In thinking on Trump and reading Weapons and Warfare I came across this passage.
March 16, 2017 § Leave a comment
Edward Gibbon’s description of the Guard’s relationship with the emperor is unmatched for the clarity with which he identified the paradox inherent in the system:
Such formidable servants are always necessary, but often fatal to the throne of despotism. By thus introducing the Praetorian guards, as it were, into the palace and the senate, the emperors taught them to perceive their own strength, and the weakness of the civil government; to view the vices of their masters with familiar contempt, and to lay aside that reverential awe, which distance only, and mystery, can preserve towards an imaginary power. In the luxurious idleness of an opulent city, their pride was nourished by the sense of their irresistible weight; nor was it possible to conceal from them, that the person of the sovereign, the authority of the senate, the public treasure, and the seat of Empire, were all in their hands. To divert the Praetorian bands from these dangerous reflections, the firmest and best established princes were obliged to mix blandishments with commands, rewards with punishments, to flatter their pride, indulge their pleasures, connive at their irregularities, and to purchase their precarious faith by a liberal donative; which, since the elevation of Claudius, was exacted as a legal claim, on the accession of every new emperor.
This seems to be what is occurring under the Trump regime. An emperor made by bribery [that’s what campaign promises are] and rumor [social media] is now making it possible for those of us who didn’t already know “to view the vices of their masters with familiar contempt, and to lay aside that reverential awe, which distance only, and mystery, can preserve towards an imaginary power.”
The Twitter Emperor… we’ll see if he is more fortuante than Julianus who “lasted even less time than Pertinax, having injudiciously offered far more money than he could afford. He was executed on the orders of the senate just sixty-six days after he was made emperor.”
Bribes to the Praetorian Guards…. who haven’t won one since 1945. [unless Panama and Grenada count as wins..] http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-pol-trump-budget-20170316-story.html