Is secrecy essential for the existence of an empire?

Empires are a manifestation of influence. This influence can be hard (military) or soft (cultural). The hard variety involves use of force to subjugate and/or occupy colonies. Force depends on many things and never remains with a party for long. Eventually, force alone becomes incapable of sustaining influence. This is when secrets come in handy.

If an empire is to expand (an empire that does not expand, dies), it has to allocate resources to its centre in order for it to remain the centre. This becomes difficult if all of the empire’s strength keeps getting spent in holding the colonies down. Significant amounts of attention also needs to go into holding the empire’s conscience down at home (seeing as how domination is a generally seen as a bad thing).

The secrets come into being as rationalisations. The true intent behind the empire’s domination is hidden behind rhetoric regarding justified cause for what the empire is doing. In time, these rationalisations become somewhat mainstream and the facts they hide become bona fide secrets. The unveiling of these secrets becomes the largest possible risk for the empire.

hings require given cause. Without known and accepted cause, no structure can endure. The empire is a result of man’s desire to dominate, but it can’t be referred to as such. Hence, secrets become invaluable.