him having to walk the walk for a change.

  • Sangreal

    USofA passed the glorious Caesar’s era without even noticing: the boys & girls were too busy iPhoning each-other. Not to worry: here comes Commodus’ era – and this one nobody will miss !
    BTW – ever crossed your minds that a world dominated by US looks and feels way better than one dominated by Russia ? Or China ? Or… ?
    No… that’s a too redneck-ish idea… perish the thought !

  • Dave

    Bill, you’re losing me here. Perhaps you’re all upset over Awlaki being snuffed? That argument is pretty ACLU over the top as far as I am concerned. The US is nowhere remotely near the state of affairs you describe in this piece. Well it just reminds me to take everything you say with a big grain of salt.

  • Bob

    At this point in the future your new homeland of France will be majority Muslim. You’d best learn to salute your new masters.

  • phelps

    Bill doesn’t have to worry about those muslims taking over France. I’m sure Bill would escape their grip as easily as the Lemenilli Brothers got away from Sulieman at Constanopole in 1492.

    chowthen, i’m sure hannity would be proud of you since you have soaked up so much of his propaganda. Don’t won’t to fight the war – you hate America. Well chow, I know there are several hundred troops here in AR that don’t won’t to fight anymore. Their tired and want to be home, or stay home.

    You’ve had your decade of hate and now ya boyz have killed Rosenberg. Enough already.

  • The InvestorsFriend

    Sadly this all rings rather true. Certainly we enjoy gladiator sports.

    What we need is more capitalism to replace this grid locked democracy.

    In democracy it is only one vote per person. A bum on the street gets the same vote as a wealthy investor type. How is that fair? What kind of meritocracy is that?

    In capitalism it is one vote per dollar. That’s a real meritocracy, no?

    Long live Capitalism!

  • The InvestorsFriend

    Bill, ya gotta warn me when you post more than once in the same day. My poor adoring fans and groupies were left starving for my take on this, until now.

  • jeff

    Bill, i think you hit the nail on the head, awsome article.Things are happening faster and faster all the time, our rights are vanishing before our eyes and worldwide murder seems to be our thing….if you dont like em, kill em. Keep up yhe good work.

  • Bennet Cecil

    The empire will end with the collapse of the dollar. Most Americans will not want an empire that they have to pay high taxes to support. The last several wars were and are being financed on a credit card.

    Voters will not do without basic necessities to pay Amercan troops in foreign lands. The troops will come home. Americans are going to try to restore our republic to a free nation in 2012 and beyond.

  • Bill B. Bonner

    On second thought, if a killer drone takes out TIF, it might not be so bad after all.

  • Scott

    It’s all true. We’ve been living under oligarchy for some time. After oligarchy comes tyranny. The Greeks knew the cycles of civilization 2300 years ago. One guy won’t stop this anymore than one can stop winter from coming.

  • gman

    “That argument is pretty ACLU over the top as far as I am concerned. The US is nowhere remotely near the state of affairs you describe in this piece.”

    completely agree. nevertheless there are potential problems with all this new spy technology and I fear we may indeed come to regret developing it.

    “The empire will end with the collapse of the dollar … The troops will come home.”

    I pray the troops are home before the dollar collapses.

  • Bruce Walker

    When an alcoholic takes the first drink it makes him feel like a new man. And the first thing the new man wants is another drink. Being drunk with power is essentially no different. Ditto being consumed with greed or lust.

    Agree 100% on the barbaric merging of militairy imagery at football games. Its too bad they can’t feature images of the 100,000 civilians, many of them children, who have been blown to pieces in Iraq while they’re at it.

    As for supporting the military chowthen, there really isnt a US military anymore. They’re nothing but mercenaries out to slaughter anything that moves with little purpose or principle behind their actions. When all these murders and professional hitmen finally make it home only to be left unemployed and without any government largess, the blood bath will be our own. Make sure you are waving your little Chinese made American flag when they run you through buddy.

