The Praetorians


During the years of the Roman Republic, the Praetorian Guard was an elite unit of the Roman army responsible for the protection of important public officials. Augustus converted the Guard into a personal protective detail for the emperor, and the unit served in that capacity for about three hundred years. After years of being close to the center of power, the Guard became notable for its intrigue and interference in Roman politics, to the point of overthrowing emperors and proclaiming their successors. In 312, the Guard was disbanded by Constantine.

Mackubin Owens has a post over at American Greatness which draws some interesting comparisons between the Deep State, especially the Intelligence Community, and the Praetorian Guard.

The fact is that the deep state is praetorianism on steroids. It is based on the claim that unelected bureaucrats have a duty to undermine the policy of a duly elected president, simply because they disagree with it. Vindman is a perfect example of this mindset. He complained that “he was deeply troubled by what he interpreted as an attempt by the president to subvert U.S. foreign policy . . . .” Read that again. The problem here is that Article II of the Constitution gives the president sweeping powers to conduct foreign affairs and negotiate with leaders of other nations. It does not grant any such power to unelected bureaucrats to act in ways that demonstrate they approve or disapprove of foreign policy—even when they are “deeply troubled” by it.

No matter what one thinks about Trump, we must ask ourselves: is it a good idea for military officers, members of the Intelligence Community, and even run-of-the-mill bureaucrats to form a phalanx around the duly elected president “for the good of the country”? Do we really want to normalize the view that unelected bureaucrats are the protectors of republican government? If so, we enable the denizens of the deep state, a concept at war with the very idea of republican government.

No, I think not.

Read the whole thing.

1 thought on “The Praetorians

  1. I left the civil service last month. I did what I could to serve my fellow Americans for just under six years. Being a Praetorian Guard was not part of the job description and certainly wasn’t what I did in any respect.

    The people within the competitive civil service and the Senior Executive Service members who are all trying to “save the country” are very dishonest people. If you oppose the President the honorable thing to do is to resign and then make your opposition clear as a member of the public. Thwarting The President is a violation of the 14 principles of ethical conduct for federal employees and just narrowly avoids an “honest services” charge.

    If these folks want a coup they should be open about it and just do it.

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