As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see "the River Tiber foaming with much blood."
Enoch Powell was one of the first politicians to be de-platformed. As with most of these sorts of innovations, this happened in the Old World in the 1960s. I posted about this seven years ago, although Google can no longer find this; DuckDuckGo can, though (and that tells you everything you need to know about search engines):
45 years ago last month, British MP Enoch Powell gave a stunning speech. In it, he looked on the immigration of foreign peoples into the Kingdom and the way that this was changing the UK's culture. It was widely criticized by all Right Thinking People® but at the same time was wildly popular with working class Britons. Indeed, a thousand dockworkers marched on Parliament in protest when Powell was sacked from his positions of leadership.
Dockworkers marching in support of a Tory politician.
The most famous line in his speech is where he quoted Virgil:As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood'.He was roundly damned for his "inflammatory" and "racist" remarks. And so the British Political Class went back to sleep - indeed, the last Labour government intentionally accelerated immigration to make the UK "less British".
Today we saw the occupation of the Capitol building by people "annoyed" by what they (and many others) see as the theft of a Presidential election. The protesters chased off first the Capitol Hill police and then the Congress itself. It looks like one women lost her life, shot by a cop. We'll have to see - early news is notoriously unreliable.
But looking at this, I thought of Virgil. He of course, did not make up the Aeneid out of whole cloth; Virgil wrote propaganda for the first Roman Emperor, Augustus. The Aeneid was propaganda, but what propaganda. It made Caesar Augustus' family history into legend. Because it was propaganda, it was exaggeration, but it was useful exaggeration to Augustus who while not related to the Great Leaders of the previous century was able to deftly exploit those leaders' exploits to his own advantage.
The most important leader at the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic was Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, He was the guy who noticed that while the Roman Republic had swept all foreign enemies before it, the working class had suffered despite the great riches of empire. Tiberius Gracchus decided to run for public office despite his great family wealth, and to put forth his formidable political skills to benefit the Roman Working Joe. He failed, because the Roman political establishment buried their traditional political differences in the face of Gracchus' challenge, and in fact had him killed.
In short, the Roman Deep State closed ranks to block needed reform. It was the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic as long cherished political norms (Mos Maiorum) were cast aside. And so two generations of the Roman political elite were exterminated in a civil war so profound that what was left of the exhausted Republican Elite welcomed the first Imperator with open arms because he ended the civil wars.
Throughout this whole period in Roman History, the Law was supreme. Of course, the Law bent to the prevailing political winds. As the Roman said, "The Law is harsh, but it is the Law". Dura Lex, sed Lex.
Donald Trump is the Tiberius Gracchus of our day. He is the guy who noticed that while the American Republic had swept all foreign enemies before it, the working class had suffered despite the great riches of empire. Donald Trump decided to run for public office despite his great family wealth, and to put forth his formidable political skills to benefit the American Working Joe. He failed, because the American political establishment buried their traditional political differences in the face of Trump's challenge, and in fact had him [well, we'll have to see if they let him live free, or jail him, or kill him].
But Tiberius Gracchus had many supporters, who didn't let the Roman political elite rest easy. Likewise with Donald Trump, as we saw today:
Some of Gracchus' supporters were killed, as we saw today. Looking forward, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see the river Potomac foaming with much blood. We're already started, it seems. The only questions really remaining is who is to play the part of Augustus Caesar, and how many of the elite families (and, it must be said, other families) must die before a grateful Republic reaches for their savior Emperor?
But the Founding Fathers knew about the failings of the Roman Republic. They strived to avoid them in their Republic. As a student of history I must say that they avoided the Roman pitfalls for 200 years. Not bad at all.
Never mind that the Romans avoided these for almost 500 years. God Save this Honorable Republic.