The Jungle of EmpirenOne of the redeeming features of imperialismnis that it makes for greatnadventure stories. The works of H.nRider Haggard and Rudyard Kiplingnand the literature of the American Westnfrom James Fenimore Cooper to LouisnL’Amour would not have been possiblenwithout the empires and imperial problemsnthat provide the setting for theirntales. The reason for the relationshipnought to be faidy obvious.nEmpires offer all the standard fare ofnblood, guts, intrigue, romance, and action:nvillains plotting to overthrow civilization,nheroes striving to protect it;ncrumbling cultures and uncharted junglesnthat house mystery, danger, andnimmense rewards for those bold enoughnto seize them. Empires may make desertsnand call them peace, but at leastnthey also offer a lot of entertainmentnthat sometimes lasts longer than thencivilization that imagines it is perpetuatingnitself through territorial expansion.nToday, we still have empires, or atnleast one, but the literature it spawnsnmakes the penny dreadfuls and potboilersnof the Victorian Era seem like thenstuff of Homer and Vergil. I can thinknof no great adventure tale to emergenfrom the consolidation of what maynturn out to be the largest transnationalnapparatus of power yet to appear innhistory, and the cosmopolites of thenAmerican megapower will have to passntheir idle hours with Stephen King andnTom Clancy. The best spy novels producednby the Cold War, such as thosenof John Le Carre, so far from celebratingnempire, in fact are somber introspectionsnon what power demands ofnhuman beings and what it takes fromnthem.nIt is precisely because contemporarynglobalism is so uninspiring and becausenits power is not acquired through thencombined exertions of muscle, bone,nand brain that it produces few compellingntales of what it cost to create.nIndeed, the costs of modern imperialism,nlike the bonds that hold it together,nremain invisible. Unlike the regimesnPrincipalities & Powersnby Samuel Francisnconstructed by the British, the Romans,nor the Macedonians, the one that fluttersnabout the world today was notbuilfnon force and human risk but on annentirely different kind of power.nMachiavelli distinguished betweenntwo kinds of rulers. There are thosenwho, imitating lions, base their powernon force, and those, imitating the fox,nwho base it on cunning. Ideally, insofarnas Machiavelli permitted himself ideals,na ruler ought to combine the two traits,nbut he recognized that human psychologynbeing what it is, few potentates werencapable of doing so for very long.nSeveral centuries after Machiavelli, anothernItalian, Vilfredo Pareto, revivednhis distinction and elaborated it into annentire psychology of power.nPareto discussed two classes of whatnhe called “residues,” his term for basicninstinctual drives that underiie humannbehavior. “Class I,” as he called onengroup of residues, consists of “the instinctnfor combinations,” and those innwhom it is strong tend to be innovativenand manipulative, or, in a word, cunning.nThey tend to respond to problemsnby “combining” different elements —nideas, people, institutions, resources —nto produce new instruments that cannresolve the problem.nResidues of “Class 11” or the “instinctnfor the persistence of aggregates,”non the other hand, yield behavior that isnsocially conservative. Those in whomnthey are powerful dislike and avoidnchange — their ideas and behavioralnhabits are “aggregates” that tend ton”persist” — and they typically respondnto problems by appeals to group solidarity.nHence, family, race, class, nation,ncommunity, religious sect, and otherngroup identities are important bonds fornthose in whom Class II residues arenstrong. They tend to avoid innovationnand manipulation and, like lions, to relynon force to deal with problems.nIn some societies, Pareto argued.nClass I residues (or the people in whomnthey are dominant) rise to the top, whilenin others. Class II types emerge.nWhichever type emerges, it forms annelite and seeks to perpetuate its powernand construct a society that reflects andnnnsupports its mentality and habits. Paretonbelieved that ancient Athens in its socalledn”Golden Age” of empire andncultural brilliance was a rather goodnexample of a Class I or manipulativenregime, in which commercial classes,npolitical demagoguery, and intellectualnand artistic expression were prevalent,nwhile Sparta in the same period was anclassic case of a Class II or “leonine”nelite: unimaginative, strongly attachednto traditional identities, and relying onnforce. His typology corresponds morenor less to what Aristotle said of the twonsocieties, and the Creek philosophernargued that the weakness of Sparta wasnthat it recognized only “one kind ofngoodness,” namely skill in war.nTD Pareto, a lion was not necessarilynbetter or worse than a fox, and likenMachiavelli (or Aristotle), he believednthat a human being or a ruler or ansociety in which one kind of residue wasnpredominant to the exclusion of thenother was particularly weak. Since eachntype tends to respond to problems andnchallenges only by means of the behavior,nattitudes, and ideas that its dominantninstinct recognizes, it is unable to dealnwith crises on which such responsesndon’t work.nHence, a society or a regime innwhich foxes are predominant will benunable to prosecute wars effectively ornrespond to challenge from enemies thatnrely on force. Similarly, a society or anregime in which lions are the dominantnclass will tend to stagnate and to meetnevery challenge with force, sometimesnbrutally. Sooner or later, the habitualnresponses of each type fail to work.nSooner or later, each type runs intonproblems that its characteristic style ofnbehavior and thought can’t solve, and itnis overwhelmed. The result is the fall ofnone elite and the rise of another, leadingnPareto to comment in a famous phrasenthat “history is a graveyard of aristocracies”nor elites.nPareto did not know or talk muchnabout the United States in the 19thncentury, but if he had, he might havenenjoyed himself There he would havenseen a protracted social conflict betweenntwo kinds of societies — one.nAPRIL 1992/11n