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About NeoCicero

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  • Birthday 01/03/1984

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    Policy and Statecraft.
  1. NeoCicero

    How Did the Political Structure in Rome influence U.S. Political Structure

    The problem here is a few retrojections of history. First that St. Augustine wrote his City of God over the manuscript of Cicero's Republic, considered the first constitution, a fact that wasn't discovered until the 19th century, after the US had been founded. In addition, with the Punic Wars, Roman history itself was rewritten to justify the imperialist conquest, against the laws of the Republic so the winners rewrote it for precedent: why most believe they didn't live up to their model, when in fact the generals no doubt did away with the republic after they couldn't get their agrarian laws past the Senate. Had this not been, the Americans would have been aware that pillaging the land of the Natives and working it with plundered slaves was exactly the sort of thing Cicero was prohibiting in On Duties when he says a purpose of government is to protect property, saying that we own nothing except for long occupancy, and then goes on to talk about Arpinium, where he was from, was the last city let into the republic before the senators began plundering land (with a custom or decree, not law), implying instead they should protect the long standing rights of it's denizens.
  2. Our duty in a commonwealth is to be just and generous. Bastiat quoted me awry. Taxation is not plunder. Stealing land and taking slaves is. I hope those French Revolutionaries stop quoting me out of context!

  3. NeoCicero

    The Fall of the Republic

    Also, they should have assassinated Marc Antony instead. Rather than the victim, I think he was the true villain of the story. How do others feel?
  4. NeoCicero

    The Fall of the Republic

    1)whether you feel that the Roman oligarchy/republic was worth saving The Republic is always worth saving from corruption and it's fall. The reason why we doubt it, and the problem with all of history, Heidegger says, is that the Romans failed to adhere to the Greek ideal. But the SPQR itself WAS failed. In fact, it wasn't until the Age of Generals that Rome began to just plunder lands and take slaves. Before that, people were made allies, and able to join an economic empire that meant they could have all the acoutrements of civilization, instead of just their one piece. It meant peace and protection for them throughout the known world. This is how the republic and the empire was supposed to operate, for the protection of its constituent states. The other problem with Rome was that some senator at some point had decreed that people could squat on the public land, as long as they provided a tithe of food. This led to senators squatting on the land, and running giant plantations or latifundia, with slaves. This situation led to the stacking of the voting blocks in the Comita, where nobilites knew they could keep their power, because proportionally people from teh countryside had more votes than the million in the city, but with elections every year few real farmers travelled to the capital, allowing the nobilites to control the vote. But as I said, things were not always this way, and the history was later retrojected to hide these things ( T.P. Wiseman). 2)whether it was possible, anyway, to save it There was a possibility to save Rome. One thought would have been to make it not mandatory to own land to serve in the military. As more and more wars of conquest depleted Rome's forces, and more and more citizens moved to the city and off the land, there were less and less people to serve in the military. Therefore, generals like Caesar and Pompey thought, why not give the land we take in conquest to our soldiers in payment? As you can imagine, this promise created a huge host that was loyal only to their commander, not the republic. 3)had you been there, at the time, what actions you would have taken to save it On the first day of his consulship, in 69 BC, Cicero argued against the agrarian law and it was overturned. However, this noble and heroic action was to fall short of the mark. Without an agrarian law, Caesar and Pompey had their backs against a wall when it came to their soldiers. In a sense, they were forced to end the republic. But hapless and hopeless they were not. Each had a choice. Cicero was shocked when Pompey chose power, although the man had always been power hungry. He also warned Caesar about the impact he was making on history. Cicero himself was asked to join this triumverate and REFUSED. Instead, he did all that he could do at that point. He preserved the order that was Rome into the world's first constitution, and this book we call his Republic. If it had not been lost until the 19th century, history would look different. Cicero however, was shocked when his cohorts murdered Caesar, almost to please him, the great champion of the republic. He was horrified that Caesar could not restore the republic. The real danger, the real adder in the nest, was actually Antony. Not lured by power or forced by circumstance, his avarice, greed, and intent to destroy the republic knew no bounds, and eventually he did murder Cicero. Octavian, on the other hand, took Cicero's advice in his speech to Caesar, and transformed Rome from a city of brick to a city of marble, along the great orator's blueprints. But alas, despite his skills as a leader, or his fathers, as is outlined in theory on the succession problem, once you remove elections, his sons were despots, utterly mad many of them. Once the republic fell, it was all falling after that, and it took nearly a millenia, if not more, for humanity to evolve again out of the darkness. Even if Cicero couldn't save the Republic at the time, perhaps his words can save the world now. He tried to preserve that period in human evolution, the agrarian state, for posterity, and now we are seeing another evolutionary phase in Wilber's Integral Theory of the Evolution of Consciousness, the global age, where we might all learn again how to become republics (as evidenced by the Arab Spring), and work together as a peaceful and just world empire, once again, a juridical order that, as Negri says, would not eliminate sovereignty but affirm it, as we would all be equal as states, a Hobbsean order rather than a Lockean possibility of chaos, where world peace is kept by a delicate balance of world powers or empires, as opposed to an empire without an emperor such as Rome had, and is in constant danger of world war or global destruction. So it is still worth saving the Republic, that people might know how to save the world. If you're interested in these topics, you can read about the reasons for the fall of Rome in my thesis here: http://www.academia.edu/897777/State_of_Affairs_before_the_Fall_Roman_Agrarian_Legislation_in_the_Republic_of_Cicero. I hope to post a piece this weekend on the Commonwealth, and by the end of the year, 2012, on the Simulacrum and the Singularity. Thank you for asking this question!
  5. NeoCicero

