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Americans have not ended democracy as such. We have instead allowed powerful persons and institutions to simply ignore it. The FBI, EPA, Twitter, universities, large corporations, and your local county school board increasingly follow their own ideological ends even if (or maybe especially if) it contradicts popular will and culture. The tiresome and obligatory comparisons to the fall of the Roman Empire miss the mark in many ways. Perhaps the better comparison is to Florence under the Medicis.
Cosimo de’ Medici (1389–1464) was the first Medici family member to govern the city from behind the scenes. Although the city was technically a democracy of sorts, his power came from a vast network of patronage and a political alliance to new immigrants to the city, the gente nuova. The fact that the Medici were bankers to the pope also contributed to their prominence.
Replace “the pope” with “politicians, media, and academics” and we are pretty close. In addition to illegal aliens, our gentle nuova are uneducated college grads with computer terminal jobs, desperate to be certified as elite.
Like Cosimo, the new power brokers don’t need and are not limited to use of official political power. What we are allowed to debate, what comprises news and approved information can now be sufficiently controlled that party politics becomes just noise or kabuki, unrelated to actual policy or law. Politics for the elite is about a longer-term project of suppressing annoying rhetorical opposition to what is happening anyway. No one lifted a finger when Mark Zuckerberg literally bought local government election agencies. We were all expressly forbidden from noticing much less mentioning the utter corruption of the Biden family. Is there any reason to expect that sort of thing to stop?
[A week ago, on Facebook for a tiny select group of family and friends I repeated a joke about the letters of “omicron” also spelling “moronic”. The post was instantly blocked and is allegedly still under “review.” ]
For the last two years, the entire western world has suspended democracy. Closures, lockdowns, various mandates, and even internment camps(!?) have been imposed under dubious legal authority and even less scientific justification. Authorities have been spectacularly wrong and openly disingenuous and it does not seem to matter. We are being trained to submit not to Science and Reason as properly understood by qualified experts but to a shallow credentialism in which some are anointed as authoritative merely for echoing elite sensibilities.
Unlike our modern Medicis, Cosimo and his rivals shared and celebrated the faith, values, and culture of the common people. They funded the Renaissance. Our Medicis fund woke hucksters, sexual confusion, incredibly ugly art and architecture, and “green” fantasies. Other than absurdity and irrationality the common theme is an attack on the very humanity fostered and celebrated in our western Judeo-Christian heritage.
The infections of Nazism, fascism, and especially Communism ripped through peoples who as a matter of culture, education, technological advancement, and experience all should have known better. Will we finally develop the antibodies to prevent these variants from doing it to western peoples again? Can we finally see the real enemy clearly and in time?
Not to stretch the comparison to the breaking point but Piero the Unfortunate (Cosmo’s great-grandson) lost control of Florence by making too many concessions to a rising foreign power (France) to the dismay of his people. Weak feckless leadership ended the family dynasty and the independence of Florence. Joe the Unfortunate, anyone?Published in