Putting on the Purple

 

Mayor: Drebin, I don’t want any more trouble like you had last year on the South Side. Understand? That’s my policy.

Drebin: Yes. Well, when I see five weirdos dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of the park in full view of 100 people, I shoot the bastards. That’s my policy.

Mayor: That was a Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar, you moron! You killed five actors! Good ones.

– The Naked Gun

 

Laura Loomer, the first protester to rush the stage to interrupt the enactment of stabbing Donald “Caesar” Trump in a new version of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. Apparently it has been transformed into some kind of leftist/ establishment/ Deep State wish fulfillment fantasy, which in turn has predictably triggered supporters of Mr. Trump. Since Ms. Loomer first rushed the stage, other protesters have followed her lead (see here for the back story on Loomer – thereafter protesters stormed the stage againand again…). In the meantime several companies have pulled their sponsorship of “Public Theater”, the group performing the play, presumably because the actual shooting of several Republican lawmakers by a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter made it seem like a truly major publicity fail in the making. We would note the following: Normally it is actually not a  good idea to publicly suggest that one would like to assassinate the POTUS – issuing such threats is illegal and will result in a visit by national security minions and quite likely a charge. Mr. Trump appears to have become the exception to this rule – there has been a veritable flood of death threats against him on social media and elsewhere, but we have yet to hear of anyone getting into trouble over this.

Photo credit: Fox News

 

DUBLIN – Last week, a Donald Trump supporter rushed the stage in Central Park. She was protesting a production of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, in which the central character, who looked for all the world like America’s president, is stabbed to death.

The people responsible for the production had “blood on their hands,” yelled the malcontent; she claimed they were desensitizing people to violence. Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich, another Trump supporter, took up the parallel, explaining that his man was being stabbed in the back by Deep State insiders.

“Old order bent on destroying Trump,” read the headline in the London Times. The paper interviewed Gingrich, who said, “an entire establishment [is] in rebellion against the elected president of the United States.”

“It’s very serious,” he continued. “This guy’s a direct mortal threat to the system that grew up over the last 50 or 60 years and they’re going to do everything they can to try to stop him.”

 

The Trump look-alike Caesar after getting killed on stage.

Photo credit: Public Theater

 

Putting on the Purple

Like Julius Caesar, President Trump has put on the purple. He dares to rule. And now, others – jealous, fearful rivals – sharpen their knives. Here at the Diary, we too have compared the president to Caesar. We did so fancifully. Today, we take up the subject more seriously.

Is Trump a modern Caesar? Are his adversaries traitors? Or patriots? Julius Caesar was a remarkable fellow. His father died when he was 16, leaving his son with little money. Worse, he left the family on the wrong side of a civil war.

Julius had to lay low. He enrolled in the army just to put some distance between him and the ruling clique. Julius Caesar proved to be a good soldier.

One incident from his early life is worth recalling. He was captured by pirates, who demanded a ransom of 20 talents for his release. Julius was annoyed that they asked so little. He suggested that they increase it to 50 talents.

He also warned them that he would come after them and crucify them when he caught them. This is what happened. As soon as he was freed, he hired a private fleet and captured the pirates. Then, in an act of mercy, he slit their throats before crucifying them.

 

Caesar was taken hostage by Cilician pirates in 75 BC while sailing to Rhodes where he planned to study oratory (not “Sicilian” pirates as is often erroneously claimed – Cilicia was a region in Southern Anatolia, present-day Turkey). Caesar was 25 years old at the time and had just successfully prosecuted supporters of the former dictator Sulla in Rome. He was miffed that the ransom demand was so low and suggested to the pirates to increase it (note: 20 talents of silver weighed 620 kg or 1240 lb, 50 talents weighed about 1550 kg or 3100 lb). As the story goes, in the 38 days it took to get the ransom delivered (no bank wires in those days), he started treating the pirates as if they were his subordinates, insulted them at leisure and frequently told them that he would hunt them down and crucify them once he was set free. They apparently humored him because they were eager to get the money and were impressed by his impudent behavior, which they weren’t used to. Of course they didn’t take him seriously either – but Caesar reportedly kept his word and actually did hunt them down later. How much of this story is true and how much was invented as a PR exercise by Caesar himself and ancient historians is hard to say (Plutarch first reported on the event many years later).