    The meaning of "Res Publica"

    Wikipeida doesn't seem to reflect this, so I wonder how much of the definition has changed over time, and how much has been lost.
  6. NeoCicero

    The meaning of "Res Publica"

    ("Deleuze designates this state of affairs as
  7. NeoCicero

    voting in Rome

    I totally agree with Praetor that one must look at public lands and the ager publicus to get to the heart of this discussion of the fall of Rome's Republic, for once again, it was not always this way, and perhaps we have been taught to assume it was. While yes, the frequency of the elections meant that few were willing to travel from the countryside to vote, the Patricians using the comita to maintain control of Rome came after the decree from the Senate (a decree which did not hold the force of law ever), that people might occupy the public lands and work it. As Appian and Plutarch both point out, this led to Patricians taking over large tracts of land, or latifundia, basically slave plantations, and thus recieving all of the votes for the landed countryside (which as we know was 36 votes in the comita, rather than the 6 votes all the collective million voters of Rome received). I don't know if Appian puts an exact date on this decree (Appian, Civil Wars, 1.1.7), but we can assume it is somewhere after the many wars that decimated Rome's population in the second and third centuries, and before the landlessness that caused the ire of the Gracchi in 133 BC. According to Peter Wiseman, author of Clio's Cosmetics, and a professor Emeritus at Exeter, all of the history was rewritten and retrojected at this point anyway, in order to justify such actions. So at that time the history went from being 9 volumes to ten times that number. Obviously the history on this point was obscured to hide the fact that this hadn't always been the precedent. Therefore, this question is not black and white: yes, this BECAME the truth, but it was NOT the truth, but an obfuscation of it. Cicero would have known the history of this incident, and identified it was a problem.
  8. NeoCicero

    What's the last book you read?

    I read the intro in a library in Japan because it was the only English book. I was turned off (not surprisingly) immediately, because Hitler was describing with impunity his boyhood "antics" as none other than a giant bully. I'd balance the measure with a copy of Aldous Huxley's The Island; the islanders' address this complex in their Utopian society.
  9. NeoCicero

    Worst General Or Politician In Roman History

    I would say worst politician was Antony. He should have been killed instead of Caesar, so that makes him the worst. He was the dangerous one. He's the one who killed Cicero. Also, Cicero REALLY hated Clodius. I mean, he CHANGED his name to become a pleb, and got Cicero exiled.
  10. NeoCicero

