Liberate Knowledge

…to democratize power in all its forms.

Dictionary of the Empire, Part 2

This is the second entry in a series of posts where I attempt to put the Empire’s complex language into laymen terms so we can all understand what U.S. politicians and pundits really say. Read Part 1 here.

Introduction to the Dictionary

When you hear Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, General Petraus, John McCain, Wolf Blitzer, and other leaders of the United States as well as political pundits speak, it can often be confusing to understand – as though their words and phrases don’t actually reflect reality. The primary reason for this is that these leaders and media talking-heads are in fact speaking a different language that transcends normal dictionary definitions. In fact, they are speaking what is called the “Language of Empire,” a language in which words and phrases often have complex sub-layers or mean exactly the opposite of their normal definition.

Therefore, in order to help everyday people better understand the intentions of the United States’ media and political figures, I have begun to compile a list of phrases and words that the Empire uses and what they mean in normal words. This is a “Dictionary of the Empire.” Of course, this will have to be an ongoing project, as the Empire’s language constantly evolves and grows in order to suit its purpose at any given moment.


Collateral Damage

People that our bombs accidentally blow up who aren’t white.

Important Note: This phrase is often perceived by leftists to be a synonym of “state terrorism.” In the eyes of the Empire, however, this is a false equivalency because non-American lives are less valuable than American lives – after all, they’re “collateral” and not “people.”


You are not allowed to say this word on TV. And if you do, you’re a radical-Marxist-communist-anarchist-Lenninist-Maoist-terrorist.

See also: imperialism, colonialism.

National Dialogue

Used as: We call for a national dialogue in the country where protesters are rising up against the oppressive regime we support and being shot by weapons that we supplied.

“We talk with a gun, you listen.”

Pull Yourself Up by the Bootstraps

“I was born with a 3 million dollar trust fund.”


Used as: That brutal dictatorship we support has promised some really awesome reforms!

A phrase the Empire uses when it means the following: “We just gave them a crapton more military aid to use for ‘fighting terrorism’, but we know they’re most likely going to use it to suppress dissidents and rebels in their country!

Share the Burden

Used as: This country is broke and we must share the burden, tighten our belts, pull up our boot straps, and other folky bullshit I can’t relate to because I’m a millionaire.

“We must share the burden. Where ‘we’ equals ‘you.’ Now, if you need me, I’ll be enjoying my tax cuts and lobbying on behalf of my buddies in the arms industry to increase the military’s annual budget, even though 51% of the federal budget allocated by Congress already goes to the military.”

Strongly Condemn

Definition 1 – Used as: The United States strongly condemns the violence against the protesters perpetuated by the oppressive government that is using weapons we paid for.

Come on guys, why did you have to make it so visible? We’re getting really bad publicity on the social media because of this!

Definition 2 – Used as: The United Nations strongly condemns the government’s brutal crackdown on the protesters.

There is absolutely nothing we can or are willing to actually do about the situation, besides incrementally increasing the level of adjectives we use in order to express how strongly we condemn the situation.

Universal Human Rights

Contrary to the word “universal,” universal human rights are selectively applicable in:

A) Countries the Empire doesn’t like, and when the Empire wants an excuse to try condemn them for not giving their citizens “universal human rights” (see: China, Iran).

B) Speeches by representative of the United States at the U.N. when they are talking about how the internet will help spread “universal human rights,” all while the U.S. is illegally monitoring its population’s internet usage and trying to shutdown websites it sees as “dangerous” to the Empire.

C) Speeches by U.S. representatives promoting the (false) “sweeping reforms” the dictator it supports has promised. (See reforms above).

This phrase can also be used when the Empire is put in a tough jam because an oppressive regime it supports is acting badly: “The people in that country whose dictator we prop up deserve universal human rights (when they are in the spotlight because they are protesting really loudly and/or their government is shooting at them).”

We Must Look Forward And Not Be Trapped By the Past

As in:

Reporter: “Mr. President, thanks for visiting Chile. Do you want to apologize for your country’s role in supporting a military coup of our democratically elected government in 1973, which installed a bloody dictator who ruled with an iron fist for years upon years, destroying much of our country?”

U.S. President: “We must look forward and not be trapped by the past. Let’s explore trade possibilities so that both our countries can prosper!”


Because, boy, if you really look at how we screwed over your country by bombing it/invading it/supporting a military coup/propping up a dictator/supplying arms to protract a bloody civil war and suppress rebels/and-or economically exploiting your disasters and upheavals, we’d really have to take a lot of responsibility for how badly we messed things up for you… and we might owe you a lot for the current economic, political, and/or social turmoil in your country! Now, that would set an unacceptable precedent for the Empire – after all, we’d owe the world a lot!


I hope you can use this list as a reference when listening to politicians, pundits, and military leaders speak. This should really help you understand their true intentions and the meaning of their actions. More words and phrases will be defined later!


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