To half the citizenry, the Biden regime has wielded “righteous" federal power to save the country from insurrection. To the other half, a Frankenstein’s monster of tyranny now bestrides America like a mighty colossus.
“Crossing the Rubicon” is shorthand for passing the point of no return in a republic, in reference to when Julius Caesar defied the Roman Senate on 49 BC, precipitating the Roman Civil War. We have shown in two previous articles--here and here--how an understanding of political culture is the key to recognizing if and when America has crossed the Rubicon from a constitutional republic to an authoritarian polity.
Facile comparisons of Joe Biden or Donald Trump to Julius Caesar (future dictator of Rome) exemplify puerile paint-by-the-numbers historical analysis often seen in the popular press. This cannot tell us if America stands on the brink of a new civil war. The different alignment of the two contending political parties in America today vs. Rome of 49 BC produces a flawed political prognosis.
Nevertheless, the Roman Republic is an accurate historical precedent to assess America’s current status as a democratic republic. Rome and the U.S. are the only examples of stable, enduring, transcontinental republics. Common to both: pride in citizenship, regular, orderly transfer of power by honest elections and a written constitution faithfully implemented by elected executive officers.
The Roman culture of political compromise suddenly collapsed in 133-121 BC when the Optimates (Senatorial party) murdered the Gracchi brothers, two tribunes of the people. Over the prior 376 years from the founding in 509 BC, political violence and intimidation was avoided by both sides, however, after 121 BC, Rome was a republic in name only: civil war and demonizing political opponents became the norm.
Up to the late 18th century, influential political thinkers like Montesquieu agreed that a popular form of government (republic or democracy) could work only within a compact geographical area--e.g., a city state like early Rome or pre-empire Athens. Thus, the American Founders (1784-1788), under the influence of noteworthy historical scholar James Madison, undertook a grand experiment by betting against history and creating ab nihilo a new continental republic.
Sudden implosion of American political culture
A Rasmussmen poll from last year revealed that 47% of all voters polled (including 20-30% of Democrats) believed Democrats stole enough votes in several states to ensure that Biden would win the presidential election. No other U.S. presidential election in modern history (including the 1960 race between Kennedy and Nixon) engendered such a widespread conviction of massive fraud undermining the legitimacy of the new presidency.
For the rest of this essay, I will use “regime” rather than “administration” because so many voters, to this date, deeply distrust the 2020 election despite (or perhaps because of) ferocious social and legal repression of that opinion. As intended, publicly doubting the fairness of the election has been turned into a thought crime.
On January 6th, 2021, two weeks before Inauguration Day, a rally/protest was held in Washington D.C. to protest massive irregularities in the presidential election. A Capitol Police officer shot and killed the protester Ashli Babbitt a USAF veteran. Although the NYT fabricated a false narrative about Officer Brian Sicknick dying in the line of duty, no other deaths due to violence occurred.
Within a month, the leftist social media monopoly turned a peaceful protest into a seditious riot that threatened the Republic. The FBI later quietly denied there was an insurrection, but the “Big Lie” technique of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels is as effective today as in the 1930s.
Most of the 450 people indicted by DOJ for participation in the Capitol protest have been charged with misdemeanors, usually trespassing. Many of these are being held in solitary confinement 22 hours/day for 9 months and running. (The UN considers solitary confinement for more than 15 consecutive days to be torture.) Few have court dates set, delayed until at least 2022. There is no precedent in U.S. history—including the Sedition Act of 1798--for large scale prosecution and persecution of political opponents.
In denying these defendants the right to speedy trial and in some cases the right to a lawyer, the DOJ grossly violates the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution. In holding most of the defendants in solitary confinement, the DOJ openly shreds the Eighth Amendment (cruel and unusual punishments).
The First Amendment forbids the Federal government, inter alia, from abridging freedom of speech as well as guaranteeing the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances. All of these rights have been nullified in the case of the 1/6/21 protesters.
Ignoring and defying case and statutory law (backed by current Supreme Court rulings) has become routine for the Biden regime, as when the Biden White House federalized state rental laws by unconstitutional executive authority on 7/31/21.
When settled law, the Constitution, and current Supreme Court rulings are repeatedly and flagrantly voided, America no longer has a government of laws but rather a government of men ruling over a nation of serfs.
Twin Brothers: Tyranny and Totalitarianism
Having neutered the political opposition, the Biden regime intends to complete the suppression of Republicans and conservatives. The regime’s ideological bedfellows Google, Facebook, and Twitter coordinate their censorship with the White House: Twitter shut down the accounts of prominent conservatives (President Trump and the New York Post) several weeks before the 2020 election. To avoid future reliance on ad hoc social media censorship of the opposition, the regime has included in the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill subsidies for local news outlets to complete the left media’s transition to “state-run media.”
