love and empire

love and empire

[Part of A political writer falls apart, which is somehow part of NYC Journal – Politics]

[written after watching a very informative “Soehne der Sonne – die Inka” (“Sons of the Sun – The Incas”) documentary on ZDF]

It’s just you and me babe.

The Incas overtook the Andes.
It was quick — less than 100 years to go from pretty-big to HUGE.
They were the sons of the Sun, so that’s why.
So they reasoned.
There was the capital in Cuzcos and, later, a second in Quito.
They didn’t read and write; they did their accounting on knotted strings, and possibly with miles and miles of a rectangle about 30 yard-wide & -deep holes foxholes across, forming a kind of eternal snake lumbering up and down a narrow sandy rocky Andean mesa.
The Incan leader was the son of the Sun God Intl.
And he was also a God.
They won and won; the losers had to pay tribute, and generally admit that they and their gods were second-rate.
In like 1470, they conquered Chan Chan (near Trujillo in Peru) from the ChimĂș. They sent the Chan Chan goldsmiths to Cuzcos. Gold was a symbol of the Sun.

I wasn’t there, but I can tell you that the whole thing was largely bullshit.
Well, the Sun God Intl had created the world out of Chaos and Darkness, and he made the Incas so that they could bring order to the disorder — like he’d done. Except they were to do it politically while he did it existentially. So that was good, they argued, and some might yet argue on their behalf.
Except there had been order already — just not all under the rule of Cuzco and paying tribute to the Incas. So that’s why one might raise one’s eyebrows.

I don’t know if I told you about the time when the Romans smashed the Celts.
Well, it kept happening, actually.
The Celts wouldn’t stop drinking.
They couldn’t get themselves organized.
They couldn’t adapt.
The Romans figured out how to beat them and the Celts didn’t figure out shit.
The way for Romans to beat Celts was to be more disciplined and to throw short spears with weighted ends that tear down the Celts’ shields, and then you — shorter, because you are a Roman and the Celts are giant barbarians — run in and hack them up in that moment of confused exposure.
The Romans had that one idea; the Celts didn’t come up with a counter-idea; so they kept losing. For hundreds of years until it was over for the Celts on the Mainland.

I don’t know if I told you about the time when the English smashed the Celtic tribes in Britain.
They kept doing it.
It seemed easy for them.
And the Scots became British and learned English and toured the globe, enforcing policies of the Empire, making some money, getting some love from some babe here and there, and so spreading themselves about.

I don’t know if I told you about the Atlantic slave trade.
The British brought Africans to the New World, where the Africans were slaves and had to admit they were less than white people, who kept all the books to themselves as best they could.

There are other things I may or may not have mentioned.

Did I tell you that I love you?
Did I tell you that I don’t want any more empires?
But empires will be.
They will be heavy stones rolling down upon little people.
Everyone ends up being little people sooner or later.

There are better and worse power structures and better and worse decisions within power structures.
We should do what we can to speak and act in ways that help us all build and enforce better power structures and make better decisions.

But I only ever just want to be with you.
I just want to go someplace safe and quiet with you.
Someplace where we can catch our breaths and hear our hearts.
Someplace where we can be together.

Pizarro met the Incas in 1527.
Then he went away for a while and the plagues that the Spaniards carried inside them swept along the empire and the leader of the Incas was one of the very many who died.
He’d not named an heir to the throne.
So then came a civil war on top of the plagues.
And in like 1532 Pizarro comes back with 200 soldiers; they see abandoned cities; they capture the Incan leader, who you weren’t even supposed to look into his eyes because he was a GOD.
And they hold him for a year.
The Incas fill a room with gold to buy him back.
Pizarro leads a sham trial and the Incan Emperor is found guilty of something or other and executed.

They’d sacrificed like 200 people — the Incas.
To fix the problem.
Sometimes kids.
The sacrificial children were chosen a year before their deaths.
And they got cocaine and alcohol and traveled far and went on and on, getting ready to save the people and become Gods.
But they didn’t really — they just died at seven or fifteen, as the case may be.
We know that now; but they didn’t then. It was a great honor if your child was chosen for ritual sacrifice.
You could argue that upon death we all return to the Light and so in a sense become Gods, but there’s no need to be sacrificed for that.

Anyway, the gold went from the Incas to the Spaniards.
That happened in the 1500s.

But the main thing is that I love you and want to slip away with you, to get away from all the noises with you close to me in every way.

Yes: I’ve done a lot of small to medium bureaucracy for a lot of small to medium to large empires. And I would’ve done things differently if I’d been wiser than my times and places, and sometimes I was, but often I wasn’t, or at least not enough so that now, looking back from here, I can feel fine and dandy about who I was then, looking out at this or that wide-dawning day. And I do believe that some order is needed. And I now of course support representative democracy with universal adult suffrage, freedom of speech and religion, and all that. And I acknowledge that unless these forms of government thrive, the world is noose tightening around us all. And so protecting representative democracy is as necessary as protecting one’s healthy home.

But all I can think of is how nice it would be to slip away with you. I want to go some place quiet with you. I want to love you. I want to be close to you. I want to know you. I want to be good to you. I want to forget about all the empires that I’ve absorbed into and fallen in and out of. I want to forget about all the great conquests and terrible defeats, none of which could ever mean much to me — not when you have such soft-flowing darkriver hair and such a bright and gentle smile.

I want to forget about everything that isn’t the light in your eyes and the laughter of our children safe and sound in the playing fields far from all killing fields.

Is this allowed?

Can a man who is just a man be happy with a woman who is just a woman in a world that is just a world?
Well, if you want to, and the heavy lumbering momentums don’t forbid it, then I ask for your hand and for the strength to hold it right.

Author: Isaac McAbraham, last of the Scots Loser Brigade
Editors: B Willard & A Whistletown
Copyright: AM Watson

[Part of A political writer falls apart, which is somehow part of NYC Journal – Politics]

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