Gangs of Rome. Greens and Blues and Reds. Sports and Politics

As Rome transitioned from the Republic to the Empire, the politics could be ruthless. Factions were polarized on everything from tax policy to sports teams. While every one thinks of the gladiatorial expositions as the epitome of Roman sports but the real action was the chariot races. Think NASCAR on tow wheels and all four horses out in front. The races were classed by teams and the teams were called by color.

Those who followed Anthony, or Pompe Magus, or Crassis would claim that color and cheer those racers. The drivers were minor celebrities who commanded their own following. This ran right down to the street gangs. Pick a color and stick to it. If you keep up you get called for the real fun. Rioting. If Crassis put out the word, he could command a riot in just a couple hours and shut down that part of the city.

Is your political opponent going out to speak? I hope he brought his boys because our guys might show up and have their own say. Gangs blocking Senators from entering the Forum was a serious problem. Worse, it became accepted.

Over running the Forum with your gangs was not done. Some lines can not be crossed. A very non-metaphorical Rubicon. Every hand would turn against anyone so foolish and irresponsible.

It seems Mr Trump tried to cross that river but now finds himself mired in the muddy middle with the current washing away everything he brought with him. I will have no sympathy for those still clinging to his colors.

“… and you can tell Crassis that the next time he tries to run his charioteers in to the forum, they will not meet the City Guard waving clubs. Equestriat will bring steel to ensure there will not be any further demonstrations.”

I Don’t Believe It

Robert Anton Wilson said, “I don’t believe in any thing. I understand the evidence.” I dislike using the word as a lazy description of a sophisticated process. Science uses models to predict events. It predicts the sun will come up in the morning and my room mate will snore. “My model predicts” seems to roll off my tongue smoothly. Without the lazy “believe” in the way you make clear statements. Not “I believe we should …”, just a clean “We should” or even a gentle “I think” will make you address things more better, double plus good, trust me. My models predict good results with even moderate applications. See how easy that is?

Learning From History

King Conan

Once he had secured his crown, he did not just recline to enjoy his victory as was his habit so many times in the past. Conan had served under a great many kings and didn’t think much of most of them. He quickly drove out the bandits that had taken up in the hinterlands. Incursions from other, more averous kingdoms were repulsed firmly enough that no one tried it twice. Though he never took a Queen, he never segregated his concubines and was active in raising his children. His sons grew strong and tall like their father and he gave them more and more responsibility in the kingdom. Finally, he stepped down and handed his crown to his son for he was ready and there was no reason Conan had to do all the heavy lifting. Still, he remained closely involved. He would spend months traveling from village to town to city, meeting with leaders of trade and various officials, many times over a mid day feast. And thus was born the legend of

Conan the Rotarian!

A topical discussion on corruption

The Problem Is Obvious

The entire government is not corrupt. If that were the case there would be no need for pretense and your neighbor would be needing to see personal details of your life or face official action. Quite the contrary, most government workers are driven by their love of this country and give huge amounts of themselves. There are corrupt individuals and corrupt departments. It is a thing and has been since there were semi-autonomous parties. From road crews to politicians, nothing new in six thousand years we have receipts for. We are not going to do away with the entity. The Bad Apples we all know and use as examples are notable for their Rarity. The cure is, and always has been, Transparency. A nice sentiment but it entails a whole ‘nuther problem for labor to assume and management to pay for. And don’t you just love some CQ gook snooping in your work?

Systemic corruption is different. It starts at the top. Corruption, by itself, can not consume a culture. It starts with the intent to steal. The American system is set up to make stealing hard. To get past it requires the cooperation of other people who are themselves corrupt and will not tell on you. These second layer people present two problems. They are chosen for a crooked, or at least compliant, attitude and not for their skills. Since they are usually drawn by gain and not love of service, they have to be paid. [ The Religious take a different payment] Sometimes it is enough to allow them to feed. This creates a new set of problems. Even getting rid of a corrupt leader or cartel still leaves many of these low level predators in the halls of The People. They dig in like tics, sucking the life out of the people around them. How do you get rid of them with out purges or pogroms? That is going to be an important discussion.