Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Roman Deep State and Make Rome Great Again

Things looked grim for the Roman Empire in 455 AD.  Much of the provinces of Gaul and Hispania had been essentially taken over by barbarian armies.  In May the Eternal City itself was sacked by the vandals.  This wasn't a mostly-extortion sacking like Odoacer did in 410, it was violent and destructive, stripping the capital of the ancient world of its accumulated treasures.  Not for nothing does the word "vandal" have its current meaning.

Genseric sacking Rome, by Karl Briullov
It looked like things were about to fall apart.  A series of weak Emperors had been dominated by barbarian generals serving as Roman commander in chief for most of the last 60 years.  Unexpectedly, Majorian donned the purple, vowing to make Rome great again.

He was energetic, intelligent, and a good leader of men.  He quickly gathered his troops and - unusually for an Emperor in those days - personally led them into Gaul.  Beating the Visigothic king who would later come to be known as Theodoric the Great, he forced the Goths to recognize the Emperor as overlord.  He then turned his attention to the barbarian Burgundians, storming their capital and making them rejoin the empire as well.

He then turned his attention - and his armies - south.  Since Theodoric had pledged his people's loyalty, Majorian gave them the chance to prove it, by attacking the barbarian Suebi who had taken over northwest Hispania.  They did.  Meanwhile, Majorian's own troops drove the Vandals from Spain.

By 460 AD, Majorian had been Emperor for a short three years and had nearly restored the Empire.

But he was an outsider.  A native of Gaul, he was never accepted by the Roman Senate and the Italian power structure.  The following year he was assassinated.  The Roman Deep State may have thought that they could handle things (they couldn't), or perhaps that it was better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.  The next years would show how that wasn't all that it was cracked up to be as the last Emperor, the Little Augustus Romulus Augustulus was deposed in 476.  The Roman Deep State refused to serve an Emperor from Gaul and faound themselves under the yoke of a Barbarian king.
Majorian presents the welcome discovery of a great and heroic character, such as sometimes arise, in a degenerate age, to vindicate the honour of the human species.
- Edward Gibbon, The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire
Donald Trump in many ways finds himself in a similar situation to Majorian.  A series of disastrous trade agreements have gutted large parts of America, vandalizing a once thriving middle America.  You could call it a sacking and not be far off.  He, like Majorian, is a man of energy and intelligence, and has quickly achieved much more than most people thought possible.

But he, too, is an outsider, opposed by those who seem to prefer ruling in Hell over serving in Heaven.  Political violence is in the air.  An assassin shot a Congressman last year.  A political zealot assaulted and hospitalized a Senator.  We are surrounded by images of Trump with his head cut off.

As Trump increasingly succeeds in marginalizing a Deep State who thought that they alone were fit to rule, at what point can we expect a real plot to kill Caesar?  Because the Trump revolution is centered around the man himself - this is not an institution, it is a reflection of him as a force of nature.  Remove him, and you remove the force.  Vice President Pence is no Donald Trump, and likely would be made of the same material as the last few pathetic Roman boy Emperors.

But what happens then?  The forces rending the Republic will not be gone.  The forces that led to the election of Trump will not disappear.  Our Deep State will likely discover what the Roman Deep State found, that it would have been better to serve in Heaven than live in the Hell they unleashed.


Gorges Smythe said...

Whether Trump is assassinated or serves two terms, when he's gone, things will go to hell in a hurry.

Glen Filthie said...

I dunno guys.

The lunatic left really hasn’t had to face any push back yet. All they had to do was invoke the magical incantations of racism, homophobia, sexism or fascism ... and conservatives fell over themselves to appease them. I’ve told the libs in my family that people just like them got Trump elected, and that if they didn’t smarten up - if they thought Trump was bad... wait until they see the next guy.

It is my contention that Americans hate bullies, and that if the left is going to adopt bullying tactics, they will eventually get what’s coming to them. The Roman Deep State was going to end in chains or on a sword, and they opted to take as many of their countrymen with them. Our deep state will do the same.