Thursday, November 2, 2017

Lessons from the Western Imperial Past

Once again the city of New York has been the victim of another attack by an Islamic terrorist, an immigrant from Uzbekistan running down people in a rented truck, a tactic seen before in Europe several times. As usual, the Democrats have responded to this in the exact opposite way they respond to events like the mass shootings in Las Vegas or Charleston, after which they quickly blamed the right and called for national reflection and change whether it be banning guns or flags. No, in the case of a mass killing by a Muslim immigrant the Democrats say change absolutely nothing, do not think too much about it, this is no time to be political, keep calm and carry on. The neoconservatives, on the other hand, also respond the way they always do, calling for more surveillance (of everyone) and more military intervention overseas as if dropping more bombs on Syria or sending more special forces to central Africa will prevent someone from Uzbekistan from coming to America and running people down in his car. We have now moved beyond being predictable with the response to these events to the point of just being damn monotonous.

As I have probably said before, I think both Democrat and Republican establishments are wrong on this one. No amount of U.S. soldiers in Iraq would have stopped this terrorist from doing what he did and no amount of surveillance will do the trick either. The American public is already living under greater surveillance than any time in history and attacks such as these still go on, partly because the NSA, so as not to show any hint of prejudice, is spying on Marge in South Dakota as well as the Muslim man from Uzbekistan with the ISIS flag in his truck. The Democrats are wrong because, yes, this does have something to do with Islam and, obviously, if the man from Uzbekistan had not been allowed into the country, he would not have been able to kill anyone here. That is so simple and self-evident that the strenuous efforts by our elites to deny it never ceases to amaze me. Islamic terrorists are a radical fringe (albeit a sizable one) and they have no air force or navy so the only way they can kill *any* Americans is if the Americans come to them or allow them to come to America. That is a blatant, obvious, unalterable fact.

We also have here a lesson in what our leaders like to call the “strength of diversity”. This man, obviously, did not identify as an American, despite being granted permanent residency in this country thanks to a “diversity visa” (an absurd program approved by both Democrats and Republicans). He came to America, lived in America for years, no doubt had a vastly better life than he had had in Uzbekistan, yet he felt he had more in common as a Central Asian Muslim with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria than he had with the American people who surrounded him. This is not new and when it comes to learning from history, if you do not wish to take the trouble of learning the entire history of the world, learning the history of the Roman Empire will generally suffice. Be it brilliant or idiotic, glorious or horrific, honorable or vicious, the Romans did it first and did it to a greater extreme. The Roman Empire, originating in Italy, was mostly an Italian thing for most of its history. The imperium covered many lands and non-Italians could become Roman citizens but it was by and large the Italians who were in charge. They were confident that they could make other people into Romans and in places such as Gaul (France) or Britain, there was reason to think they could.

However, over time, the Romans began to suffer from decay in their integrity, ambition and self-confidence. They stopped priding themselves on their large families and the legacy of their ancestors and devoted themselves to pleasure. Who then would defend the empire? No problem, they simply hired barbarians to fill out the Roman legions and these “good” barbarians would hold the frontier against the “bad” barbarians across the river. Were they not basically all Romans anyway? No, they were not and the barbarians hired by the Romans did not suddenly stop feeling any kinship to those other barbarians across the river. The Romans had many ingenious and valuable things, the Roman Empire was a desirable place to live but the Romans themselves were decadent, corrupt and generally viewed with contempt by the barbarians and many Romans themselves for that matter, which of course is part of the reason why so few thought their civilization was worth defending. Then, when the barbarians struck, the Romans decided it would be better to accommodate them instead of confronting them.

In 378AD the Roman frontier was permanently breached for the first time when the Goths defeated a Roman army at the Battle of Adrianople, killing Emperor Valens of the East Roman Empire in the process. The result was a peace agreement that allowed the Goths to settle within the borders of the Roman Empire. However, that was to prove not a permanent solution. Then, in 406AD the Rhine River froze over and a flood of barbarians charged across looking for relief in more southerly climates. The Vandals and Visigoths were at the forefront and, again, the Romans would often start by trying to avoid trouble and grant the barbarians lands to settle on within the empire only for trouble to break out later and end with the barbarians going on the rampage. The Visigoths came to dominate much of France and Spain while the Vandals moved all the way down into north Africa. The Goths even sacked the city of Rome itself in 410AD but things settled down and the Romans still managed to convince themselves that things were not so bad and that these barbarians were not all that different from them.