  • JES

    @Bennet Cecil, I like your comment. The only thing I disagree with is that “voters will not do without basic necessities to pay for American troops in foreign lands.” If American voters have consistently shown anything, it is that they are very easily duped. It is a simple argument to make to the masses that but for costly American military excursions overseas, the basic necessities at home would be even more difficult to come by. The same type of “logic” has been used to convince many voters that without billions more in deficit spending, we will never get out of debt.

  • FreedMan

    Dear InvestorsFriend,

    Would you consider writing regular articles for NYT? Please give me a call.


  • Cunning Linguist

    How is trying to bring our boys home and out of danger hating the military. Do you know ANYTHING about what you speak of. Google “Depleted Uranium” and look at the images of the civilians, women and CHILDREN who are routinely MURDERED in the name of corporate profits.
    Watch this video to see how our soldiers feel about killing innocents abroad.

  • G Lammert

    With nonlinear lower lows for equities, commodities, gold, and silver in the ante room, global speculator psychological depression will accompany the greatest ever deflationary depression … as a huge chunk of bad debt of the money-debt-asset system disappears in a very short time span corresponding to the nonlinear devaluation event.

  • Angelique Wow


  • Dean

    Question, if Israel didn`t matter for America, would America be fighting wars against muslims?

  • mike

    ..everytime i mow the meadow, the landscape is my empire…

  • Noirceuil

    Ron Paul: The most sensible president you will never have.

  • GodSend

    At the root of all the evils of the American Federal Gov’t lies the CONTROL by Israeli and American/Israeli Zionist (Slimeballs).

    Whining and moaning will accomplish NOTHING. STRIKING the root of evil with total and irresistible FORCE is the ONLY remedy of what ails America (and humanity!). Harold Wallace Rosenthal was right (“The Hidden Tyranny”).

    OCCUPY AMERICA must morph into the American Revolutionary War – II.

  • GodSend

    PS “The tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots” (Thomas Jefferson). The time has come!

  • Ole

    Great article. Now I want to read about the Roman Empire! Anyone who can recommend some good books?

  • John

    Bill Bonner said:”How long will it be before an American Caligula appears? Will he force the senators’ wives to become prostitutes? Will he proclaim himself a god? Will he be murdered by his own guards and companions? We hope so.”

    I hope you’re joking here Bill.

  • Frank K

    I see many comments hitting back at BB. Let me ask:

    If in year 2000, I say the US military under direct order from the president fired from a stealth airplane a missile and blow a US citizen to bits, without being charged or any legal proceedings, would you believe it? How about doing this act in a foreign country in direct violation of its laws and sovereignty?

    Any sane person will cry murder. And any sane country will put the president to trial. And any country subject to such violation would call to the UN for punitive action.

    But today, there is hardly any ripple in America.

    If a foreign country, say France, fires a sub-launch missile into US soil and blow up a French fugitive, what will be the reaction? I can tell you there will be a cry for war against France in America.

    This is how far sanity has gone down in USA. If is hard to see how far you fall when you are inside the an airplane.

  • GodSend

    Comedy, while America is being slowly destroyed by Zionist Slimeballs (911, the GRAND DOUBLE-DIP DEPRESSION, etc.) is akin to “fiddling while Rome burns”. It is a sign of INSANITY – or worse, being a Zionist Shill! “There will be gnashing of teeth” (Zionist Slimeball teeth and the teeth of their American “Auslege” Goy stooges – like Bush and Obama and their regimes)

  • Bernankenstein’s Monster

    I’d like a little more of the comedy, and less of the tragedy, please.

  • gman

    “Now I want to read about the Roman Empire! Anyone who can recommend some good books?”

    gibbon’s “the decline and fall of the roman empire” abridged by d.m.low

    “if a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of domitian to the accession of commodus.”

  • KillerDrone

    … Will he sleep with his sister, then open her belly and devour their child?

