August 31, 2022

Demystifying the Spanish Inquisition

Series overview here, and history of the Spanish Empire here. Next, a little demystification of the Spanish Inquisition is in order, given America and Britain's historical hostility to Spain.

The security apparatus of the Spanish Empire consisted of the Spanish Inquisition, which was mainly a tribunal, and the Holy Brotherhood (Santa Hermandad), which was more of a gendarmerie. The full name of the Inquisition also includes the word "Holy" (Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition). The authority and legitimacy of these organs of the Deep State were religious, sacred, holy, etc. -- not to be transgressed, which would amount to profanation, heresy, blasphemy, apostasy, etc.

This is no different from the Praetorian Guard in Rome, since their foremost duty was to protect the emperor, who according to the imperial cult was a god himself. By identifying and neutralizing threats to a political leader, they were also preventing attacks on a god. And it's scarcely any different in the American Empire, with our FBI, whose mythical purpose to defend our sacred civic religion of democracy against threats to it (which are treated as dangerously heretical, apostate, and so on).

And far from the local impromptu witch trials of the raving hysterics in Protestant Germany around the same time, the Spanish Inquisition was a stodgy bloated bureaucracy with multiple levels of hierarchy, and complicated procedures, including appeals -- the better to check the zeal of would-be witch-burners. And in fact the Inquisition was far less bloody than the Protestant witch trials.

That was not because the heads of the Inquisition's bureaucracy were so kindhearted -- but because hysterical witch-burners are wannabe upstart strivers at the local and anarchic level of society. The whole point of the Inquisition, and any Deep State, is to centralize authority and check the ambitions of the unruly elites below it.

Hence, in our own empire, the FBI targeting local school boards that pass anti-woke policies. As the FBI sees it, it's up to the centralized state, not local yahoos, to decide how the empire's children will be enculturated. If left up to the yahoos, there would be a zillion different outcomes, many contradictory, and at times threatening the legitimacy of the ruling elite, whose holy ideology du jour is wokeness.

Also unlike the Protestant psychos, who could have been snitching on their neighbor or friend or family member out of a petty grudge, the Inquisition primarily concerned itself with the wealthy, influential, and elite. The elites -- not the peasants -- pose the greatest collective threat to the central state. Similarly, the FBI only freaked out when anti-woke policies were being passed by school boards in wealthy suburbs of the imperial capital (NoVa), not in rural Kentucky.

And as the bureaucracy grows more and more bloated, with less and less reason for existing anymore, they will want to shake down their targets, to fund their skyrocketing budgets. No use in shaking down a landless peasant -- they will shake down a wealthy person instead. That is not confined to state security, but any kind of bureaucratic perpetuation.

In short, the Inquisition was used to identify, harass, and maybe even get rid of the potential or actual political enemies of the centralized leadership of the empire. They can't do this so nakedly and cynically, so they need a sacred, rather than utilitarian, rationalization. Their notion of the sacred involved the divine right of absolute monarchs to rule, and it was a sacred institution that was in charge of the tribunal. You couldn't oppose the political, utilitarian program of state security without also opposing the religious, sacred program of the church.

Likewise today, you can't oppose the FBI's partisan intervention in politics without also opposing the sacred institutions of American democracy, according to our conception of the sacred. Telling the FBI to go fuck itself is up-ending "the rule of law," i.e. the kind of system where God is in charge and everything flows nice and orderly, so that the Devil might take over and usher in wickedness and chaos. Or so the mission statement of the Deep State always goes.

* * *

The Spanish Inquisition was founded in 1478, concurrent with the end of the Civil Wars of the Reconquista (1350 - 1479), during which the northern Iberian Christian kingdoms were at war with each other, and within themselves. Those civil wars came after several centuries of a fairly united Christian front that drove the Moors into the southern tip of the peninsula (1100 to 1250).

This ebb-and-flow of united fronts against external enemies, and civil wars after the former has been achieved, is general. The long period of civil wars during the Crisis of the Roman Republic came after a couple centuries of a fairly united front to drive out the invading Gauls and the Carthaginians. The American Civil War & Reconstruction came after a long period of uniting to conquer the Indian threat, and to break away from the British Empire.

The next stage is the rise of the state security apparatus, now that the central leadership has had its attention drawn to *internal* threats to its power and stability, not only external enemies, where its attention had been focused earlier in imperial expansion. The Praetorian Guard as a powerful faction followed the Crisis of the Roman Republic, and the FBI followed the end of the Civil War & Reconstruction.

It was no different in Spain. The Castilian kingdom had always been the region with the highest asabiya (intense social bonds, or potential for collective action), as it was the most exposed to the meta-ethnic frontier with the Moorish Empire. The Civil Wars of the Reconquista established Castile as the foremost among the Christian kingdoms, and so the security apparatus was designed to protect the Castilian leadership against all other threats.

