Make the Empire|Great Again!

     Maybe it’s me, or maybe it’s Donald Trump, but he reminds me of Caligula.
     Neither had any experience in government when they sought power, and power was handed to them.
     Both bragged about their military prowess, though neither served in war.
     Both said that torture was a good thing.
     Both bragged about their sexual profligacy.
     Both admitted their interest in incest.
     Both loved flattery – they bathed in it – they regarded anything less than flattery as an insult.
     Both got the flattery they wanted from cowardly politicians afraid to offend them.
     Both came to power through wealth and family connections.
     Both claimed the endorsement of God, or Gods, though neither acknowledged any duty to God.
     Both asked, as Caligula did: Who would dare to teach me?
     Both shunned advice from anyone who claimed to be their equal.
     Caligula executed people for claiming such a thing.
     These facts come from the daily news, and from the usual sources on Caligula: Suetonius, Cassius Dio, Tacitus, Philo, Josephus and Seneca – the last three of whom knew Caligula personally.
     Philo said Caligula was conceited, ill-mannered and irresponsible. Seneca said he was incapable of respecting anyone or conversing with anyone without insulting him.
     Neither Trump nor Caligula actually wanted to serve their country. They didn’t even ask their country to serve them: They asked it to serve an imaginary person who they pretended to be.
     I also consulted the standard modern biography, Professor Anthony Barrett’s biography, “Caligula: The Corruption of Power” (1989, Yale University Press.)
     When “The Corruption of Power” was in the news in 1990, before we knew how bad it would get, Barrett told The New York Times he was not certain that Caligula was insane, only that he was “‘arrogant, willful and self-centered,’ which led him to behave ‘in an irresponsible and egotistical manner’ after the Roman Senate foolishly handed him power.”
     Caligula was “a frightening figure not because he was crazy,” Barrett said, “but because he was ‘capable of rational decisions, capable of statesmanlike acts, but morally neutral, determined to sweep all before him in the pursuit of his own personal ends.'”
     Morally neutral, hey? What does that mean? And what are those “personal ends”?
     Today, I suppose, the U.S. Supreme Court would say that personal ends are “enshrined in our Constitution.”
     In fairness to Trump, who is too busy to remember which Grand Dragons of the Ku Klux Klan have endorsed him for president and which Dragons are still, shamelessly, on the fence; who is too busy dealing with class action lawsuits about his $35,000 tuition at “Trump University,” an education that students describe as “infomercials;” and who can’t seem to keep track of what he denied from one day to the next – we can’t expect Trump to remember who Caligula was.
     So here’s a quick refresher for the Republican (what a wonderful word) candidate, and for his “university” students who might want to use their settlement money, if any, to enroll in a real college some day.
     Caligula was a Roman emperor who served not quite four years (37-41 A.D.) and who, among other things, declared himself a God; enjoyed watching torture; tortured people himself; killed senators for their money; raped a senator’s wife at a banquet and then prosecuted and executed the senator for “prostituting” her; suggested that his horse (Incitatus) be elected consul and join the Senate; and so on.
     I’m not saying that Donald Trump would do this.
     I’m just saying.

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