Increasingly since the late 1970s, a powerful neo-Marxist plutocracy—academia, big tech, big business and the Deep State--has tightened their grip on American culture. By 6/2020 the plutocracy had run out of patience with America’s Constitutional mechanism for selecting the President. As Plato writes in Book VIII of The Republic, “Tyranny naturally arises out of democracy.” Former leftist David Horowitz put it this way: “Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out.”
The Founders had deep distrust of democracy, the most fertile ground to nurture tyranny. Plato and Aristotle defined a tyrant as a person who rules without law, using force against his own people and others. Whether ancient or modern, tyranny connotes rule outside of settled law and typically by cruel and arbitrary means.
The non-Greek word tyrannos had an alien, even sinister, connotation to some Greek thinkers.Madison in Federalist Paper #10 wrote “…democracies are incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
During the 19th century, the right to vote was radically broadened. The Constitution’s republican character was gradually dissolved into an almost pure representative democracy. The process was almost complete by 1913, when the Seventeenth Amendment established direct election of U.S. senators in each state, replacing election by state legislatures. The last vestigial republican element in our Constitution is the Electoral College. Checks and balances remain but have been routinely ignored by the Biden regime.
Plato and Madison understood that in a democracy, tyranny of the majority is the greatest threat if the government's power is not strictly hedged in by a written constitution and by republican virtue, democracy will inevitably decline into mob rule, which will itself tend to tyranny.
A mobocracy brings to power the demagogue, a rabble-rouser who stirs up hatred against targeted “elites” and scapegoats out-groups. To achieve and hold power, the demagogue promises anything and everything to the mob; he uses hatred and fear to inflame popular passion, destroying reasoned debate and even reason itself. Does that sound familiar?
In The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides mentions a common characteristic of the demagogues who ruled Athens after the death of Pericles in 429 BC: they were invariably very corrupt financially. Think about that in the context of American politics from 1993-Present.
Why then is tyranny more likely to arise from a democracy and less often from oligarchy, monarchy, or dictatorship? Two examples are the Thirty Tyrants who overturned Athenian democracy in 404 BC and the Nazi tyranny that replaced the crumbling Weimar Republic in 1933. This contrasts with the situation in Revolutionary France, ruled by the small Jacobin faction (1791-1795), which was never a mass movement. Its excesses—20,000 executed during the Reign of Terror—frightened and alienated so many powerful interests that it was overthrown after four years.
If tyranny is supported (or at least tolerated) by a broad political culture—as in Nazi Germany or in Soviet Russia--then it can be defeated only by an equally broad counter movement but not by election of an isolated political figure (Donald Trump).
As of writing this in late 2021, we already have a nascent but real tyranny. In its early stages, tyranny aspires to its perfected form, totalitarianism, achieved by both Stalin and Hitler in only a few years. In the age of the internet, on which we all are dependent, the imposition of totalitarian tyranny should be easier (and less brutal) than in the 1930s. In the digital age, it is as likely that tyranny will be driven from the bottom up as from the top down in the 20th century.
When and if totalitarianism is achieved in America , you will not be reading articles like this. Already, major opposition political figures—President Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Matt Gaetz—have been neutralized, Fox News and its top anchors are next.
Nevertheless, we must be encouraged by still developing, but powerful, popular resistance to the violent political depredations of the Biden regime. In Rome the plebeians were mostly bystanders to the strife between warring generals during the civil war in sharp contrast to the U.S. today, where the people are an important political force pushing back against cultural and political tyranny.
The Biden regime has moved to immediately suppress grassroots political activity against school boards and teachers unions, zealots both in the indoctrination of school children. Under cultural Marxism, children's minds are owned by the state, the FBI must be used against parents who object to the indoctrination of their children.
The 2nd American Civil War began in earnest in late 2020. DOJ indictments of Trump would light a fuse under the civil discontent rapidly growing to critical mass. Until now this unrecognized 2nd Civil War has been fought only on a cultural level—the battle is yet to be fully joined; ideological forces on either side are aligning. If polls mean anything, Republicans will retake Congress with a mandate in 2022—that assumes an honest election, no predictions are possible. We can only hope and pray that our democracy proves resilient. As Winston Churchill said, "...democracy is the worst form of Government except for all the others."
Photo Credit: Kaylee Grenlee | DCNF