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An American Storm Before the Storm

[1]3,395 words

Mike Duncan
The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic
New York: Public Affairs, 2017

If the United States is anywhere on the Roman timeline, it must be somewhere between the great wars of conquest and the rise of the Caesars.

— Mike Duncan

Following the selfie-fest at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, the former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger compared the event to some sort of “Nazi” coup. Frankly, I’m tired of “Hitler” comparisons — “Hitler” and “Nazi” are devil words, just meaningless invective.

However, historical comparisons can be valuable if properly applied. Recent events in America can be compared to the series of crises in the Roman Republic that took place between 133 and 78 BC. These crises set the stage for the well-recounted conflict between Julius Caesar, Pompey, Caesar Augustus, and Mark Antony.

The story of Julius Caesar and company is well told. In 2005, HBO produced an outstanding miniseries [2] on the affair. Much less is written about Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, Gaius Marius, and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, although the late Colleen McCullough wrote an outstanding series of historical fiction novels collectively called Masters of Rome that explore their lives and times.

The Roman Republic’s problems start the moment Carthage, Rome’s Semitic rival to mastery of the Mediterranean world, was destroyed. In the wake of Carthage’s ruin, the wealth of the entire Mediterranean flowed into Roman hands, but this blessing turned out to have a big catch: the economy of Rome became completely unbalanced. The rich got richer, the poor got poorer.

To explain, Roman soldiers were drawn from the citizenry and all were expected to eventually deploy. For the most part, they were small landowners. In the past, these citizens were mustered for war after planting and discharged just before the harvest. This callus-handed citizenry had repulsed Hannibal and conquered all of Italy. But as Rome began to conquer territories further away, deployments became longer and soldiers returned to farms in ruins. These farmers started to take to sharecropping or other jobs lower on the economic ladder.

Meanwhile, the wealthy purchased and imported slaves, further driving down labor prices. A considerable portion of Rome’s citizenry became dispossessed and angry. 

Tiberius Gracchus, a war hero from an influential family, proposed a land reform scheme to alleviate the problem. To get around the Senate, which opposed the reforms, Tiberius enacted a series of political tricks that were legal but violated long-established Roman political customs called the mos maiorum

Eventually, there was a government shutdown. After the shutdown was resolved, Tiberius organized a vote to depose Octavius, the Tribune that was blocking the reform. Tiberius also used money from a Roman-controlled Greek kingdom to further his plan after the Senate refused to fund the implementation of his land reforms. When Tiberius ran for reelection, a Senator named Nasica led an armed mob to kill three hundred people and beat Tiberius to death.

The Roman political class was playing with dynamite, and there were more problems on the way. Rome’s Italian allies were deploying legions as well, but they didn’t share in the spoils of war. The same economic factors in Rome applied to the rest of Italy. Since the Italians were not citizens, they had even less of a chance for a political solution. This further raised the political temperature.

Gaius Gracchus, Tiberius’ younger brother, proposed a reform to relieve the pressure several years after Tiberius’ murder. Citizens were to be paid to build roads, the landless could go to a colony built upon ruins of Carthage, military deployments would be better rewarded, etc. Gaius’ ideas were completely reasonable. Indeed, Gaius kept clear of private corruption, which was very unusual for the time. He became a champion of the poorer Romans as well as the other Italians. His plans were thwarted by “establishment” politicians using various parliamentarian tricks, like dividing likely Gaius voters with different colonization plans. When wolves carried away the boundary stakes of the colony in Carthage, anti-populist Senators claimed the gods were not in favor of the reforms.

Eventually, there was a tussle in the Senate (much like January 6) that led to the murder of a servant. This gave the anti-Gracchus faction an excuse to murder Gaius. After a daylong battle, where Gaius’ faction was defeated, Gaius retreated and implored his slave to cut his throat. What happened to Gaius’ head afterward is an interesting story in its own right, but more importantly, the establishment faction of the Senate had lost their final opportunity to establish reasonable reforms. Roman politics then crystallized around two factions: the “Optimates” (i.e. the Senate-backed establishment) and the “Populares” (the free citizens of Rome that supported populist reforms.) The two parties were bitterly opposed and the political center collapsed.

Throughout this time, Rome became filled with demagogues. Since one man’s demagogue is another man’s visionary, I will define demagoguery as politicians identifying problems that rile up their base to gain support, but never doing anything to resolve them.

