"Sed fortuna, quae plurimum potest cum in reliquis rebus tum praecipue in bello, parvis momentis magnas rerum commutationes efficit; ut tum accidit."

C. Iulius Caesar - Commentarii de Bello Civili Bk III.68

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Liberace lives!

As the months have worn on it has become clear that there is a Cold War in progress in Nova Roma. Some of course would be quick to attribute that solely to the Boni, and not surprisingly these people would be the adherents of the Moderati. Others with a more perspicacious grasp of the subtleness of human dynamics would conclude that in a political environment, such as Nova Roma, division into camps is inevitable. Now we all know that Aulus Apollonius Cordus thinks that these groups are subversive and that if he had a chance he would ban the lot of them, but in reality nothing will ever prevent people from forming into factions.

The debates of the summer certainly carved the lines of division in Nova Roma onto the stone slabs of our virtual community. The Volcanus list, became the no-name group, finally morphing into the Moderati. The Optimates appeared and were extinguished within the space of days (but then who knows whether in some dark virtual hole they are not at this moment huddled, "plotting").

Now we have the Libra Alliance. Did the Moderati get sucked into the Librae? If so should it not be the Liberati? That name reminds me of Liberace and now I mentally picture all the notables of that group dressed in outrageously sequined costumes with high collars and flowing cloaks, flashing brilliant white-toothed smiles, and with an abundance of rings adorning their fingers.

When I read what they stood for I knew for certain that Liberace lives. The platitudes that are billed as a "platform" are statements that most Nova Romans could agree with. There is nothing dynamic or enlightening to be found there. I can only conclude that in the total absence of a meaningful platform the Libra exist solely to perpetuate the re-election of the same set of magistrates that have signed onto the Good Ship Libra, or their chosen successors. Who said patronage doesn't exist in Nova Roma? If it does there is nothing wrong with that, but let us call a spade a spade and then identify the Alliance as a self-interest group rather than a serious force for historic development in Nova Roma

Many people from all sides of the political arena recognize that at some point we have to steer Nova Roma in a direction other than the circular one it has followed for the last two years or so. The divisions start when we have to look at the compass and choose a heading. One could not even say that the courses on offer were roughly headed in the same direction, or even in the same quadrant of the compass. The Libras include people who would have few qualms, in my opinion, in taking Nova Roma in a decidedly un-historic direction if they thought it was popular.

Of course one could ask what is popular? There are so few active political posters in Nova Roma that judging the mood of the electorate is a theoretical exercise. As there are three camps, the conservatives, the modernists and the "don't cares" one could look for the ubiquitous floating voter but does such a creature exist in Nova Roma? Probably not given the nature of posts and the election results. So what is popular really means what is popular to the modernist camp.

The forthcoming elections will be a real test of where Nova Roma will head for the next few years, either into the melting pot of modernist experimentation or towards a historic recreation of Roman society and culture. The Libra Alliance do not offer the path to the stars, not unless those are the stars boxers see when they have been walloped a few times.

The Libra Alliance is the path to the glitzy and tawdry politics of this modern age. It is the path to flashing white-toothed smiles attached to a pair of legs, all gleam and no body. They may have the very best interests of Nova Roma at heart, as they say they do, but given the paucity of their policies one can only conclude that it is the heart of a flea, rather than that of an eagle.

Until something more substantial appears in their policy statement, it seems that a vote for the Libras is a vote for the Liberaces of Nova Roman politics.