The future king of America is (probably) currently alive and is (at least) thirteen years old. And when I say probably, I mean that I would bet at even odds that in my natural lifetime, America will have a monarch or a dictator or an emperor or some other word for an executive serving for life and wielding practically unlimited power (even if only sophisticated observers realize how much power that is). It might be as few as four years. It might be as many as forty. It won’t be longer than sixty.

How’s that for an attention grabber?

I don’t know his (or her) exact age, and I doubt very much if he will hold the title of “king” or “queen.” Augustus was “princeps,” after all, or “first citizen.” More likely than not, we will continue to call our monarch “Mr(s) President.”

I don’t know his political party or his professed ideology. He could be left-wing or right-wing. I would give the right a slight edge in the odds only because the officer corps leans more towards them. Both camps are flirting/battling with the illiberal temptation within their camps. We have Antifa and BAPism. The young, activist class in both camps find the mechanisms of the liberal order tiresome, ridiculous, and suicidal for their camp to observe.

I always thought this was true as a general statement: “Someday, in the ill-defined future, the Republic falls.” I now think it happens in my lifetime.

What changed?

We are passed the climax of Trump’s comical “attempt to overturn the election.” Snowflakes have better chances in hell than it had, but it was never meant to succeed. It was meant to shore up loyalty in the Trumpist faction of the GOP, to raise money, and secure a few last minute pardons for corruption.

And no, this isn’t an anti-Trump rant. Trump doesn’t matter anymore. I only bring him up because this one last action matters: he showed that it could be done. What if he were actually popular within the GOP? Within the officer corps? What if he wanted it to succeed?

We just saw how much of the most rambunctious and rebellious of our two main political factions was prepared to line up behind a clownish coup attempt. What if it weren’t clownish? And before the Democrats get a little too warm and fuzzy, we’ve also been given evidence of how terrified their establishment is of the tiny sliver of Maoists in their base.

Trump’s attempt failed. Good riddance. But, we’ve been wondering awhile which figure of the Roman republic to compare him to. We got our answer: he is Sulla.

Teenage Caesar watched Sulla march on Rome. What was once unthinkable now seems like something that could be done. Across America, thousands, maybe even a million people have noticed that the unthinkable and the un-doable is now thought and so very close to done. Some of them are aglow at the prospect.

Our future king is at least a teenager. If so, then we may have thirty or forty years before he can apply the lesson. If he is in his twenties or thirties, we have much less time. Younger than a teenager, and Trump is a history lesson. Much older than forty and too old to have been really changed by this. Our future Cato might now be in his forties. Our Caesar is not.

If true, what do we do?

Pick your side now and prepare. And I don’t mean the left or the right. In fact, forget the left and the right. Our squabbles over the right shape of the progressive taxation curve will be put into perspective in the coming decades. I mean that for the first time in your life you will be asked to decide whether the liberal project we’ve been embarked on for the last few centuries has been a good thing or not. Caesar might promise you a better welfare system, and for at least a generation, he will probably deliver. Augustus did. He might promise you the restoration of our ancestral religion, and he could probably deliver that one, too, at least a shadow of it, at least for a lifetime.

Rather, the question is going to be presented to you whether you prefer our weird, clunky, slow, and unnatural abstraction of a political system.

Or an extremely gifted, charismatic man to finally “fix this,” where “this” is all of the counter-intuitive and frustrating rules that make a liberal system work and they we all so casually call “the swamp” or “white supremacy” and say we are sick of.

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28 December 2020