LAJ ARTICLES

The oligarch advantage. And Trump

Caesar v Trump. A look back present and forward 500x450 1 34

In my last post I described the ‘type’ characteristics of Trump political legitimacy, he has popular appeal, a form of charisma, a power that will giveth and taketh away. It’s appealing but can’t be preserved without the temperance of the elites.

Into Facebook I tried to explain a phenomenon and to keep it simple, comparing Oligarch Trump to the Oligarch Gracchi brothers. It’s a fair enough comparison, here I will go into detail, it’s not a square peg into round hole.
Grachii. At the end of the 2nd century BC, Rome had won the Punic Wars against its Mediterranean rival that had been fought for in big and small battles for almost for over 100 years
Rome massively increased its territory and had ‘bigly’ increased its tax revenues from the newly conquered peoples, enriching many members of its patricians and left a greatly expanded army that were then demobbed and left to go back to their farms.
But…many of these soldiers’ farms had been brought up on the cheap by landowners who were made a killing off the wars. As such, many soldiers had no small plot of land to go back to, and as such had to join the growing ranks of urban poor who had been forced into the cities due to the expansion of the slave estates.
Enter stage left Tiberius Gracchus of the Grachii family. An Oligarch of his time. The Patricians, of which Tiberius was a member, were increasing their virtus (virtue), dignitas (dignity or character) and gloria (not just glory, but also reputation for success) of them and their family name. Tiberius had proven the three signifiers of a worthy Roman by not only being descended from a legendary Roman general, but also having been the first man over the walls of Carthage, and surviving. He was also related to the general that led the final campaign against Carthage, Scipio Aemilianus. He then served as quaestor Mancinus in Numantia (Spain), and negotiated a peace treaty with the Numantine tribesmen, saving the Roman army from destruction and saving Tiberius’s career. These events made him one of the most prominent individuals in Rome, and left him ideally positioned to enter politics and further add to his reputation.
Tiberius was elected Tribune of the People which presided over the Concilium Plebis, or people’s assembly and which could summon the Senate; could propose legislation and could intervene on behalf of Plebeians in legal matters. He pushed for reorganising public lands that were owned by the state and which placed a limit on how much land a man could own. Many richer citizens owned land well above this limit and were left alone to accrue more wealth to their names, while anyone else was punished.
Tiberius formulated a law which fined those who held over the limit of allotted land and require them to forfeit illegal possessions to the public land, for which they would receive compensation. The senatorial elites opposed the law, claiming Tiberius was aiming for redistribution of wealth, thereby shaking the foundations of the Republic and possibly inciting social revolution. Furthermore, Tiberius called for the redistribution of the re-confiscated public land to the poor and homeless in Rome, giving them plots on which to support them and their families. The law sought to solve the twin problems of increasing the number of men eligible for military service, boosting Rome’s military strength, while also providing for homeless war veterans.
The Senate were strongly against the Sempronian agrarian reforms and he sidestepped the Senate by going straight to the People’s Assembly which supported his measures. This wasn’t against the law or tradition, but it was insulting to the Senate.
To coerce passing of the laws he shut down the entire city of Rome, all businesses, trade and production, until the Senate and the Assembly passed the laws.
The reforms passed with great popular acclaim.
And then, he was killed on the way to his re-election in the Forum, his head came off and his body thrown into the Tiber along with 300 of his supporters. The elites recomposed,  but not enough, soon there was mob rule, the Roman State became weaker and more irrelevant throughout the 1st century BC, with a succession of generals taking on more and more power and further eroding the power of the Senatorial lawmakers.
Forward to today, America has seen a door open onto something that can’t be shut away again. I believe that in the long run, the end result will be American Imperium. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go and probably much instability, civil unrest and perhaps civil war before it happens. And, it will.
The end?

Into Facebook I tried to explain a phenomenon and to keep it simple, comparing Oligarch Trump to the Oligarch Gracchi brothers. It’s a fair enough comparison, here I will go into detail, it’s not a square peg into round hole.
Grachii. At the end of the 2nd century BC, Rome had won the Punic Wars against its Mediterranean rival that had been fought for in big and small battles for almost for over 100 years
Rome massively increased its territory and had ‘bigly’ increased its tax revenues from the newly conquered peoples, enriching many members of its patricians and left a greatly expanded army that were then demobbed and left to go back to their farms.
But…many of these soldiers’ farms had been brought up on the cheap by landowners who were made a killing off the wars. As such, many soldiers had no small plot of land to go back to, and as such had to join the growing ranks of urban poor who had been forced into the cities due to the expansion of the slave estates.
Enter stage left Tiberius Gracchus of the Grachii family. An Oligarch of his time. The Patricians, of which Tiberius was a member, were increasing their virtus (virtue), dignitas (dignity or character) and gloria (not just glory, but also reputation for success) of them and their family name. Tiberius had proven the three signifiers of a worthy Roman by not only being descended from a legendary Roman general, but also having been the first man over the walls of Carthage, and surviving. He was also related to the general that led the final campaign against Carthage, Scipio Aemilianus. He then served as quaestor Mancinus in Numantia (Spain), and negotiated a peace treaty with the Numantine tribesmen, saving the Roman army from destruction and saving Tiberius’s career. These events made him one of the most prominent individuals in Rome, and left him ideally positioned to enter politics and further add to his reputation.
Tiberius was elected Tribune of the People which presided over the Concilium Plebis, or people’s assembly and which could summon the Senate; could propose legislation and could intervene on behalf of Plebeians in legal matters. He pushed for reorganising public lands that were owned by the state and which placed a limit on how much land a man could own. Many richer citizens owned land well above this limit and were left alone to accrue more wealth to their names, while anyone else was punished.
Tiberius formulated a law which fined those who held over the limit of allotted land and require them to forfeit illegal possessions to the public land, for which they would receive compensation. The senatorial elites opposed the law, claiming Tiberius was aiming for redistribution of wealth, thereby shaking the foundations of the Republic and possibly inciting social revolution. Furthermore, Tiberius called for the redistribution of the re-confiscated public land to the poor and homeless in Rome, giving them plots on which to support them and their families. The law sought to solve the twin problems of increasing the number of men eligible for military service, boosting Rome’s military strength, while also providing for homeless war veterans.
The Senate were strongly against the Sempronian agrarian reforms and he sidestepped the Senate by going straight to the People’s Assembly which supported his measures. This wasn’t against the law or tradition, but it was insulting to the Senate.
To coerce passing of the laws he shut down the entire city of Rome, all businesses, trade and production, until the Senate and the Assembly passed the laws.
The reforms passed with great popular acclaim.
And then, he was killed on the way to his re-election in the Forum, his head came off and his body thrown into the Tiber along with 300 of his supporters. The elites recomposed,  but not enough, soon there was mob rule, the Roman State became weaker and more irrelevant throughout the 1st century BC, with a succession of generals taking on more and more power and further eroding the power of the Senatorial lawmakers.
Forward to today, America has seen a door open onto something that can’t be shut away again. I believe that in the long run, the end result will be American Imperium. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go and probably much instability, civil unrest and perhaps civil war before it happens. And, it will.
The end?

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