"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

Monday, January 10, 2005

Van Helsing and Count Bonus

The coming year offers all of Nova Roma an opportunity to choose between two roads, one of reconstruction and the other of stagnation. Of course one could be forgiven for saying, “well you would say that Caesar, being a reconstructionist” but that assessment is not based on a narrow view of reconstruction versus modernism, but instead on an assessment of what were mooted as ideas by the modernists over the course of the previous year.

The central tenet of the Moderati and to some extent (muted and veiled though it is) of the Libra Alliance as well, is opposition to the Boni. The prospect of another year of listening to interminable speeches about the wicked Boni is mildly amusing, given the fact that the Boni are defunct. The only thing that could conceivably breathe life into that corpse is, ironically, the persistent and unyielding shrieking about Boni plots and the need for vigilance. The ferocity of the opposition is sadly not a testament to the effectiveness of the Boni, but rather to the inability of certain individuals to seize on a position other than that the monster is not dead, just sleeping.

With the fervour of Van Helsing, our collection of vampire hunters run around Nova Roma in a frenzy of Transylvanian terror, yelling to a largely uninterested populace, that Count Bonus is not dead, but has turned into a bat and flitted off to hide in the shadows, awaiting the moment to rise again. At the slightest hint of conservatism these individuals scrabble around in their carpetbag of stock speeches, trite sayings and hackneyed phrases and produce the ubiquitous political stake and hammer. An almost orgasmic rush to plunge the stake into the suspected scion of the un-dead follows but often the target is missed and instead the vampire hunter’s own foot gets neatly pinned to the Main List for all to see.

All this medieval madness is thoroughly pointless. The Boni were never the threat that its opponents painted them out to be. They were a group of very conservative citizens who saw the need to defend the primacy of the Religio as a state religion, to protect the Collegium Pontificum from attempts to either dismantle or cripple it, and to promote the mos maiorum. I wish I could say that the Boni was as organised and focused as its opponents make out, but this was not the case.

The Boni were never a political party but in an apparent triumph of propaganda the opponents of the Boni obviously have now fed well and too long on the various distortions that were deliberately propagated. The Libra and the Moderati have presented a far more unified and political platform than the Boni ever managed to do. In that respect the Boni were the most Roman of factions and its opponents have constructed a well oiled and disciplined party machine to combat a myth.

The one success of the Boni was to unknowingly befuddle its opponents into believing that it was organised, and the willing abettors in the spread of that most delicious rumour was in fact those people that form the Moderati and the Libra. The Boni have crumbled to dust and left the Moderati and Libra in full possession of the field.

The trouble is that having whipped up some of the villagers into a state of hysteria over Count Bonus and consistently maintained the Main List at a state of red alert, they now don’t believe that the monster is a small pile of dust in the corner. These people with the objective of destroying the Boni have invested too much time and effort to simply give up and go home. Life as an unemployed vampire hunter pales by comparison and certainly lacks the rush that they no doubt experienced in the full flow of combative Main List posting.

Despite the profusion of olive branches and the various statements of good intent they are still caressing their stakes and fingering their hammers. They are still rooting around in the graveyards of Nova Roman political life hoping to catch a glance of the un-dead, so they can start the whole tiresome process again.

What may happen now is that those that echo conservative views maybe pursued and pinned with a large stake for all to witness. Never mind the fact that these people never were members of the Boni. Never mind they may be new citizens. Never mind that the Libra Alliance spokesman could equally say much of what they say and suffer no verbal assaults. Our vampire hunters need targets, they have an adrenaline addiction to feed and sooner or later it will surface unless they face the reality of a post-Boni political landscape.

The way ahead for Nova Roma this year has to be to increase the numbers of its citizens, seek innovative ways to raise money, which do not involve grants thereby compromising our independence, and to make a conscious effort to stop terrifying the populace with all these tales of blood sucking wraiths lurking under the bed.

If those olive branches were genuinely proffered then the stakes and hammers have to be put away. The price we will all pay if this doesn’t happen is another year of unbridled enmity. The continued existence of two political machines, the Libra and Moderati, founded to combat the myth of an organised and effective Boni is itself a testament to how myopic some people can be.