The Eastern Provinces
The Eastern Provinces Impartially Considered
...and even if we overlook the dubious moral and legal justifications for hundreds of years of occupation of these two provinces, what economic or military benefits can we derive from Morrowind and Black Marsh?
Indeed, a few beneficiaries of Imperial monopolies in the provinces do profit from exploitation of their wealth and resources. But does the Empire as a whole benefit? Hardly. The vast machineries of the Imperial bureaucracies cost far more to maintain than can be recovered in duties and taxes. And the cost of establishing and maintaining the garrisons of the Imperial legion in the far-flung wilderness posts of these provinces would be cost-effective only if there were evidence of a military threat from the East. But no such evidence exists. No army of Morrowind or Black Marsh has ever threatened the security of any other Imperial province, let alone the security of Cyrodiil itself.
In fact, a greater threat to Imperial security lies in the idle legions that the taxpayer spends thousands of drakes to support. The generals of these legions, facing no enemies or opposition within the borders of their provinces, may look with ambition to the West. With their loyal veteran troops and coffers fattened by friendly monopolists, they become unpredictable political factors in the uncertainties surrounding the Imperial succession.
If the occupation of Morrowind and Black Marsh were motivated by idealistic aspirations, perhaps there might lie some justification for bearing the burden of Empire. But consider the shame of the Empire's mute acceptance to the unspeakable practice of slavery in Morrowind. Instead of using our Imperial legions to free the wretched Khajiit and Argonian slaves from their Dark Elf masters, we pay our troopers to PROTECT the indefensible institution of slavery. Within the ebony mines of Morrowind, bloated monopolists under Imperial charters exploit slave labor to harvest the outrageous profits assured by rampant graft and corruption.
Consider the colossal arrogance of our proposition to bring Peace and Enlightenment to the East, when in fact, we have only brought our armies into lands who have never threatened us, and when we have only exploited the most shameful and evil practices we have found in Morrowind and Black Marsh simply to enrich the friends and flatterers of the Imperial family.
Impartially considered, our occupation of the Eastern provinces is morally corrupt, militarily indefensible, and economically ruinous. The only conclusion is that we should disband the Eastern legions, withdraw the Imperial bureaucracies and monopolists from the East, and give these ancient lands and peoples their freedom. Only by doing so may we hope to preserve the fragile ideals and fortunes of Western culture.