Caesar in the Flesh

 

Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too.

Marcus Aurelius

 

platoAnd we always thought democracy was for Old Greeks… evidently not for Plato though.

 

BALTIMORE – Nothing new. Same old, same old. China warned that its corporate debt levels were too high. Sotto voce, investors might have heard that Chinese debt is in danger of blowing sky high, as companies continue to borrow in order to finance overseas acquisitions. But it didn’t seem to phase them. Not on Monday. The Dow was up 41 points anyway.

 

PonziFinance_0Ponzi finance in China: corporations are borrowing ever more merely to pay interest on their existing debt.

 

Meanwhile, President Obama visited Cuba, hoping to be remembered by historians for more than just Obamacare. And the presidential primaries continued to be a source of amazement and entertainment.

It is not often that we get to use the word “apoplectic.” But this seems to be an occasion for it. Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial Times in London, is practically melting down at the prospect of a Trump win:

 

The U.S. is the greatest republic since Rome, the bastion of democracy, the guarantor of the liberal global order. It would be a global disaster if Mr. Trump were to become president. Even if he fails, he has rendered the unthinkable sayable.

Mr. Trump is a promoter of paranoid fantasies, a xenophobe, and an ignoramus. His business consists of the erection of ugly monuments to his own vanity. He has no experience of political office. An American “Caesarism” has now become flesh.

 

Quoting leading neocon Robert Kagan, Wolf writes that Trump is the “GOP’s Frankenstein monster.” If you have any doubt about the kind of monster Trump may be, just Google “Trump Hitler.” You’ll find 2,700,000 results, including a number of videos.

Some complain about The Donald being compared to Hitler, suggesting that a comparison to FDR would be more appropriate. Others are of “Hitler” complaining about being compared to Donald Trump…[ed note: Hitler/Trump videos here, here and here].

Meanwhile, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren says Trump is an “insecure loser who reminds me of Hitler.” And South of the Border, the Mexican president… along with two of his predecessors… have all found similarities between A.H. and the Republican frontrunner.

 

TrutlerGodwin’s law in action: Trutler discovered! Also known as reductio ad Hitlerum. Luckily Martin Wolf is always wrong about everything, so we can sleep soundly…

 

The Road to Tyranny

Is Trump really like Hitler? Trump has no mustache. He doesn’t speak German. He has the “strongest Jewish ties of all the candidates,” he tells New Yorkers. His daughter, Ivanka, is married to an orthodox Jew and has converted to the faith.

What kind of Hitler is this? No, to understand Donald J. Trump, you have to go further back… to a Time Before Pants.

“If there were anybody who would have been unsurprised by the sudden rise of the Donald,” writes colleague Van Bryan in Classical Wisdom Weekly, “it would have been Plato.”

Plato believed that democracy would be a fleeting and unhappy phase of human government. It was the “worst” kind of government, he said… partly because it led inevitably to tyranny.

In Plato’s rendering of political cycles, the best form of government is the Aristocracy – with superior, high-minded, selfless, and capable people in the driver’s seat. Think Jefferson or Adams.

This typically gives way to a degenerate form of government, Timocracy, in which the leaders were still public spirited but less competent. Then, the rich and powerful (the cronies) take advantage of weak government by asserting their own authority.

Plato called this form of government an oligarchy.  Suddenly or gradually, the little people get tired of being exploited. They take control of things in a democracy.

 

The Plagues of Every City

Plato seems to have little respect for and little confidence in democratic government. The number of “drones” (we would call them “zombies”), hoping to get something for nothing, multiplies. As Plato wrote of the “drones”:

 

[They] are the plagues of every city in which they are generated, being what phlegm and bile are to the body. And the good physician and lawgiver of the State ought, like the wise bee-master, to keep them (drones) at a distance and prevent, if possible, their ever coming in.

Freedom creates rather more drones in the democratic than there were in the oligarchical State… And in the democracy, they are certainly more intensified.

 

Public discipline disintegrates. Chaos and disorder increase. Budgets get out of balance. Markets become volatile. Pointless wars proliferate. Finally, the “drones” accept a dictator who promises to restore order (“Make America Great Again”).

To which Donald Trump replies: “Hey, they love me in Athens.”

 

Chart by: Bloomberg

 

Chart and image captions by PT

 

The above article originally appeared at the Diary of a Rogue Economist, written for Bonner & Partners. Bill Bonner founded Agora, Inc in 1978. It has since grown into one of the largest independent newsletter publishing companies in the world. He has also written three New York Times bestselling books, Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt and Mobs, Messiahs and Markets.

 

 

 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 


 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 12vB2LeWQNjWh59tyfWw23ySqJ9kTfJifA

   
 

3 Responses to “Donald the Dictator?”

  • Kafka:

    Bill

    If you are looking for historical context read Gibbons (1776) the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire- when the Empire was sold to Didius Julianus by the Praetorian Guards after their murder of Pertinax.

    Trump is Severus, outraged at how a once moral nation has become so corrupt that the powers of the state are auctioned to the highest bidder.

    K

  • All-Your-Gold-Are-Mine:

    Yes… Obama and now Trump! And the alternative is Hillary! Democracy sucks… Plato was correct!

