2016 interview with Socrates: US today is Athens’ empire of hypocrisy and hubris; will US public stand for obvious justice or remain oblivious to evil? (2 of ?)

“The strong do what power allows. The weak accept what they must.”  – Athenian 415 BC envoy to the small government of Melos, with the offer to either join Athens’ empire with paying them tribute, or have all men executed, and everyone else sold into slavery. Melos politely declined Athens’ offer. Athens attacked, did exactly what they threatened, and resettled the emptied island with 500 Athenian colonists. – Melian Dialogue of Socrates’ contemporary historian, Thucydides.

language warning: Socrates and I speak in the same direct language that caused his execution for “corrupting the young.”

Carl: Socrates! Welcome back!

Socrates: Carl! Thank you for continuing our dialogue. We began discussing Greek history, with connections to your United States of today. I’d like us to continue that point for Americans’ “real-world” philosophical consideration.

C: Awesome.

S: I witnessed Athenian Empire. Athens demanded tribute-taxes and slaves from dominated city states or death at the hands of our military, as with Melos. Empire is hubris; and the opposite of what we defended from Persian invasions. Quest for empire split our people, and led to civil war with Sparta.

Let’s pause here to summarize my society before comparing to the US of today: we used foreign subsidies/tribute-taxes and slavery to fund an expanding military empire. Empire ended with civil war, ignited by the hypocrisy of dominating other free societies while declaring our philosophy of personal freedom. Carl, would you agree this is a fair summary of Athens’ history?

C: Yes.

S: Good. Let’s compare one empire to another: yours.

Do you recognize how the US is subsidized with tribute-taxes and slavery to maintain a global military empire?

C: Yup. It’s called the “petrodollar” (and here): the US cut a deal with the Saud family (a family-owned country called Saudi Arabia) to sell oil only for dollars, then use profits to buy US debt securities. This strengthens the value of the dollar, and allows the US government to fund its empire by selling debt as US Treasuries. So, our subjects pay for our global empire by only using US currency, plow profits back to us as an investment for taxpayer-guaranteed interest, and in exchange we use our military to back their dictatorial fiefdom.

S: And have subject nations ever refused to “play” by these rules?

C: They’ve tried. When Iraq’s Saddam started selling oil for Euros and Yen in 2000, US political “leadership” and corporate media began calling this CIA asset a “bad man” rather than a “strong man,” and ended his regime by US military invasion. When Iran made the same move in 2005, that began war rhetoric lasting to today for “regime change.” Hey, Soc: do you know what the US called its war on Iraq in 2003?

S: I’ll bite. What?

C: (one small chuckle) O.I.L. I shit you not, Soc, that’s what they called it: Operation Iraqi Liberation.

S: (extended laughter) And everyone bought that?!?

C: They had to change it when some people began laughing at the tragic-comedy; hubris as you Greeks called it. They renamed it OIF: Operation Iraqi “Freedom.” Here, let me show you Mugsys RapSheet’s 1-minute video:

S: Wow. Yeah, “Freedom” isn’t any less ironic. Talk about shaming and humiliating the victim for psychopathic pleasure.

Do Americans know much about dictators being “good boys” to their empire?

C: No. For example, vicious African dictators in oil-rich countries in Gabon, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea get presidential dinners, favorable media, and our “protection.” But most Americans don’t know shit about this, as we say.

S: That sounds familiar. Ok, back to our topic: Athenian Empire ended when our hubris and hypocrisy erupted into civil war. How do you see the US on hypocrisy?

C: The hypocrisy is intense, Soc. We’re told the opposite of the truth in everything important. There’s destruction of nearly all rights lawfully guaranteed in the US Bill of Rights within the US Constitution, and in total inversion of promised limited government.

Our “leaders” roll the world with unlawful and lie-began wars, and Crimes Against Humanity for ongoing policy of poverty that’s killed over 400 million human beings just in the last 20 years (~75% children; more deaths than from all wars in Earth’s recorded history).

They “bail out” banksters, and use so-called “money” that is actually debt. They withhold obvious solutions worth literally about a million dollars to every hard-working US household.

S: So… civil war or not, Carl?

C: Dude! You’re the one into stating what we can clearly see! How the fuck would I know?

S: You’re right, we can’t see the future. But I am interested in your opinion (smiles).

C: (smile) Here’s what I see: everybody today can read compared with ~10% in your day. Polling data are overwhelming that Americans register something criminal in “leadership” and that corporate media lies. Some form of victory seems inevitable, but nobody I know has any objective data whether victory will be peaceful or violent, and when the tipping-point will occur.

