R.I.P. Chalmers Johnson

November 23, 2010

The world mourns the passing of a man named Chalmers. Chalmers Johnson was the President of the Japan Policy Research Institute at the University of San Francisco, and he was a vocal critic of what he called America’s “military overreach” as one of many signs of the collapse of its empire. I first heard Chalmers speak late one night on C-SPAN in 2005 discussing his “Blowback” Trilogy, in which he sets out to explain the reasons for hatred of American hegemony throughout the world. I’ve never read “Blowback” or his more recent book “The Sorrows of Empire,” but his lectures are as illuminating as they are frightening. The one posted above is a 60 minute discussion of the parallels between the American, Soviet, and Roman empires. Of course that is a lot of history to cover in less than an hour, but he is a persuasive critic and a magnificent stylist, on par with Joseph Campbell or Richard Feynman but for his insights into the history of Western civilizations.


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