    The Fall of the Republic

    This was the topic of my thesis, State of Affairs before the Fall: Roman Agrarian Legislation in the Republic of Cicero. It is the fundamental question to ask about not only why Rome fell, but to find out Rome's true history. The fact that Beck continues to obscure could indicate just how pivotal this information is at this point in time, WITHOUT being historically myopic. The principles of political philosophy endure, after all. In fact, Rome wasn't a republic until it was an empire, as we all know. The myth about Rome that everyone believes today is that she came, saw and conquered, like Caesar. In fact, new citizens were made part of the Pax Romana, able to travel the known world with impunity, and some of the lands became public lands, until some senator DECREED (a mos, not a lex, and definitely not a fas), that the people could work the public lands. I don't know if this led to the landlessness, or if it was just Rome's many imperial wars in the third and second centures, but the fact of the matter was according to the law, citizens could only fight in the armies if they owned land, and there were less men who could fight, levies became unpopular, and they had to rely on volunteers or untrained men to fight war after war. Meanwhile, the senators had taken up squatting on the land themselves, and working them with slaves. Enter the Gracchi. Tiberius said, why not redistribute the public lands among the citizens and the allies? Many of Rome's citizens, who by now lived in the city, fed by the patrons, had little desire however to be packed of to plow, or shipped to the armies to fight. Other tribunes ran against them, on the platform of conquering colonies to redistribute the land. Tiberius demanded those holding the public lands come forth, but none did, so he set up a SuperCommittee, if you will, which he vested with the power of iudicium (bad, this belongs to an elected senate, once it is taken from the king) to determine what lands were whose. That didn't work so well, and the Senate DIDN'T furnish Gracchus with any land, and so he was forced to wait until Pergammom, a rich province given to Rome, to even try to put his plan into affect. A simple precedent whose ramifications would not be felt for many years. It is no doubt to highlight the fact that this would later cause the fall of Rome's republic that Cicero set his Republic during the time of the Gracchi. The only historically myopic one here is Beck. He is using this as an argument against the common wealth, instead of for it. Even though Tiberius seemed revolutionary with his land redistribution, in fact it was the senators who were stealing the land, and using slaves to work it; that mean they got more votes in the comita. Real farmers were unwilling to travel to Rome once a year to vote, so come voting time, the block from the countryside, which got 36 votes, was always just filled with Senators, while all of Rome's one million citizens got only 6 votes. The senators had used it to corrupt the voting system, maintain control of the state, which they had wrested from the people. In fact, according to Cicero, the republic is the land it is build on, the people, and their common wealth or things(res publicae). He says the duties of the state are social welfare, and social justice, and protecting the people. Beck purposely twisted that argumenthere. He is laying the blame on the people for demanding redistribution of wealth: and yes, perhaps the Gracchi were wrong to take lands that belonged to the Sociis, but really the senators were the one who had taken 99% of the wealth for the 1%. Beck is trying to argue against socialism! Turning it into the reason for the fall of the republic! Laughable. For I shall tell you why the republic fell, and it wasn't because the people weren't listening to a senate that no longer represented them, but was out for their own self interests (but Beck would argue that we should still be loyal to a Senate that has abandoned the people, as if a republic that wasn't just was still a republic!) Cut to age of the generals. We have generals promising land to their followers upon completion of fighting, and building vast armies loyal to them! When Pompey and Caesar couldn't get their agrarian law past Cicero and the senate (Cicero argued in his speach agains the Agrarian Legislation that the SuperCommittee, or decemviri, would sell off all the revenues of the state, earned by the sweat of the peoples brows, in proper order, the public lands, everything, not selling some things for the sake of corruption that they might sell them for the sake of bribery). To get their law throught, Pompey and Caesar were forced to end the Republic. That was the end of Rome, for it was all falling after that: they were never able to solve the succession problem, even in the east, because of course only a republic solves that problem through elections. He also appeals to another argument currently on debate in harvardjustice.edu. Do we feed Christians to lions? He's just riling people up against Republic, which should be a model for us, although as Tribune Laticlavius points out, it was a bad model. Alas, we were forced to model on a that flawed state because Cicero's Republic, considered the first constitution, was lost to us until the 19th century: Augustine wrote his city of god over it. So although Cicero attempted to preserve the order that was Rome, the Catholic Church took on the role, and we were forced to re-evolve republics in the Meadow at Runnymede. I find it laughable that Beck makes only one other statement, trying to argue the Caesars weren't dictators, and that the people gave up their power willingly because they were bribed, not that Casear and Pompey, with their giant armies, didn't take it from them. Does he think to absolve dictators like Octavian of their Tyranny? Only a populares would do this, by which we can assume that Beck supports the Dictator party. He supports a "republic," wherein the people have given up their power to a senate that doesn't represent them, but absolves the senate, saying the people "took bribes," and argues that Octavian wasn't a dictator because of his obvious attempt to appeal to the people (as dictators do, having removed the pyrmaid of government that protects the people from him, making him more expedient in times of necessity, but a supreme leader nonetheless, as long as he has the mob on his side), as if two-thousand year old propaganda still appealed to us. (yes o first citizen.) In fact, the whole history of Rome is two thousand year old propaganda: around the time of the gracchi, all of history was rewritten, or retrojected, expanding from 9 volumes to 99, to justify this agrarian law, and giving the land to the senate, and the corruption, etc. Beck has made very few points, but very cleverly. For he has twisted, like the rewritten roman history, to re-allocate powers in the state, the duties of each part, trying to change precedent, but really obscuring political philosophy and the truth (much like the tyrants of Rome's day). This is my understanding of the full calamitous import of such simple statements. He would turn the republic on it's head, and tell you lies were truth, injustice justice, social welfare to be a burden on the state, rather than it's duty. In other words, he twists history to his purpose, rather than using history (Cicero's account of events) to learn the true nature of an ideal state.