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Native Americans were virtually extinct by 1900, as were many of their fellow creatures. The period from 1700 to 1900, when the English/American Empire expanded across North America, is arguably the most single-minded and sustained effort of environmental destruction that any species has ever inflicted upon this planet. John Adams wrote that his family cut down more trees than any other family in America. As one author wrote, the ax was the appropriate symbol of the early American attitude toward nature. North America likely had , and the English and Americans ruthlessly . Eastern North America had the world’s largest temperate forest, and the old saying that a squirrel could have run from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, without ever touching ground, was not very fanciful. Eastern North America was almost completely deforested by those “pioneers.” The passenger pigeon, which may have flown in the greatest flocks that Earth has seen, , in capitalistic fashion. Expanding railroads in the 1850s allowed for a short-lived industry of killing pigeons in the Midwest and transporting them to East Coast markets. Passenger pigeons numbered in the billions, and migrating flocks turned day into night, but by the 1880s their populations had collapsed and the last passenger pigeon died in captivity in 1914. The woodland bison, which roamed today’s Eastern USA, was rendered extinct by the early 19th century.
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This essay was written during the USA's war against Iraq, which really began in 1990, and the essay was originally finished in the summer of 2002. It is partly a historical document of what it was like to live in those times, and was rather dated in ways in 2014, when I revised it. My , published in 2014, will be periodically updated, but this essay likely will not be revised much in the future. This essay was partially intended as an antidote to nationalism, and I believe that it gets the point across, and continuing to chart the decline of the American Empire holds little interest for me, as and only have so many hours in a day and years in a life.
Why deal with fairly if superior violence will prevail? The thief just takes what he wants and lets violence decide the issue. Might makes right has been the rationale for empire, but it has never been prudent to come right out and say it, so Machiavelli’s professional descendants have concocted a wide range of cover stories over the centuries. Early on, because the Bill of Rights and other factors limited the coercion that the USA could inflict on its citizens, those who ran the USA began refining the art of deluding the masses to unprecedented levels. Anti-sedition laws were too crude a means of control. The art of creating mass delusions became a science during the 20th century, with the rise of the industry, among others.