  • KillerDrone

    Dear TIF,

    Please inform us of your coordinates.


  • Alistair B Wittingsworth

    Thank you, Bill, for continuing to have the guts to say all this. (You, too, Frank K.) For years, DR readers were cheerleaders of our imperial efforts.

    The delusional, white-man-paranoiacs out there, like Mr. Bob, who claim that France will soon be “majority Muslim” are not only deluded but blissfully unaware of simple mathematics.

    There are 4 million Muslims in France – out of a population of 70 million. It is, essentially, mathematically impossible for them to overtake the (mostly atheist) non-Muslim population of the country. I’d crunch the numbers right here for you, Mr. Bob, but, as you’ve made ostensible, rabid right-wing hallucinators like you aren’t interested in data and facts.


  • waltc

    Why is that we are making China rich but we’re getting poorer, and the rub is that they now own us.

  • James Hale

    I am a disabled veteran with psych and physical ailments from my military accomplishments between 1990-1993 I was on 7 psych medications and chose to stop taking them over a year ago. I have a service dog (MARLEY) she helps with my anxiety levels but without me using “Black-market” marijuana its harder for me to control, without marijuana the ARTHRITIS in my back would be more painful. I have a young friend (24yrs.old) of mine who is diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) he too benefits from the effects. I say to you the readers KNOW-THE-FACTS…..If it’s legalized it too would stimulate the economy by shutting down unneeded prisons and government spending on prison guards , low-level law officials and programs like” NARK” , “DARE” and the “BLACK CAUCUS COMMITTEE” ( I don’t believe in or promoting segregated government (MLK “EQUALITY”) it needs to be 1 BODY, 1 VOICE(the peoples voice)) each eats at local community budgets. These are local programs formed by the government. This would put the MONEY back where it came from SOCIAL SECURITY, HEALTHCARE and WEL-FARE. why do you think we all want to know now “WHERE DID THE MONEY GO ?” The budgets are done every year the money is hidden in programs!!! Have we forgotten we gave IRAQ “GRANTS” to rebuild(just like we’re gonna do for IRAN and Afghanistan) not LOANS ? How about the tsunami $$ for Japan to rebuild or for Indonesia to rebuild OR HAITI $$$ after their earthquake to rebuild ? I have an IDEA use US tax dollars to help the U.S. TAXPAYER$……….The sad part is we the people didn’t vote on that $$$$ congress did for us. when we have a crisis we don’t have the money .The raise they are considering for SSDI is a joke compared the the gas$ increases over the past 3yrs. WE keep writing laws that keep LOW-income, LOW-income. Not to mention the new STATE “regulation” on pain medication means I now have to drive to my doctors once a month instead of once-every 3. wall-street has the gas market cornered their job is to make their investors money, it’s congress that’s spending our money and draining the purse not WALL street. Try sleeping at night knowing the country i was injured protecting is the same country I’m now fighting to legalize an” alleviation” from my symptoms.

  • phelps

    James Hale. Demon Mango is an herbal product, which is legal and is just like marijuana. It can be smoked and will help you symptoms. Don’t use any of those other forms of herbal incense as they will just cause you other problems.

  • Lana Lorenzen

    In this case, the writer is correct. “Empires” are built on the raw materials and labor of Third World Countries. If there were not one drop of oil in the entire Middle East, we would not be there. The President state it on television when he stated that the days of colonialism are over–actually, they should have been over 75 years ago. As a veteran with the U. S. Air Force stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War and as a long-time employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs (presently with the VA hospital)I’v seen the effects of war first-hand, upclose and personal.

  • Benton H Marder


    Think ‘Africa’. It won’t be a general that mounts the throne. Try a Flight Lieutenant, as in Ghana, or a Master Sergeant, as in Liberia. Perhaps a Corporal? Yes, you know who I’m thinking of. But, he was from Austria.

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