In his Dec. 22 OpEdNews article, Looking at the Bigger Picture: Criminals and Rogue Organizations Within, Rob Kall begins with this observation:
"We have, deeply ensconced within our power infrastructures, institutions, organizations and job categories where there are gross violations of the law, of the constitution, of the rights of citizens. These organizations and the people who operate freely as perpetrators of crimes and abuses of the constitution are protected by the power hierarchy that is supposed to supervise them and hold them accountable."
Yesterday I was reading a book about Cicero in Rome's late republican period, just as Pompey and Julius Caesar were coming to power. The book, Cicero, was written by Rev. W. Lucas Collins, a Welshman, a Church of England presbyter, in 1871, when the British Empire was still going strong. Collins, writing in the approving, reverential tones of a sycophant to Britain's ruling class, clearly equates the 'glory' of corrupt Rome with Britain's own empire.
The mind of empire, in any age, shares the same psychopathic "values" that make imperial rule not only possible but perceived as positively virtuous, exemplifying the "manly" attributes that win no-holds barred, winner-takes-all competitions. Cunning, subterfuge, betrayal, domination, murder. Mass murder, national plunder, and Genghis-style "scorched Earth" destruction as a military commander (or as an economic hitman). And a talent for leveraging other men's ego-vices (rapacious greed, envy, revenge, vanity) and character flaws (ruinous profligacy, scandalous licentiousness) to build political support. All while hypocritically proclaiming some virtuous religious or humanistic motive. "Pax Romana". "Spreading God's word." "Pax Britannica". "Spreading democracy."
It is astonishing how closely the ruling-class mentality and political environment of Rome, still paying lip service to the Republic's rule of law, resembles the present US political mentality and practice. All the institutionalized evils that Rob Kall enumerates are there. But from Collins' 1871 perspective as a courtier to the British Empire, Rome's deadly political power games are perceived as "good sport", the weaselly tactics used to win power and wealth are seen as "brilliant", and the crimes against humanity committed by the worst of the provincial plunderers are excused by the "noble" qualities Collins sees in the perpetrators as 'men of empire'.
It occurs to me this descent into empire is a social devolution, a fall from civilization into barbarism. An evolutionary step backward from the mind-based rule of rational republican law that serves the long-term interests of the powerful and weak alike; to the lust-based rule of animal passions pursuing only the immediate kill that temporarily gratifies an urgent appetite with no thought for the longer-term consequences.
A Republic is governed by men of enlightened reason acting within the bounds of a constitution whose laws they have agreed to live under for the long-term benefit of all. An Empire is ruled by lawless barbarians constantly seeking advantage and advancement at each other's expense. A Republic is a deliberate human civilization whose leaders act under rational law. An Empire is a jungle, red in tooth and claw, whose rulers are driven by unreconstructed predatory instincts and animal passions. Civilization calls dangerous predators "beasts", and protects itself against them. Empire calls dangerous predators "Your Highness", and worships them as demi-gods. Lord of the Flies. King of Beasts.