Empires are narcissistic by nature. They are narcissistic systems. As I’ve mentioned before, empires thrive on four things – exploitation, oppression, death, and destruction.

All empires exploit the people and the land they control. They exploit people through taxes and tributes. They exploit people through their unquestioning loyalty and their labor. They exploit people through their sweat and blood.

They exploit the land by stripping the resources from the land and using those resources to exploit and oppress other people. They exploit the land of resources that are sent back to the head of the empire for their own personal use. They exploit the land to build up the center of the empire at the expense of any conquered land and people.

Empires oppress. They oppress people. They oppress people through intimidation, manipulation, jailing, beating, and stealing. They force those they oppress into service for the empire. They silence conquered people. They enslave.

Empires kill. They are really good at killing. They kill anyone who is a perceived as a threat to the established order of the empire. They kill the will to resist. They kill the desire to question or present any alternative to empire. They kill relationships and families. They kill dreams and hopes. They kill futures of those they conquer. They kill belief. They kill the spirit of the people they oppress. They kill the culture they conquer.

Empires destroy. They destroy people and the land they conquer. They destroy motivation. They destroy ownership. They destroy faith. They destroy nations and peoples. They destroy farms and businesses. They destroy livelihoods.

Empires exist to build up the center of the empire – the seat of power. Empires are at their core narcissistic. They bend in on themselves. They are like black holes that suck everything in their orbit and destroy it.

And at the core of narcissism is this – destructive selfishness. Narcissism is the antithesis of the two great commandments – to love God and to love neighbor. You can’t live out these two commandments through empire.

And like all narcissistic systems, organizations, and people – they come to a tragic end. The question becomes how many people and how much land suffer in the process?