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David G
12-19-2016, 07:57 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/19/opinion/how-republics-end.html?smid=fb-share&_r=1

Many people are reacting to the rise of Trumpism and nativist movements in Europe by reading history — specifically, the history of the 1930s. And they are right to do so. It takes willful blindness not to see the parallels between the rise of fascism and our current political nightmare.

But the ’30s isn’t the only era with lessons to teach us. Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the ancient world. Initially, I have to admit, I was doing it for entertainment and as a refuge from news that gets worse with each passing day. But I couldn’t help noticing the contemporary resonances of some Roman history — specifically, the tale of how the Roman Republic fell.

Here’s what I learned: Republican institutions don’t protect against tyranny when powerful people start defying political norms. And tyranny, when it comes, can flourish even while maintaining a republican facade.

Gerarddm
12-19-2016, 09:12 PM
They end like this.

Or they CAN, at any rate. And it may be easier than we think.

ahp
12-19-2016, 09:48 PM
Radical political changes usually happen when a society is under real stress. We are not. We could walk away from the Middle East. Corporate America is doing just fine. We have the biggest economy and the biggest, and best military. Why oh why are electing a person like DT? That is my view, and I suspect the view of the well educated and reasonably affluent, but not all.

There is another view, view of the "left behind". They are frightened of being left behind. Their fear is rational. The future has no place for them. Worse, the foreigners are taking their place. Changes are happening and they don't understand.

skuthorp
12-19-2016, 10:03 PM
"There is another view, view of the "left behind". They are frightened of being left behind. Their fear is rational. The future has no place for them. Worse, the foreigners are taking their place. Changes are happening and they don't understand."

That is very true AHP, and the 'left behind' are expanding. There are more people than capital and industry need.

Too Little Time
12-19-2016, 10:08 PM
I had just finished that article. I agree with a lot of it. If not most.

David G
12-20-2016, 12:34 AM
On the first point: Roman politics involved fierce competition among ambitious men. But for centuries that competition was constrained by some seemingly unbreakable rules. Here’s what Adrian Goldsworthy’s “In the Name of Rome” says (https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/810486960728981505): “However important it was for an individual to win fame and add to his and his family’s reputation, this should always be subordinated to the good of the Republic … no disappointed Roman politician sought the aid of a foreign power.”

America used to be like that, with prominent senators declaring (http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/Featured_Bio_Vandenberg.htm) that we must stop “partisan politics at the water’s edge.” But now we have a president-elect who openly asked Russia to help smear his opponent, and all indications are that the bulk of his party was and is just fine with that. (A new poll (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/gop-russia-putin-support-232714) shows that Republican approval of Vladimir Putin has surged even though — or, more likely, precisely because — it has become clear that Russian intervention played an important role in the U.S. election.) Winning domestic political struggles is all that matters, the good of the republic be damned.

PeterSibley
12-20-2016, 12:40 AM
"There is another view, view of the "left behind". They are frightened of being left behind. Their fear is rational. The future has no place for them. Worse, the foreigners are taking their place. Changes are happening and they don't understand."

That is very true AHP, and the 'left behind' are expanding. There are more people than capital and industry need.

and the "left behind" will continue to increase, computerisation of any work that can be systemised. The outlook is dire for employment and it will breed vast numbers of unemployed.

David G
12-20-2016, 01:41 AM
I can imagine such a future. And I can imagine it going a variety of ways. Will we continue the slide toward a permanent 'underclass'... a New Feudalsim... or something else ugly and exploitative? Or will we get creative somehow?

seanz
12-20-2016, 02:01 AM
If you're not in the 1%, you've been left behind.

David G
12-20-2016, 12:16 PM
If you're not in the 1%, you've been left behind.

I'd quibble about the percentage. I think a larger chunk of the wealthy are seeing gains in their income/wealth. But, yes, it's way too small a %. It really does become dysfunctional - both for the economy, and for the Republic.

Waddie
12-20-2016, 03:02 PM
So now the election of Donald Trump equates with the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Totalitarianism in the West...... Hitler, I suppose....... Jeeeeze....

But, yes, a large segment of our population is being left behind. The outlook for high school grads, without further training, is bleak. The trouble is, too many high school grads can't read well enough or count high enough to be trained at our technical schools...so yes, they really are doomed. Unless a new factory opens nearby.......

regards,
Waddie

Osborne Russell
12-20-2016, 03:30 PM
So now the election of Donald Trump equates with the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Totalitarianism in the West...... Hitler, I suppose....... Jeeeeze....



Fall of the Republic, not the Empire.

seanz
12-20-2016, 03:32 PM
Fall of the Republic, not the Empire.

Save your breath...


Here's a cheery thought. Hitler was elected.

David G
12-20-2016, 07:44 PM
I can imagine such a future. And I can imagine it going a variety of ways. Will we continue the slide toward a permanent 'underclass'... a New Feudalsim... or something else ugly and exploitative? Or will we get creative somehow?

Some think one of the ways to address changing labor and technology realities is a universal income. Elon Musk, known to be farsighted, is one such. But no amount of creativity will matter if we allow rapacious crony capitalism to empty the treasury --

http://mashable.com/2016/11/05/elon-musk-universal-basic-income/#wyGZwF5.smq3

Osborne Russell
12-21-2016, 10:43 AM
Save your breath...


Here's a cheery thought. Hitler was elected.

Cheery indeed.

Caesar and Augustus were granted their powers by the Senate. What did that signify? Like some guy said, republics end by suicide.