The barbarians were, indeed, quite familiar with Roman ways and often tried to imitate them after having spent so many years living just outside or just inside the borders of the empire. Most had even taken up the Roman religion of Christianity, albeit generally in one of the heretical forms that were quite common at the time. However, history would show that only the Romans could be Romans and while the barbarians actually often had much to recommend them and could often be more admirable characters than the decadent Romans, the society they would build would not be the same as that which the Romans had built. Still, perhaps it would not be so bad? Actually, it would and it would because of another barbarian force that was nothing like the northern Europeans the Romans had experienced so far. It was never simply the weather that was pushing the Goths, Vandals and others up to and across the Roman frontier. Rather, it was another, particularly fierce barbarian invasion force which was not European or western at all and certainly not Christian. These were the Huns who appeared from far distant lands in Asia and swept across Europe driving all before them.

Pushed out of the Far East by the Emperor of China, the Huns found the Roman Emperors to be easier pickings. In the Eastern Empire, Emperor Theodosius II paid them off to keep the peace while he built new and bigger walls around Constantinople. When Roman forces were sent to Sicily in an aborted effort to deal with the Vandals taking over there, the Huns saw their opportunity and seized control of extensive territory in the Balkans before turning west under their formidable leader Attila. They seemed to be invincible and, indeed, were only stopped, not destroyed but stopped at least, at the pivotal Battle of the Catalaunian Plains by a Roman-Gothic coalition led by General Flavius Aetius and King Theodoric I. After that, they invaded Italy and met practically no opposition until finally turning back after a meeting with Pope Leo I. It was only with the death of Attila not long after that the Hunnish empire broke up on its own.

Petronius Maximus
That was 452 and only a few years later in 455 the Vandals were at the gates of Rome, again, partly due to clumsy efforts to gain their favor. Emperor Valentinian III, who had reigned during the Hunnish crisis, was assassinated and his place taken by Emperor Petronius Maximus. He married Valentinian’s wife, newly single again, and broke off the proposed marriage between her daughter and the son of King Geiseric of the Vandals. This all the pretext Geiseric needed to put his army onto ships and set sail for Italy. The Romans had no army to speak of and efforts by Emperor Petronius to enlist the Goths on his side failed, added to which he was never recognized as legitimate by the Eastern Roman Emperor in the first place so that no help could be expected from that quarter. When the Vandals arrived, Petronius Maximus decided not to even try to defend the city but simply to escape and save his own life. He was unsuccessful, his own guards abandoned him and he was stoned to death by an angry mob. This left only Pope Leo as a figure of any great authority in Rome and he did persuade the Vandals not to be quite so destructive as was normal, though they still sacked the city for two weeks the damage was mostly confined to looting rather than mass murder and burning down everything.

Petronius was succeeded by Emperor Avitus who embodied many of the problems the Roman Empire still faced. He was a Gallic Roman rather than an Italian and was not well received by the public. Emperor Avitus counted on his friendship with King Theodoric II of the Visigoths as the foundation of his reign but, surprise, surprise, the Visigoths were more interested in securing their own domination of Spain than in doing any favors for Avitus in Rome. And, just as Theodoric II chose his tribe over his friendship with Avitus, so too did the Romans choose to rid themselves of their Gallic master and his Gallic officials. Avitus was forced from power and fled to Gaul (France), replaced by Emperor Majorian who mounted a famous, last-minute, effort to restore the Western Roman Empire. He defeated the Vandals who were bedeviling Italy, smashed the Goths in Spain and the Germans in Burgundy. The old, glory days of Rome seemed to be back again as Emperor Majorian put things in order and went back on the offensive and was victorious. However, the Romans proved to be their own worst enemy.

