Thursday, March 23, 2006

New Caesars, Old Warnings

Commentary by Martin Kelly
April 27, 2004

Pundit fatigue rots the brain. There is so much easily available information, analysis and interpretation of events that it has developed a critical mass, causing those who adhere to particular political opinions to be consolidated in them. Therefore, formerly pro-war conservatives are now reconsidering their positions. This is not backtracking by any manner of means, but a simple re-affirmation of why those people held those opinions in the first place.

It is because, like all sensible humans, they value the status quo. They want things to go back to the way they were before. They want the quiet life.

In a progressive age, to say one values things they way the were before is almost akin admitting belief in leprechauns and phrenology. However, there is nothing wrong in saying things were better before. Obviously, we cannot live our lives in bubbles – would that we could, for obviously we would be immune from the blandishments of Islamofascist savages.

There was a time when elected politicians made it their business to defend the interest of those who elected them. However, leaders are now so dependent on the interests behind them that those interests are the primary focus of leadership. How else can failure to intervene against outsourcing be justified? It’s because you’re backers are interested in lowest cost, not American jobs. Bill Clinton’s open identification with abortionists and the gun-control lobby meant that he would never act against their interests.

Similarly, the Open Borders, Closed Minds brigade who promoted amnesty for illegal aliens were more interested in securing Hispanic votes for George W. Bush in November than in considering the consequences of mass illegal immigration. Seeing people who are prepared to jump the queue receiving an absolution for their actions must be a sore one for every immigrant who ever took their turn in line and jumped through the hoops of fire laid at their feet by the INS. However, if there is a political advantage to be gained from it, new democracy demands that it has to be done. All ends justify all means. That is not democracy. That is Cosa Nostra.

One can tire of this manoeuvring, and with depressing confidence one can say that a Kerry presidency would only continue and consolidate what has rapidly become the new norm.

This is the stage at which democracy is in trouble. Prior to the foundation of the Republic, the greatest society in history was the Roman Empire. The first Romans loved the quiet life. Rome started off as a kingdom. After expelling Tarquin the Proud, it enjoyed 500 years as a stable and productive Republic. However, a power-grab by members of leading families, allied to a culture of imperialism, led to the sidelining of the Senate and the emergence of the Emperors, in whom all effective power rested. Concentration of power in the hands of one individual, or a small group of individuals, was the first step on the end of the road. The middle class disappeared, leaving only the very rich and the very poor. The people thus stagnated, making it one of the duties of the state to provide entertainment and sustenance for them. At the height of its power it had no real organised competitors, but did for itself from within.

One wouldn’t suggest for a moment that cheap gas and cable are the same as bread and circuses- the American people are way too smart for that. However, when groups grab power for themselves to make laws out of nothing, as the courts have done with Roe – v – Wade and Goodridge; when those charged with upholding good governance think nothing of removing an allocation given for one cause to another in direct violation of the constitution, as Bob Woodward alleges in Plan of Attack; when civic leaders treat their business like an entertainment for themselves, to the exclusion of the people; and when the hordes are already massed at the gates of Rome, like Attila – then one can seriously fear for what the new Caesars have done.

Before Julius Caesar launched his power grab, he was part of the first triumvirate along with Pompey and Crassus. Crassus was the one of the wealthiest men in Rome, who had made his name with the severity with which he had put down the rebellion of Spartacus. Under his watch, thousands of the Sparticist criminals were crucified along the Appian Way.

However, Crassus did not consider his achievement complete. Like all Roman leaders, he needed a military victory, which is why he led his legions to complete and utter disaster against the Persians, at Carrhae in modern Iraq.

There’s a lesson in there for some one. It is that the people must cherish their traditions, for they cannot rely on their leaders to do so.