Those threats included not only the foreign Muslims and Jews who had come in with the Moorish invasion, but also non-Castilian regions in northern Spain -- greater Aragon (including Catalonia), Basque Country / Navarre, and Portugal. As Spain expanded and involved itself more in European politics, external threats -- e.g., from the Protestant Reformation, or later the Enlightenment -- could enter Spain directly with foreign invaders, or through Spaniards who were sympathetic to those foreign sources.

And although the following point was not so crucial within its historical context, it needs to be emphasized for the people of the British and American empires, whose own ethnogenesis is fundamentally anti-Catholic (stemming from their imperial rivalry with France and Spain). Part of their imperial mythology is that their imperial rivals are slave-like robots to the central orders of the Pope, who controls all people in all Catholic societies like an evil mastermind.

In reality, Spain sought to insulate its central state from the influence of the Pope, who was not only the sacred leader of the Roman Catholic Church, but the political leader of the Papal States (the rump state that contained Rome, in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire). This Inquisition was Spanish -- not Italian or Roman or Papal -- because it was designed to protect the security of the central leadership of the Spanish Empire, not of Rome, the Papal States, or the international Roman Catholic Church.

Likewise, the American Empire has its own proper FBI and CIA to shield its own imperial leadership against threats to its sacred political institutions. They don't outsource all of that work to the British Deep State just because we are historically related and have similar conceptions of the sacred (democracy, representative government, etc.). Spain and the Papal States were both Christian / Catholic, just as America and Britain are both liberal democratic in their civic religion. That only unites Spain and the Papal States against Muslims, or America and Britain against the Soviets or North Korea (not liberal democratic in civic religion). But the security apparatus is for neutralizing all threats to the central state, including those from within the same society, or fairly friendly foreigners.

Just as importantly, the Inquisition was not involved in foreign expansion. They did not launch crusades against Muslims or Jews outside of the empire, nor did they send divisions to battle Protestants during various wars of religion, or station troops outside of Rome to assert independence from the Pope. Those are all military functions, and the Deep State is a domestic security apparatus. Only if you were a Muslim, Jew, Protestant, or Papal agent inside the Spanish Empire, did you wind up on the Inquisition's radar.

Likewise, the FBI is not the institution that tries to expand American imperial territory abroad, or administer what we have already conquered. Not even the foreign-facing CIA is that central to conquest, which has been through the military.

The next post in the series will survey the rise and fall of the Inquisition's power.

August 22, 2022

"Oshi Eyes" (Billie Eilish parody, Gawr Gura tribute)

Having been an avid watcher of vtubers for over a year now, I have all sorts of new vocabulary that wouldn't have occurred to me to use in song parodies before. Like "oshi" -- a performer among a group that you enjoy so much, follow devotedly, etc. They're more than just a good entertainer -- they're an inspiration and motivation.

The fans are not treating her like a gf simulation, it's more like someone they find captivating and compelling. Although there may be shades of her being an imaginary gf in some of their minds.

And you can have a few oshis, not only one, but usually one of them will stand out a bit more. For example, in my case, Gura and Fauna from Hololive, and Pokimane on Twitch, are my oshis. Though if I were forced to name only one, it would be the sharky chanteuse. I will never apologize for being captivated by Manic Pixie Dream Girls (or Manic Pixie Stream Girls, as it were). They're so uplifting, and teasingly playful, that you can't help it (I can't, anyway).

Then while scrolling through the back catalog of a cover group on YouTube (Cimorelli), it hit me -- "oshi" as a substitute for "ocean"! And so, a parody on the one Billie Eilish song that I really like, "Ocean Eyes". Original lyrics here, and see Gura's own karaoke rendition of it here. The song channels the dreamy, spacey, floaty vibe of the vulnerable phase of the excitement cycle, 2015-'19. Instead of the high-energy, blood-pumping vibe that a crush song would've channeled during the manic phase of 2010-'14.

The new lyrics still play into the oceanic theme of the original, since Gura is a shark-girl who hails from Atlantis. Also, a great chance to reference her favorite color. :) And as always, the theme of the blurring of IRL and virtuality.

The pronunciation guide is at the end, since it's too involved to list a few examples here. But basically, in the original, there are three strong beats, then a fourth soft beat, with a lot of syncopation and unusual stressed syllables. I've copied the lyrics, split up by syllable, and boldfaced the strong beats. The remaining unstressed ones are delivered at the same pace as the original. Gooba can figure it out, at any rate -- she's the rhythm game champion. Hehe.

