Posted on 04 July 2011.
Cross-Posted from Chink in the Armor
In 62 BC, the Roman Senate was in a terrible state. They functioned more like a city council than as an imperial government. The influx of wealth and slaves from the Carthaginian wars meant business was more about banking and finance than anything else. Business men were more interested in state contracts and the financing of games than they were in trade, true commerce and the building of true wealth. It was all about pleasuring their egos and pandering to the hedonistic whims of the citizenry
Ruinous taxation impoverished the people compelling them to turn to the money lenders to meet their obligations and debt collection turned them into virtual, if not absolute slaves. This had the effect of concentrating the real wealth, the land, into fewer and fewer hands and the use of slaves in farming sent the landless poor to the larger cities which became populated with wretched human beings destitute of all moral and social development.
“At bottom, usury was the cancer of the Republic. […] seldom had a people sunk so low. Bereft of religion, morality and all the social virtues, the dole-fed masses wallowed in vice. Luxury begot brutality and brutality licence; licence led to celibacy, and childlessness became more and more prevalent. To these degenerates, licence, spelt liberty, but to the plutocrats, liberty spelt power, profit, and an unlimited scramble for wealth, until money became the sole link between man and man.”
On June 16, 1963, Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk sat down in the middle of the street in downtown Saigon, poured gasoline over himself and his robes and calmly set himself on fire to protest the religious persecution under the Diem regime which was supported by the US Government. The effect in South Vietnam was electric. Citizens who had heretofore cowered in their homes in fear of the police began to stand up in defiance of the regime.
Three years later, in May of 1966, Thich Nu Thanh Quang, a Buddhist nun, immolated herself in the city of Hue. By the end of the month, the US Consulate in Hue was set afire by angry mobs. The affect in this country was almost as dramatic. With brute force, it brought home to the psyche of America that we were the bad guys.
Just over a week ago, Tom Ball, a 21 year Army veteran from Massachusetts doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire in front of the Cheshire County Courthouse in Keene, NH. In February last year, Joe Stack flew his small plane into the IRS offices in Austin, TX. Just a few days ago, James Verone walked up to a teller at a Gastonia, NC bank and handed her a note. It said “This is a bank robbery, please only give me one dollar.” He did it so he could get medical care.
Just this year, on June 23rd, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the House Small Business Committee that the Obama administration believes taxes on small business must increase. “We’re not doing it because we want to do it, we’re doing it because if we don’t do it, [ … we will] have to go out and borrow a trillion dollars over the next 10 years to finance those tax benefits for the top 2 percent, and I don’t think I can justify doing that.”
Ruinous taxation, more money spent on games and pleasure than upon the creation of wealth, money lenders driving people into virtual slavery with onerous debt; a population bereft of religion and morality, a vicious scramble for wealth and now money is the sole link between man and man. Divorce, broken families, eugenics and childlessness preached from street side bill boards, the wealth drained from the nation so those in power can have just a little bit more, a devastated middle class.
In 61 BC, Rome was ripe for a man on a white horse. On September, 29th of that year, that man arrived. Pompey, a victorious general from the wars against the terrorists (pirates) who were raiding the shipping lanes of the eastern Mediterranean rode into town to upset the power balance between Porcius Cato and Licinius Crassus. Pompey aligned himself with Crassus and it was a period of great political tension. While all eyes were upon him, Julius Caesar, a member of the Populares party also arrived to stand for Consulship. Cato denied Caesar the triumph he expected from his victories in Spain and added Caesar to his enemies. In the ensuing struggle, Crassus and Pompey agreed to support Caesar for Consulship in exchange for political favors and repeal of certain taxes.
With Cato out of the way, it wasn’t long before the triumvirate were squabbling amongst themselves and a civil war between the forces and citizens loyal to Pompey and those loyal to Caesar broke out. In early January of 49 BC, Caesar “crossed the Rubicon” a shallow river in northeastern Italy forcing Pompey and the rest of the Senate to flee Rome. Caesar was victorious over Pompey in the ensuing civil war and he was never held accountable.
We haven’t seen our man on the white horse yet, but is it too far fetched to imagine it will happen? And when he comes, can he unite or will there be terrific division between competing factions? Could there be a military coup? It isn’t so far fetched and to read this, you can see it is something they are already thinking about. If so, would there be the counter coup? Add into that a cyclical view of history rather than a linear view and one can see historical pressures building up.
Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon and resolved the indecision and competing interests of Rome. He did this by fashioning his military to become an instrument of his will. His military was he and he was his military. His was a struggle of an entire people yearning for something new. Caesar was able to utilize all aspects of the empire: money, trade, propaganda and political manipulations as means to an end. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, he saw that in war, as in peace, opponents are equally fearful of each other and the first to set aside fears of the moment and act boldly has the best chance of victory.
Caesar saw that what Rome needed was a monarchial democracy; freedom and democracy, not licence and greed; a strong hand to rend order out of chaos. He destroyed the power of the money lenders by relieving the provinces of their money making governors and sent each of them at least 80,000 new citizens to promote democracy. His vision for a new social order is best explained by quoting a speech he made to a group of mutinous soldiers at Placentia in 49 BC:
“For no society of men whatever can preserve its unity and continue to exist if the criminal element is not punished, since, if the diseased member does not receive proper treatment, it causes all the rest, even as in our own physical bodies to share in its affliction. […] For wherever the insolent element has the advantage wherever wrong-doing is unpunished, there self restraint also goes unrewarded […]”
At the root of it all is money as debt. It nearly destroyed Rome and it is on the verge of destroying this country. It is (one of) the duty (ies) of the sovereign to produce the coin of the realm. In this country, the sovereign, which in this country is manifested by the central government in Washington DC, abdicated that power to a group of men for their private profit nearly 100 years ago. Until this duty is reclaimed by the sovereign, just like Rome before the arrival of Julius Caesar, the problems we face will not be solved.
 A Military History of the Western World by Maj. General J.F.C. Fuller page 177
 Div’s Roman History, translated by E. Cary (1916), XLI, 29-30
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