Eventually, Gaius Marius emerged. He rose to fame through military service and marriage to a woman from a patrician family. He would soon be called to fight in North Africa.

Following a royal succession crisis in the North African kingdom of Numidia, Jugurtha, the most capable prince of the royal family, sent agents to kill his adoptive brother Hiempsal. This led to a war with Adherbal, the other brother. Both sides appealed to Rome, and a compromise for joint rule was reached. However, Jugurtha had spent time in Rome, understood its politics to a degree, and went about bribing Senators. Things went bad for Jugurtha just as he killed Adherbal. After the slaying, Jugurtha’s army killed Italian merchants that had settled in Numidia in a rampage.

Rome mobilized for war to avenge the massacre. Jugurtha’s bribery had only stirred the resentment of those that didn’t get bribed, and those who took Jugurtha’s money were painted into a political corner. The Romans deployed to North Africa, and Gaius Marius did well enough to look good politically. The war in Numidia was a guerilla war, and Marius was able to use Lucius Cornelius Sulla, a patrician former playboy and lay-about, to become friends with Jugurtha’s allies in the Mauritanian Royal Court to get the Mauritanians to turn over Jugurtha.

[3]

You can buy Greg Johnson’s Here’s the Thing here. [4]

Marius, aided by Sulla, went on to defeat an invading northern tribe called the Cimbri. This war was a foreshadowing of the conquest of Rome by Germanic Tribes in the Sixth Century AD. The Cimbri probably originated in Jutland. [1] [5] The defeat of the Cimbri and Jugurtha were rays of light on an otherwise frustrating Roman military scene. Roman deployments to Spain were a high-casualty slog that demoralized the citizenry and further worsened disparities between the rich and poor in Central Italy. Rome thus gained two great heroes, Marius and Sulla, but they stood atop a crumbling political scene.

Then came the Social War. Rome’s closest allies revolted. During the Social War, Sulla started to eclipse Marius in the public eye, and Marius’ political enemies organized in support of Sulla. When war broke out with the Pontic Greeks, Marius was not awarded command to fight them. Marius convinced an ally in the Senate to reverse this decision and a riot broke out in Rome. Sulla then called his army to march on Rome to resolve the situation in his favor.

After Sulla turned his army on Rome, the Republic was effectively finished. Sulla died in 78 BC, and his reforms had not stopped the increasing instability. Roman politics became personal, uncompromising, and deadly. The precedent set with the murder of Tiberius Gracchus had grown to be a monster. There was no longer any reason to quote laws to men with swords.

America and the Problems that Led to Trump’s “March on Rome”

The Trump presidency and the Great Capitol Selfie Fest of 2021 parallel the problems of the end of the Roman Republic.

Africa in Our Midst

The queen of the problems in America is the African Question. While there are problems in other areas with other people like the Jews, the Sub-Saharans dominate the board when it comes to social difficulties. The 1964 Civil Rights Act was supposed to be a small tweak for justice to help solve these issues, but this act has become a second constitution [6].

The Act’s status as a second constitution brings about further problems. Since the act didn’t make Africans behave better, it must be used in an extralegal way to suppress free speech. People are fired all the time for correctly pointing out Negro issues. Suppress speech in one area, then speech elsewhere can be suppressed. Problems don’t get recognized or solved. They get covered up, which ensures they become worse.

Also implied within the Act is the demonization of whites and all American accomplishment before the Act. Then, any group that can analogize as sub-Saharans in the South in the 1950s/60s is given the same special status as sub-Saharans, even if they show up and plan to commit terrorism from the get-go. Finally, the 1964 Civil Rights Act forces people to lie. “Trans” people are effectively covered, so perverted men are now “women” and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Another problem is that Africans have too much political representation in the United States (though the opposite is asserted). Because they bloc vote in one party and because the South holds its primaries on Super Tuesday, the sub-Saharan vote can sink a presidential candidate’s chances in a single day. Thus the Democratic Party must heed sub-Saharan concerns above all others. Additionally, the large ghettos in the North make sub-Saharans the perfect tool for election fraud as seen in 2020.

Leftist Violence and the Unequal Application of Laws

The special status provided to Sub-Saharans and other non-whites, such as non-white Jihadists, is applied through the toleration of Leftist or Sub-Saharan violence and the unequal enforcement of laws related to the violence.