* * *

Lately I'm becoming too online
Seeking secrets in my oshi's eyes
Azure surface of Atlantean tides
Whirling waters under those oshi eyes
Your oshi eyes

No fair
Even Casanova'd feel shy
When she opens her oshi eyes
I'll dare
And climb through the screen to the other side
Climbing up into oshi's eyes
Those oshi eyes

Stream has ended, now I'm lost for miles
The Cheshire haunting of her shark-tooth smile
I'll solve her puzzle in just one trial
Follow her guide, it's there in her shark-tooth smile
And those oshi eyes

No fair
Even Casanova'd feel shy
When she opens her oshi eyes
I'll dare
And climb through the screen to the other side
Climbing up into oshi's eyes
Those oshi eyes

* * *

Late-ly I'm becoming too on-line
Seek-ing sec-rets in my o-shi's eyes
Az-ure sur-face of At-lan-te-an tides
Whirl-ing wa-ters under those o-shi eyes
Your o-shi eyes

No fair
Even Ca-sa-no-va'd feel shy
When she opens her o-shi eyes
I'll dare
And climb through the screen to the o-ther side
Climbing up into o-shi's eyes
Those o-shi eyes

Stream has en-ded, now I'm lost for miles
The Chesh-ire haun-ting of her shark-tooth smile
I'll solve her pu-zzle in just one trial
Fo-llow her guide, it's there in her shark-tooth smile
And those o-shi eyes

August 20, 2022

Rise and fall of the Spanish Empire (whirlwind tour, as background for the rise and fall of its Deep State)

In the series' overview post, we saw that the Roman security apparatus, the Praetorian Guard, collapsed along with the empire itself. But more importantly, it was not present when the Roman state began expanding -- not until after a turbulent period of civil wars were concluded. That draws attention to the matter of internal security risks, not only external ones.

The security apparatus, or Deep State, emerges from this background, to manage internal risks to the increasingly centralized state -- while also in the process becoming a powerful faction of society in its own right. It's not simply a dutiful servant to the imperial leadership, but neither is it an all-powerful shadow cabal that is *really* running things behind the curtain.

Now we look at the case of an Early Modern empire and its Deep State -- Spain. The importance of the Spanish example is that their empire began growing earlier than the other European ones, and it therefore collapsed earlier. So there is a much richer historical picture of what imperial decline and collapse looks like, compared to the other Early Modern Euro empires, which are about a century behind Spain's course.

Also, all of them except Russia were absorbed into the then-still-expanding American Empire, after WWII, so they were rescued and stabilized somewhat from their free-fall of the WWI and inter-war era. Spain was absorbed awhile later, in the 1980s when it joined NATO and the EU (and later, the Euro currency zone). So Spain was not rescued by the American Empire as much as the others were.

But before we examine the Spanish Empire's Deep State (in the next entry of the series), we need a whirlwind tour through the imperial timeline, given how poorly understood it is outside of Spain.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Iberia was governed by an invading group of Germanic people called the Visigoths, who were in turn overthrown by an invading group of Saharo-Arabian people in the aftermath of the expansion of Islam and Muslim armies out of the Arabian Desert during the 7th C. By the 700s, these Muslim, Arabic-speaking armies invaded Iberia and took over most of the peninsula by 900 AD, ruling under various dynasties, loosely referred to as the Moors.

They were, as far as a meta-ethnic frontier is concerned, all the same to the Christian, Indo-European-speaking natives. The Muslim leadership brought along with them Jewish professionals and administrators, who were also not Christian or Indo-European speakers or long-term residents from the Iberian peninsula.

Spain's ethnogenesis was forged on this meta-ethnic frontier. For awhile, the native Iberian kingdoms were in disarray, the easier to be conquered by a highly cohesive external enemy. The main faultline split the peninsula into the southern region ruled by the Moors, and a northern strip of Iberian kingdoms.

The northeastern kingdom of Aragon (including Barcelona) was more concerned with expanding to the east in the Mediterranean, namely southern Italy and the islands in between. Nearby Navarre was content to hide away close to the Pyrenees Mountains. Likewise Galicia in the northwest was relatively insulated from the frontier. But in the central part of the northern strip, there was nowhere to run to, and nowhere to hide. That region, Castile, developed the most intense asabiya among the Iberian kingdoms. People in the south (Andalusia) were immediately incorporated into the Moorish state, and did not lie on a frontier.

As Rome united other Italian groups to beat back the invading Celts, so did Castile unite other Iberian kingdoms to beat back the invading Moors. This Reconquista began in the 12th C, and was mostly completed by 1250, although the Emirate of Granada remained in the deep south, near the strategically important Strait of Gibraltar. And all without a Deep State of any kind, just like Rome!

