Monday, December 29, 2008

Leftism and the Brief History of Republics

I have touched on this topic in previous Republic of Utica posts. Every Republic and democracy in history has had Liberals, or a left, trying to undermine its foundations. In a way this is something that should confort Conservatives at this dark hour of the Republic, and in another it would not. These Leftists have always been with us. There is nothing new under the Sun as regards them. On the other hand, they have successfully undermined every free country that ever existed.

It begins more than a thousand years before the birth of Christ, in Israel, the Promised Land. It was I Samuel 8. The Israelites had been freed from slavery under Pharoah. After Joshua led the people into the Promised Land, then began the era of the Judges. The people were free, and had no King, they lived by God's Law, arbitrated by judges. In Chapter 8 of Samuel it says that the people of Israel clammored for a King, like the other nations surrounding Israel had. It is much the same as Liberals today who want to have a Socialist Dictator or Oligarchy just like the rest of the nations of the world.

Samuel warned the Israelites (NIV I Sam 11-20) "10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle [b] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles." "

They did not want to be free and rely on God, as He intended. They wanted a despot. Later on, in the Books of Kings and Chronicles, after the reigns of Saul, David and Solomon, Solomon's son Rehoboam took the throne. When the people asked for tax relief and a reduction of corvee, Rehoboam responded that his thumb would be thicker than his father's waist, that his father chastised them with whips and he would chastise them with scorpions. So ends that sad episode.

The story continues several centuries later, when Athens and Sparta were at war, there had been a stalemate in the beginning, Athens dominating the sea, Sparta and her Army ruled the land. Generally speaking, in wars of Elephant vs Whale, the elephant has the advantage, as he can learn to swim, but on land a whale is just a beached whale. As the war progressed, Sparta slowly built herself a fleet and got breathing space to do so in the wake of the Athenian debacle at Syracuse in 411 BC. In 405 BC the Athenians met the Spartan Navy at a small island archipelago known as Arginusai. Already the Athenians were dividing their command, but still pulled out a successful victory. The Admirals who led the battle sent out rescue ships to pick up survivors of sunk ships, however, a storm came up and the rescuers were prevented from doing their work. Some of the survivors of downed vessels returned to Athens and sought to bring the Admirals up on charges. They were charged, convicted and executed. But evidence showed that they were innocent of wrongdoing. Yes, there was political correctness in Ancient Athens. And what was the result of it? The very next year the Athenian fleet met the Spartan at a place called Aigospotami and there the Spartans crushed them. Sparta ruled both on land and at sea and the Athenians surrendered. Did the Athenians learn from this result to do away with their PC madness? No, they executed Socrates, their best man, for "corrupting the youth" several years later. Many of the best men of Athens, like Plato and Xenophon, came to realize that the Spartans deserved to win.

Even Sparta had its Liberals. Most are familiar with the movie "300." It wasn't a bad movie, although there were many historical inaccuracies. The traitorous character of Theron, while fictional did have some historical basis. Several Spartan leaders, among them the former King Demaratus, were in Xerxes' camp, helping him. And many Greeks of all cities didn't want to upset the King of Persia, so they favored kow-towing to him and surrendering. This was called "Medizing" and several cities of Greece, including Thebes, Medized. Those who fought at Thermopylai and Plataia and Salamis were accused of many of the same things that those who favor fighting in the War on Terror today are- that they would make the tyrants hate us, that submission to the tyrant wasnt worth going to war over. How different would history have been if we had listened to these Ancient Greek Leftists?

The mighty Republic of Rome had no end to its Leftist demagogues, sadly. In the War with Hannibal the things they accused the Roman leadership of might be exactly word for word what modern Leftists accuse George W Bush of in Iraq. If not for the illiteracy and ignorance of the Antiwar Left, one might think they took a page from Rome's Leftist opposition of 217-216 BC.

Quintus Fabius Maximus Cunctator (the Delayer) was appointed Dictator (it was Constitutional, Roman Law provided for a six-month Dictatorship in times of emergency) and he tried to erode what little manpower Hannibal had with ambushes, raids on supply lines and other minor skirmishes. This was done because Hannibal could not make good his losses and would run out quick, and also Fabius knew that no Roman General could defeat him. The Roman Left, led by one Gaius Terentius Varro, made the ludicrous claim that this war with Hannibal was easily ended but that the Conservative forces were prolonging it in order to keep the plebians down. It kind of reminds one of the present days, where the Conservative leadership has been saddled with equally ludicrous claims about the War in Iraq. As the Bible says, there is nothing new under the Sun.

At any rate, Varro got himself elected Consul for the year 216 BC. By that time, Hannibal's forces had been depleted by the Fabian tactics and his Spanish mercenaries were plotting to desert to the Romans (which would have rendered his Army combat ineffective). But on August 2, 216 BC Varro led the Roman Army straight into a trap set by Hannibal at a place called Cannae. It was the greatest military disaster perhaps in all Roman history. The more faint-hearted among the Romans talked of fleeing Italy for Illyria in the wake of this battle. The three greatest cities in Italy and Sicily- Capua, Tarentum and Syracuse, all deserted their allegiance to Rome for Hannibal. They all had to be taken back by Rome at great cost in blood to both sides. The great Greek scientist Archimedes was Syracusan and he died as the city was retaken in 212 BC. A war that could have been ended in two to four years dragged on for seventeen taking countless lives, destroying the finest cities of the Western Mediterranean. All because of Leftist demagogy.

Far from showing any shame or restraint after nearly sending the Republic crashing into ruin during the war with Hannibal, Rome's Leftists continued their shennanigans. They brought scurrilous charges against Scipio Africanus, the man who finally did defeat Hannibal. One of their worst demagogues, Publius Clodius Pulcher, armed Rome's previously unarmed street gangs causing a great upsurge of violence in the city. Three years after Clodius' death, another great Roman Leftist, Gaius Iulius Caesar, crossed into Italy with his Army in what can be called nothing so much as a military coup. The Republic ended with Caesar's Dictatorship and the sucessor of his successor's successor was Caligula. Not far behind him was Nero. Caesar was not the equivalent of an oil company baron. Caesar was "the people's champion" as so many of our modern Leftist politicans call themselves.

After the last Republican resistance in the Roman polity, led by Marcus Iunius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, was crushed in 42 BC, there were not a great number of Republics that followed. The next great Republic would be the Batavian Republic formed in 1560 AD, followed by the Puritan Revolution of 1648. Even that revolution would not be complete until 1688 in the Glorious Revolution. Our Founding Fathers knew a few things that we today do not. One was that the tide of history is not on the side of freedom. God may be, but man is always quick to make a slave out of other men. The Founding Fathers knew that politicians would come along to take our freedoms away in the name of "the people." I don't think they realized how quickly and easily this would be accomplished. I doubt they realized that the Left which they knew would emerge would take the Bill of Rights and twist its words to take people's rights away. They must all certainly be dismayed.

What Barak Hussein Obama and his fellow Leftist thugs are doing is not new. The battle we fight against him and his ilk is one we have been fighting since the Revolutionary War. The Democrats, led by the bi-coastal elites are the successors of the 18th Century unicoastal elite which loved its King and abhorred the rebellion of the "country people" (ie the ancestors of the Mid Westerners, Plains and Mountain state dwellers of today) of the North and the Southern rapscallions, led by their captain George Washington. I'm not sure if it's a comfort to know that they've always been with us, but we have survived them before. George Washington defeated their King's Army. The Romans survived Cannae. We will survive Barak Hussein Obama and his treason. But we must never give up the fight, we must ever raise our voices in opposition to him. We must ensure that the damage he does to this country is minimal.


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