Emperor Majorian
The same class of Roman elites who had turned on Petronius for leaving them defenseless against the Vandals and who grumbled at Avitus and his Gothic alliance, turned against Emperor Majorian who had defeated both of these enemies because his reforms cut into their life of idle luxury. He was also betrayed by Ricimer, a German, who had helped Majorian in the overthrow of Avitus. By this point, most of the Roman army was not Roman at all in the west and the leadership became a succession of Roman figureheads dominated by their barbarian military commander until, with the fall of Romulus Augustulus, all appearances were dropped and the Western Roman Empire came to an end.

I shall not point out every similarity between the declining years of the Roman Empire and today because they should be obvious and, as such, many others have pointed them out before. That is because it is so striking. I will say though, in defense of even the latter Western Roman Empire, that they were still more rational than our own political leadership in Western Europe and America today. They at least deluded themselves on being able to master a worsening situation by military and political means, playing off one faction against another. Our own elites seem to be in total denial of the actual problem or trusting in slogans like they were magic words to, somehow, solve our problems. The Romans thought their weaknesses could be managed, which they could not, but even they were not so delusional as to believe their weaknesses were strengths.


  1. Mr. Mad Monarchist, you are one of the most sane people around. Wish there were 300 of you.

  2. This is such a hard truth to accept, that immigrants bring their culture and civilization with them and will change their host country, instead of the other way.

    I have read your writing above and agree with what you write. But there are several things that I'm still struggling to answer myself.

    Take for example Malaysia, despite the name Malay only make up just over half of the population and there are sizable non-native immigrants population such as Chinese and Indians. Does the country should only belong to the native Malays?
    But there is a twist... the Malays are dependent on welfare and affirmative actions which are sourced from the Chinese and Indians. Can you imagine if for example in America the Whites receive welfare from Hispanics and Blacks? Also in Malaysia I hear that most of the Malays work as government officials while the Chinese and Indians work in private sector, so we can see who are the most productive and contributes more to the country's economy.

    The same things happened also in other Southeast Asian countries. The Chinese are almost always more dominant economically compared to the natives. But they can be like this by being hardworking, have good work ethics, diligent, frugal, etc. In short they have better culture than the natives.

    For the record I am a native Southeast Asian, but I have to admit that the ethnic Chinese are more driven and determined compared to native population. In my experience even the ethnic Chinese students study harder and receive better grades. The most extreme examples are Singapore and Australia, they are the most advanced country in the region despite being immigrant countries.

    This is the question that still puzzles me to this day. We both know that uncivilized, barbaric, and welfare-addicted immigrants to the west should not be allowed into at all. Also in the Roman example above, only the Italian Romans can be a true Roman and when they started including barbarians in their rank the empire started to decline. But what about Chinese immigrants and their descendants in Southeast Asia? Sure they are non-natives but they are also more productive and have better ethics. What do you think if you were in my position as a native Southeast Asian?

    1. I am not so far removed as you may think. You probably know that the Chinese and Vietnamese tend to really hate each other and yet, an old and very patriotic Vietnamese woman I know very well surprised me once by saying how the Chinese who came to America did better than the Vietnamese because they helped each other and stuck together whereas the Vietnamese did not.

      This really does not need to be so complicated. All it takes is a cost-benefit analysis. Malaysia should only belong to the Malays (in my opinion) but if they all benefit from the Chinese and Indian minority, then it makes sense to have them but, as with any people, only as an 'added extra' so to speak. If they began to change the country, the culture and all to be Chinese rather than Malay, then that would be a problem but I have yet to see that happen.

      The ideal solution would be for the Malays to pay attention to what the Chinese do better and improve themselves to be just as effective in those areas. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be something people take to very easily. For example, England is wealthier than Scotland, Flanders is wealthier than Wallonia and Lombardy is wealthier than Calabria etc. The poorer areas take from the wealthier areas which causes resentment and anger when the better thing to do would be to understand why the one is more successful and adopt the same policies that made them so. Unfortunately, self-improvement is a hard sell, whether in Western Europe or Southeast Asia.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...