Illustration by Cesare Maccari

 

Conquering the Gauls

Caesar’s fame and fortune came later, when he conquered Gaul. It was not like today’s bombing and droning “insurgents” in Afghanistan or Petraeus’ “surge” in Iraq.

Caesar spent years crisscrossing what is today France, battling dozens of fierce tribes. His enemies were organized… often well-led… and sometimes outnumbered him by as much as four to one.

At the Battle of Alesia, for example, Caesar took on Vercingetorix, who had unified many of the Gallic tribes against the Romans. Caesar’s troops managed to drive the Gauls back to their base. The idea was to encircle them there and starve them into submission.

Caesar built a wall around the camp – which held about 80,000 people. Vercingetorix tried to send his women and children away; he was running out of food quickly. But Caesar refused to let them pass. They were caught in the middle, starving.

Then, other tribes, allied with Vercingetorix, came to break the siege. So Caesar built an exterior wall to protect the Romans from the relief forces in his rear. But this left them trapped between the two Gallic armies.

Vercingetorix attacked from the inside. His allies attacked him from the outside. If the Roman defenses had failed, Caesar and all his soldiers would have been wiped out, killed, or turned into slaves. There was no way to escape.

But thanks to his fortifications and military discipline, the Roman position held. Later, Caesar wrote his famous account of the campaign. He came, he saw, he conquered. Now he could lead his loyal soldiers to Rome and take over the government.

 

Veni, vidi, vici… Vercingetorix, to his own vast surprise, finds himself surrendering to Caesar, ritualistically dropping his arms to the ground before the conqueror.

Painting by Lionel Royer

 

Et Tu, POTUS?

Caesar crossed the Rubicon and set himself up as a dictator, changing the Old Republic into an empire.

Then Brutus, one of his officers in the Gallic wars, joined a conspiracy to preserve the Republic; they murdered him in the Curia of Pompey. Brutus, his old comrade-in-arms, delivered the “unkindest cut of all.”

And Trump? Et tu, POTUS? At least you can’t blame “The Donald” for overthrowing the Old Republic. It’s been gone for half a century. And you can’t credit his enemies with trying to protect it. This is more like the conspiracies after later Roman emperors Claudius and Marcus Aurelius.

By then, there was no question of reviving the Old Empire. The only question then – as now – was:

Which Deep State faction will control the spoils of empire?

 

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

   
 

2 Responses to “Is Trump a Modern Caesar?”

  • Treepower:

    “Veni, vidi, vici” is correctly ascribed to Caesar but the occasion is often misrepresented. It refers to a lightning campaign in Armenia some time after his Gallic victories.

  • Kafka:

    Well written Bill.

    Of course, if we had a play of stabbing an Obama look-a-like to death in Central Park, nobody would care. Right?