S: So we can agree on the similarities of Athenian Empire to US Empire today: both engage in expanding empire, both demand a form of tribute-tax, both engage in hypocrisy, and the US is at risk of a form of civil war that ended Athens’ Empire.

C: Agreed.

S: (chuckles) The single person who swayed public judgment against me was a clever politician named Alcibiades. He played public ignorance and fears for his own advancement. He was a real dick, as you say. Oh, and so was Aristophanes.

The public were too stupid to see through Alcibiades. He would engage in our conversations in Athens as a young man, but like many lawyers, learned rhetoric to manipulate rather than reveal facts. I was blamed for “corrupting him,” of course, and “causing” his vices. He framed the “need” for more and more empire in a way your US oligarchs would embrace. Do you know how Thucydides quoted him, Carl?

C: No, I don’t know this one.

S: “We cannot fix the exact point at which our empire shall stop; we have reached a position in which we must not be content with retaining but must scheme to extend it, for, if we cease to rule others, we are in danger of being ruled.”

C: Wow.

S: Wow, indeed.

C: And Athens killed you rather than face their oligarchs truthfully and honorably.

S: Yes.

C: So the central question for Americans today is whether they have the integrity and courage to voice the obvious lawless hypocrisy of their “leaders,” or remain oblivious to evil. At stake is either a continuing evil empire, or danger of its collapse into civil war.

S: Yes.

C: Hey, Soc: what do you think of my call for the public to demand arrests of our .01% criminal leaders?

S: It’s truthful. They are criminals. The proper citizen response is to lawfully stop their crimes, especially those with Oaths that honor the clear rights and laws your country claims to be founded upon. This would seem to be central to military and government service.

C: Let me show you this 90-second clip calling for arrests:

What do you think?

S: Strong. He’s feelin’ it, as you say.

C: How can I best communicate this idea?

S: How could my few allies communicate to Athens’ jury to find me innocent of “corrupting the youth,” “rejecting the Gods,” and to vote against my execution?

C: That’s not an inspiring comparison, Bro. We’d better have a better base of informed citizens today than you did.

S: Yeah, you’ll need them. If you are meant to win.

C: If we are meant to win we’ll need something more than we currently have, yes. Any words of encouragement for us, Socrates?

S: Don’t worry about the outcome of your nation or this world. Only act with virtue, which is all that is given you to act upon.

C: That seems wise. (smiles)

S: Yes. If I taught anything, it’s that I have nothing to teach; I don’t know anything beyond that which anyone can point to and see for themselves. (smiles) There’s a corollary.

C: Please.

S: No human is wise; none can see beyond what anyone can see with looking. Only God is wise. Have you found anyone who can point to the future with any certainty, any knowledge to give anyone any realistic encouragement? That’s what you asked for: words of encouragement.

C: Never. Just people with enough wisdom to trust what they could point to and prove, and ask enough questions to disprove liars claiming facts they couldn’t prove, or that the facts proved they were liars.

S: So you’d better leave encouragement with trusting God. Do you?

C: I do.

S: So we all move forward in literal good-faith effort! (laughs) Another day of “patient activism” in the Empire!

Enjoy the adventure on this beautiful planet, Carl. It will only get more interesting!

As I said before: you have more friends than you know, and every step forward invites so many more of your brothers and sisters to join us.

Divine justice is the law.

C: Thank you, Socrates. Perhaps we’ll speak again. (bro hug)

S: Oh, you know me: I always have something to talk about! I do have another topic I’d like to address with you. Would you like to know, or have it be a surprise?

C: Dude, don’t leave us hanging.

S: Did you know that the best way to characterize me in your terms today, is that I was the leading “wacky conspiracy theorist” of my day?

C: Wait, what? You?

S: Obviously. Think about it. Until our next conversation, Carl. Peace.


“Interview” series:

Satire series:


Note: I make all factual assertions as a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History, with all economics factual claims receiving zero refutation since I began writing in 2008among Advanced Placement Macroeconomics teachers on our discussion board, public audiences of these articles, and international conferences. I invite readers to empower their civic voices with the strongest comprehensive facts most important to building a brighter future. I challenge professionals, academics, and citizens to add their voices for the benefit of all Earth’s inhabitants.


Carl Herman is a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History; also credentialed in Mathematics. He worked with both US political parties over 18 years and two UN Summits with the citizen’s lobby, RESULTS, for US domestic and foreign policy to end poverty. He can be reached at Carl_Herman@post.harvard.edu

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