This situation started within days of the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Sub-Saharans rioted in Rochester, New York. This was the start of a decade of rioting that was rewarded by giveaway programs from the Johnson administration’s Great Society. Politicians from the Democratic Party explained away the riots, and the Angelic African, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., called the riots “the voice of the unheard.”

After Trump’s presidential campaign started to build momentum, Leftists started to attack Trump rallies. The biggest attack was in Chicago in March 2016. Nobody in the mainstream media or Democratic Party condemned the attack. Few were arrested, and the charges were dropped. During Trump’s inauguration, Antifa activists burned cars and attacked small businesses. While many were arrested, they were soon let go.

During the summer of 2020, hundreds of cities burned due to BLM and Antifa violence. The Pentagon had a quiet mutiny when prodded to quell the disorder, even when BLM protestors threatened the White House.

Leftists that carried out terrorist bombings in the 1960s/70s have professorships now. Right-leaning academics that attend a Trump rally are fired. The Pentagon has given “shoot to kill” orders against pro-Trump protestors in the wake of January 6.

The Immigration Crisis & the Citizenship Issue

The closest analogy to Rome and the Italians wanting Roman citizenship that led to the Social War in the United States is the status of the inhabitants of America’s conquests from the Spanish-American War and the islands captured from Japan after World War II. In that case, the problem was averted quickly. Americans extended citizenship to Puerto Ricans and others while allowing the Filipinos to become independent in their own nation-state.

Guam, Samoan, Micronesian, and Puerto Rican citizenship is not the issue, though. The problem is immigration flowing from the 1965 Immigration Act, which favors the whole of the Third World. American immigration policy since 1965 has destabilized the American demographic scene enough that whites are beginning to circle the wagons and become increasingly unwilling to contribute to public goods.

Additionally, there is a large number of foreign arrivals that cannot hope to assimilate into American culture and are deeply alienated from it. These newcomers are drawn to the structures of anti-white oppression made available by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. 

The American Demagogues

America has had demagoguery since the start, but its present form began after the Civil Rights Act. This demagoguery follows a pattern.

The Democrats and other Leftists rally their sub-Saharan base by claiming that it is only they who stand athwart the emergence of some sort of KKK society. In 2012, a fatal interaction between a Hispanic night watchman [7] and a negro thug was used by the Obama Campaign to rally Africans and white negro-worshipers to his campaign.

This event crystalized into the well-supported Black Lives Matter movement. Other events followed the pattern. Michael Brown riots and statements were the same in 2014 as in 2012. In 2016, BLM riots featured the deliberate murder of police officers. The spring and summer of 2020 were the same, but more supported by the establishment and mainstream media.

None of the political elite condemned the riots and no leader emerged encouraging sub-Saharans to leave racist America for their homeland in Africa, despite the United States’ considerable influence over the black nations of Somalia, Djibouti, and Haiti.

The Republicans also engage in demagoguery, but in a more contemptible and cowardly form. They mostly stir up white social and religious conservatives with appeals to “Life.” They rally against abortion, but don’t seek to end it. As Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush hyped up the case of Terri Schiavo, an unfortunate woman in a permanent vegetative state whose family disagreed on whether or not to end artificial life support. Jeb Bush wished to use the case to rally the “Pro-Life” crowd and gain higher office. The late Senator John was a demagogue in the sense he campaigned on building a wall and ending Obamacare but dropped the positions once re-elected.

[8]

You can buy Greg Johnson’s Graduate School with Heidegger here [9]

The Criminalization of Policy Differences

There is no faster way to end a republic than to criminalize policy differences. This probably started during the Iran-Contra Scandal in the 1980s but went into high gear during the supposed “peaceful transfer of power” between the Obama and Trump administrations.

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, Trump’s pick for National Security advisor, was railroaded for “lying to the FBI.” The FBI was likely set on Flynn before Trump’s inauguration [10]. The issue wasn’t actual criminal behavior on the part of Flynn — his entire career was one of honest and selfless service. The FBI went after Flynn for policy differences involving immigration, support for Israel, and involvement in overseas conflicts.

Additionally, the undercurrent of Trump’s first impeachment was differences in American support for Ukraine. Almost all of the impeachers were Jews. It is not difficult to draw up a theory that these Jews supported American involvement in the Ukrainian conflict due to an irrational ethnic animus against Russians [11].