  • Treepower:

    For a more fully formed version of the constitutional cycle you could check out Polybius’s theory of anacyclosis. This is the recognition that benign forms of government by a king, an aristocracy or a people will inevitably degenerate in turn into tyranny, oligarchy and finally ochlocracy. The axe he was grinding was that by combining elements of all three forms of government the Roman Republic had checks and balances which prevented the inexorable slide into mob-rule and stasis, thus making it the superior polity of the ancient world.

    In the event he was more correct about the inevitability of political decay than he was about the stability of the republic, but it proved a tolerably successful system for quite a long time before the Gracchi poisoned the well.

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • America Goes Full Imbecile
      Credit has a wicked way of magnifying a person’s defects.  Even the most cautious man, with unlimited credit, can make mistakes that in retrospect seem absurd.  But an average man, with unlimited credit, is preeminently disposed to going full imbecile.   Let us not forget about this important skill...  [PT]   Several weeks ago we came across a woeful tale of Mike Meru.  Somehow, this special fellow, while of apparent sound mine and worthy intent, racked up...
  • Retail Capitulation – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Small Crowds, Shrinking Premiums The prices of gold and silver rose five bucks and 37 cents respectively last week. Is this the blast off to da moon for the silver rocket of halcyon days, in other words 2010-2011?   Various gold bars. Coin and bar premiums have been shrinking steadily (as have coin sales of the US Mint by the way), a sign that retail investors have lost interest in gold. There are even more signs of this actually, and this loss of interest stands in stark...
  • Credit Spreads: Polly is Twitching Again - in Europe
      Junk Bond Spread Breakout The famous dead parrot is coming back to life... in an unexpected place. With its QE operations, which included inter alia corporate bonds, the ECB has managed to suppress credit spreads in Europe to truly ludicrous levels. From there, the effect propagated through arbitrage to other developed markets. And yes, this does “support the economy” - mainly by triggering an avalanche of capital malinvestment and creating the associated boom conditions, while...
  • Gold Divergences Emerge
      Bad Hair Day Produces Positive Divergences On Friday the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China was apparently escalated by a notch to the next level, at least verbally. The Trump administration announced a list of tariffs that are supposed to come into force in three week's time and China clicked back by announcing retaliatory action. In effect, the US government said: take that China, we will now really hurt our own consumers!  - and China's mandarins replied: just you wait, we...
  • Industrial Commodities vs. Gold - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Oil is Different Last week, we showed a graph of rising open interest in crude oil futures. From this, we inferred — incorrectly as it turns out — that the basis must be rising. Why else, we asked, would market makers carry more and more oil?   Crude oil acts differently from gold – and so do all other industrial commodities. What makes them different is that the supply of industrial commodities held in storage as a rule suffices to satisfy industrial demand only for a...
  • Chasing the Wind
      Futility with Purpose Plebeians generally ignore the tact of their economic central planners.  They care more that their meatloaf is hot and their suds are cold, than about any plans being hatched in the capital city.  Nonetheless, the central planners know an angry mob, with torches and pitchforks, are only a few empty bellies away.  Hence, they must always stay on point.   Watch for those pitchfork bearers – they can get real nasty and then heads often roll quite literally....
  • Lift-Off Not (Yet) - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Wrong-Way Event Last week we said something that turned out to be prescient:   This is not an environment for a Lift Off Event.   An unfortunate technical mishap interrupted the latest moon-flight of the gold rocket. Fear not true believers, a few positive tracks were left behind. [PT]   The price of gold didn’t move much Mon-Thu last week, though the price of silver did seem to be blasting off. Then on Friday, it reversed hard. We will provide a forensic...
  • Cryptocurrency Technicals – Navigating the Bear Market
      A Purely Technical Market Long time readers may recall that we regard Bitcoin and other liquid big cap cryptocurrencies as secondary media of exchange from a monetary theory perspective for the time being. The wave of speculative demand that has propelled them to astonishing heights was triggered by market participants realizing that they have the potential to become money. The process of achieving more widespread adoption of these currencies as a means of payment and establishing...
  • The Fed's “Inflation Target” is Impoverishing American Workers
      Redefined Terms and Absurd Targets At one time, the Federal Reserve's sole mandate was to maintain stable prices and to “fight inflation.”  To the Fed, the financial press, and most everyone else “inflation” means rising prices instead of its original and true definition as an increase in the money supply.  Rising prices are a consequence – a very painful consequence – of money printing.   Fed Chair Jerome Powell apparently does not see the pernicious effects...
  • Merger Mania and the Kings of Debt
      Another Early Warning Siren Goes Off Our friend Jonathan Tepper of research house Variant Perception (check out their blog to see some of their excellent work) recently pointed out to us that the volume of mergers and acquisitions has increased rather noticeably lately. Some color on this was provided in an article published by Reuters in late May, “Global M&A hits record $2 trillion in the year to date”, which inter alia contained the following chart illustrating the...

Support Acting Man

Item Guides

j9TJzzN

The Review Insider

Dog Blow

Austrian Theory and Investment

Archive

350x200

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

Mish Talk

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com