The New Praetorian Guard

Augustus created the original Praetorian Guard about 27 BCE to protect the emperor. It quickly came to exercise independent power, once even auctioning off the empire to the highest bidder. This outrage led the Roman general Septimius Severus to march on Rome and displace Emperor Julianus who had won the Praetorian bidding war. Severus disbanded the old Preatorian Guard only to set up a new Praetorian Guard, which quickly achieved a similar authority, power, and autonomy. The “intelligence community” of the US government seems to be playing a similar role today.
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Because Congress has betrayed its democratic and constitutional duty, the “intelligence community” has acquired an authority, power, and autonomy comparable to that of ancient Rome’s Praetorian Guard. Throughout the Imperial period in the West, Rome had a Senate that provided honors and riches to its members while serving a largely ceremonial function in Roman politics. The real power in Rome was divided between the Emperor and the Praetorian Guard. Something similar has come true in the US today.

Congress Should Grow a Pair

John Stockwell

The Praetorian Guard: The U.S. Role in the New World Order (Google Books)

The whole video is great. But, between all of these things, you see the same thing over and over again. The actual leaks from Ed Snowden don’t appear to be damaging, other than to the reputations of some in DC. And the later leaks being used to tar and feather Snowden appear to be much more revealing. But, somehow the insider press is fine with “leaks” that support the government’s official position, but aren’t okay when the leaks actually challenge the government.

Funny how that works. Or, rather, not funny at all.

Media Hypocrisy: When DC Insiders Leak Gov’t Talking Points About NSA, No One Has A Cow

The New Praetorian Guard includes most of “the media.”

One of the most persistent utopian visions over the last century and more is national service. By “national service” proponents never mean service to Americans. The United States long has been famous for the willingness of its people to organize to help one another and respond to social problems. Alexis de Tocqueville cited this activism as one of the hallmarks of the early American republic.

Rather, advocates of “national service” mean service to the state. To be sure, they believe the American people would benefit. But informal, decentralized, private service doesn’t count.

The latest proponent is columnist Michael Gerson, one-time speechwriter for “compassionate conservative” George W. Bush.
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However, why should the U.S. government endeavor to come up with a “softer, gentler” version of a “vivid, lifelong memory of shared national purpose”?

Service to the American People or to the American State?

Fascism – if you believe that fascism comes to the US wearing jackboots and swastikas, you are clueless. It comes with rhetoric such as “national purpose” “the government knows best” “do it for the children” and other bromides and false assurances that the growing government is benign and only “here to help,” together with demonizing and dehumanizing people who don’t agree with a larger, more powerful, more secretive, and tyrannical state.

The federalization of the private sector, the constant talk of higher taxes, the demonization of the entrepreneur, and the war against the gas and oil industries seem to ensure an ossified economy that guarantees, in turn, a need for more entitlements that, in turn again, only raise the deficit and slow down the economy further — in a self-perpetuating cycle that cannot be stopped and yet cannot go on. And yet it can go on for a while longer on borrowed money to the benefit of those invested in receiving from big government.

Given human nature, societies never voluntarily reduce entitlements. That is the subtext of much of the critique of popular democracy, beginning with Plato and Aristotle. It will do no good to note that before the 2006 Medicare prescription-drug benefit, Medicare recipients felt that payouts were already generous. It will do no good either to note that the country once felt that its Social Security disability program was humane enough without 85,000 new enrollees each month. Nor would it be wise to remind Americans that vast new improvements in technology — from laptops, cell phones, and flat-screen TVs to new prescription drugs — have made life far less harsh and far more entertaining than at any time in the past. Tell today’s Kia owner that his car is far more comfortable and reliable than the rich man’s Mercedes of the 1970s — and he is still upset that someone else has the money for a new Mercedes right now.

Appetites are never judged by an absolute standard, only by a relative one — as “cuts” to entitlements that draw hysterical invective almost always prove to be cuts in the rates of increase. Political suicide would follow any frank reminder that the present level of entitlements leads to bankruptcy. Or that we could easily prune back the welfare state and yet still live far more lavishly than we did a decade ago — given the vast rate of growth in federal spending and the explosion in technological progress.

We see the symptoms everywhere of a political discourse that has nothing to do with reality. Agribusiness and its apologists in an age of record farm prices insist that growers will perish without direct crop subsidies. We are lectured that the inner-city impoverished go to bed hungry, even as a greater number suffer from obesity; the administration cannot decide whether overeating or starvation plagues the underclass. Poor flash-mobbers rarely go after bulk foodstores when they can loot pricey sneakers and electronics. Entire industries exist to figure out how to sign parents’ assets away to their heirs so that the instantly impoverished mom and pop can receive free government nursing-home care. Police, firefighter, and non-combat military pensions and benefits are considered sacrosanct and are a third rail to anyone foolish enough to question them — even though the all-night 7-Eleven clerk, the freeway construction-crew member, and the private security guard are far lower paid, may face as much danger, and as taxpayers are expected to fund compensation for others that they could never dream of for themselves. Pious professors and administrators hector the public about the value of a college education and worry little about creating newly indebted generations — who will never attain the lifestyle of those professors and administrators whom they subsidize.

Are We Doomed?

If the mainstream media is Obama’s praetorian guard . . .



Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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