Regardless, nothing that happens between Ukraine and Russia can negatively impact Americans unless the American government chooses to go there to make trouble.

The Mainstream Media is Biased, Dishonest, & Not Believed

There has probably never been a time that journalism wasn’t biased, with a heavy heaping of dishonesty [12] in every article. There’s also been significant Jewish influence in the press, like that of the scold Dorothy Thompson [13]. (I invite the readers to research Thompson’s life on their own.)

The dishonesty and bias of the media first become apparent following Nixon’s election to the presidency, which itself was a response to the disasters following the Civil Rights Act. The media dropped any pretense of neutrality and were hostile toward Nixon until he was ousted after Watergate.

The press has become even more dishonest in the meantime. Bearing in mind the Jewish angle described above, the mainstream media supported attacking Iraq in 2003 and then turned on President Bush as soon as Iraqi society had fallen apart to a degree that it was no longer a threat to Israel. There was even a clumsy attempt to destroy Bush with a fake memo [14].

In the Trump years, this dishonesty got worse. “Sources” that brought out alleged misdeeds by Trump were often misrepresented. In the final days of the 2020 election, Ron Unz wrote that [15] 

. . . the hard drive of an abandoned laptop owned by Joe Biden’s son Hunter revealed a gigantic international corruption scheme, quite possibly involving the candidate himself. But the facts of this enormous political scandal were entirely ignored and boycotted by virtually every mainstream media outlet. And once the story was finally published in the pages of the New York Post, America’s oldest newspaper, all links to the Post article and its website were suddenly banned by Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets to ensure that the voters remained ignorant until after they had cast their ballots.

Renowned international journalist Glenn Greenwald was hardly a Trump partisan, but he became outraged that the editors of the Intercept, the $100 million publication he himself had co-founded, refused to allow him to cover that massive media scandal, and he angrily resigned in protest. In effect, America’s media and tech giants formed a united front to steal the election and somehow drag the crippled Biden/Harris ticket across the finish line.

The mainstream media continue to be the central focus of the national narrative but have made no efforts to reform, especially when alternative viewpoints are easily discovered on the internet. Consider that Trump’s support increased throughout his term in the face of unhinged media hostility.

The Economic and Marital Crisis

Ashli Babbitt, the pro-Trump protestor that was murdered in the Capitol is a cookie-cutter example of the economic and marital crisis. Babbitt was divorced, had no children, and her business was in trouble, like so many others were during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gears of society have been set so that it is difficult for young people to get a job that can support a family. Women are not encouraged to be mothers. There is now a large cohort of underemployed single people that are ready to be organized into a mob. Small retailers are being squeezed out of the market by Amazon and other large internet operators. They can also have their means of payment cut off by Big Tech oligarchs.

The Foreign Policy Crisis

Finally, the series of disastrous foreign policies launched by the American government since Lyndon Baines Johnson escalated the Vietnam Conflict created a cohort of frustrated, patriotic veterans. There’s been the Iraq War, the slog in Afghanistan, the Beirut bombing, and the Arab Spring. The most recent foul-up is the failure of the coup in Venezuela in 2019 and a smaller coup in 2020. These were planned by expert foreign policy chicken hawks and they ended in failure.

Furthermore, calls for interventions and aggressive military action are increasingly made by Jews with no military experience and no close friends or family in the service.

America’s Pending Rubicon?

The Roman Republic’s last chance for reform died with Tiberius Gracchus. A little more than 80 years later, Julius Caesar would put an end to the Senate’s mischief, although it cost Caesar his life. Roman culture flowered under the next twelve Caesars, but much virtue was lost with the Roman Republic. It is easier to go to the games and eat government bread than to be a citizen soldier who works with his hands and votes for contentious issues, but far less satisfying.

Oligarchs in America are tearing down a modern-day Tiberius Gracchus. But like the Roman Senate, today’s establishment hasn’t really won. The problems described above remain. Killing a Twitter account cannot deliver necessary reform. It just delays the inevitable and makes the final explosion bigger.

The worst thing in store for America might not be a Caesar, but something like Lebanon’s situation made permanent. 

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Notes

[1] [19] There is a case to be made that they were related to the Welsh: Cimbri is similar to Cymru, the word for Wales.