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • Trade War Game On!
      Interesting Times Arrive “Things sure are getting exciting again, ain’t they?”  The remark was made by a colleague on Tuesday morning, as we stepped off the elevator to grab a cup of coffee.   Ancient Chinese curse alert... [PT]   “One moment markets are gorging on financial slop like fat pigs in mud.  The next they’re collectively vomiting on themselves. I’ll tell you one thing.  President Trump’s trade war with China won’t end well.  I mean, come...
  • The Dollar Cancer and the Gold Cure
      The Long Run is Here The dollar is failing. Millions of people can see at least some of the major signs, such as the collapse of interest rates, record high number of people not counted in the workforce, and debt rising from already-unpayable levels at an accelerating rate.   Total US credit market debt has hit a new high of $68.6 trillion at the end of 2017. That's up from $22.3 trillion a mere 20 years ago. It's a fairly good bet this isn't sustainable....
  • US Stock Market: Happy Days Are Here Again? Not so Fast...
      A “Typical” Correction? A Narrative Fail May Be in Store Obviously, assorted crash analogs have by now gone out of the window – we already noted that the market was late if it was to continue to mimic them, as the decline would have had to accelerate in the last week of March to remain in compliance with the “official time table”. Of course crashes are always very low probability events – but there are occasions when they have a higher probability than otherwise, and we will...
  • Rise of the Japanese Androids
      Good Intentions One of the unspoken delights in life is the rich satisfaction that comes with bearing witness to the spectacular failure of an offensive and unjust system. This week served up a lavish plate of delicious appetizers with both a style and refinement that’s ordinarily reserved for a competitive speed eating contest. What a remarkable time to be alive.   It seemed a good idea at first... [PT]   Many thrilling stories of doom and gloom were published...
  • Claudio Grass on Cryptocurrencies and Gold – An X22 Report Interview
       The Global Community is Unhappy With the Monetary System, Change is Coming Our friend Claudio Grass of Precious Metal Advisory Switzerland was recently interviewed by the X22 Report on cryptocurrencies and gold. He offers interesting perspectives on cryptocurrencies, bringing them into context with Hayek's idea of the denationalization of money. The connection is that they have originated in the market and exist in a framework of free competition, with users determining which of them...
  • Getting High on Bubbles
      Turn on, Tune in, Drop out Back in the drug-soaked, if not halcyon, days known at the sexual and drug revolution—the 1960’s—many people were on a quest for the “perfect trip”, and the “perfect hit of acid” (the drug lysergic acid diethylamide, LSD).   Dr. Albert Hoffman and his famous bicycle ride through Basel after he ingested a few drops of LSD-25 by mistake. The photograph in the middle was taken at the Woodstock festival and inter alia serves as a...
  • No Revolution Just Yet - Precious Metals Supply and Demand Report
      Irredeemably Yours... Yuan Stops Rallying at the Wrong Moment The so-called petro-yuan was to revolutionize the world of irredeemable fiat paper currencies. Well, since its launch on March 26 — it has gone down. It was to be an enabler for oil companies who were desperate to sell oil for gold, but could not do so until the yuan oil contract.   After becoming progressively stronger over the past year, it looks as thought the 6.25 level in USDCNY is providing support for the...
  • The “Turn of the Month Effect” Exists in 11 of 11 Countries
      A Well Known Seasonal Phenomenon in the US Market – Is There More to It? I already discussed the “turn-of-the-month effect” in a previous issues of Seasonal Insights, see e.g. this report from earlier this year. The term describes the fact that price gains in the stock market tend to cluster around the turn of the month. By contrast, the rest of the time around the middle of the month is typically less profitable for investors.   Due to continual monetary inflation in the...
  • Flight of the Bricks - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      The Lighthouse Moves Picture, if you will, a brick slowly falling off a cliff. The brick is printed with green ink, and engraved on it are the words “Federal Reserve Note” (FRN). A camera is mounted to the brick. The camera shows lots of things moving up. The cliff face is whizzing upwards at a blur. A black painted brick labeled “oil” is going up pretty fast, but not so fast as the cliff face. It is up 26% in a year. A special brick, a government data brick of sorts, labeled...
  • From Fake Boom to Real Bust
      Paradise in LA LA Land More is revealed with each passing day.  You can count on it.  But what exactly the ‘more is of’ requires careful discrimination.  Is the ‘more’ merely more noise?  Or is it something of actual substance?  Today we endeavor to pass judgment, on your behalf.   Normally, judgment would be passed on a Thursday, but we are making an exception. [PT]   For example, here in the land of fruits and nuts, things are whacky, things are...

Support Acting Man

Item Guides

Top10BestPro
j9TJzzN

The Review Insider

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

Diary of a Rogue Economist