And just as the nascent Roman Empire fell into a period of civil wars after its first major push against the Celts and Carthaginians, namely the Crisis of the Roman Republic, so did the nascent Castilian / Spanish Empire and its neighboring Christian kingdoms. Beginning in 1350 and lasting until 1479, the Christian kingdoms were at war with one another, as well as riven by internal wars of succession. This spans the Castilian Civil War, the related War of the Two Peters (Castile vs. Aragon), the Fernandine Wars (Castile vs. Portugal), the War of the Bands (civil strife in Basque Country), the IrmandiƱo revolts (civil strife in Galicia), the Navarrese Civil War, the Catalan Civil War, and the War of Castilian Succession.

This parallels the civil wars of France and England at the same time, i.e. the Hundred Years War, and the broader topsy-turvy-ness of the late 1300s.

The upshot of these Civil Wars of the Reconquista was to consolidate power for the House of Trastamara, starting with Henry of Trastamara's victory in the Castilian Civil War in 1369, and culminating in 1479, when the Catholic Monarchs triumphed. Isabella won the war for succession in Castile, and Ferdinand (up till then only the heir) assumed the throne of Aragon, so that they were jointly ruling over all of non-Muslim Iberia aside from Portugal.

As much as I've casually read about Spanish history, I've never seen this period of civil war lasting over 100 years mentioned at all. Imagine trying to understand Roman history with most reference sources leaving out the Crisis of the Roman Republic, that whole crossing the Rubicon thing, etc. It's crazy. That's why I've spent a little more time on this era than may seem necessary. It's crucial to the emergence of the Spanish Deep State, but it's just flat-out ignored in English sources that are not geared to Spanish history PhD's.

Soon after the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Spanish Empire reached its Golden Age under the Habsburgs during the 1500s, when it was the preeminent military force in Europe (backed by the elite tercios units). In 1580, Spain added Portugal to its empire, which had always remained out of reach.

But by the mid-1600s, the empire had began to hit stagnation. There was another wave of separatist civil wars in the north (especially Catalonia), and Portugal managed to break free from the empire in 1640.

The War of Spanish Succession of the early 1700s not only ended Habsburg rule, but furthered imperial disintegration within its European territories, and saw yet another Catalan separatist movement that collaborated with the armies of Spain's enemies (the Austrian / Grand Alliance, who lost the succession struggle). In the Seven Years War of the mid-1700s, Spain tried to take back Portugal, but was crushed. And they proved no match for the British Navy in the East and West Indies.

In the early 1800s, the Spanish Empire collapsed, as its Latin American colonies won their wars of independence between 1808 and 1833. During that time, they were also invaded and occupied by Napoleonic France. A series of civil wars (the Carlist Wars) continued to disintegrate the peninsula, since there were the usual separatist groups in the northeast who wanted to take advantage of internal power struggles to win greater regional autonomy from the centralized state. Spain lost its last key colonies in the Spanish-American War at the end of the century.

Spain played no role in WWI or WWII, as those were wars among the still-existing empires, at their twilight. They had already taken whatever there was to take from the Spanish Empire long before the 1900s. There was a Spanish Civil War during the late '30s, again with a strong regional separatist angle. Basque separatist terrorists began under the Franco era, and lasted into the neoliberal transition. But as usual the more important story is in Catalonia, where, during the 2010s, the voters and the political institutions have voted for independence from Spain (which was not allowed by the central government). Given how far things have gotten so far, it's only a matter of time before much of the northeast breaks off for good, presumably during the next round of hot civil wars and state breakdown.

The weak integration of the northeast -- greater Aragon -- within the Spanish Empire and then nation, traces all the way back to the meta-ethnic frontier with the Moors. Aragon was relatively insulated from that faultline, and was expanding on its own eastward in the Mediterranean, so it had something of a pressure release valve. It could not have cared less about Castilians on the front lines against the Moors, and their attempt to expand southward to take back all of Iberia from Muslims and Jews.

As the aftermath of the collapse of the Spanish Empire continues, the Iberian peninsula will probably resemble the Italian peninsula after the collapse of the Roman Empire. The weakest integration was in Southern Italy, as they were the furthest away from the meta-ethnic frontier with the invading Celts (from the north). And right after the fall of Rome, southern Italy became regionally independent, no matter which other empires it may have been paying tribute to. But it was not part of the same polity as the Papal States, the rump state that included the city of Rome itself, in the central and northern regions (shifting around by the century).

Catalonia, Basque Country, perhaps Aragon proper will split off from the Spanish rump state of Castile, Leon, Andalusia, and probably Galicia (weakly integrated historically, but not large and wealthy enough to split off like Catalonia).

August 12, 2022

The rise and fall of the security apparatus (Deep State) within the imperial life cycle

The FBI has removed any pretense of being non-partisan, above the fray, serving the nation rather than any party or individual, etc., by raiding the home of the candidate representing half the country in the next election. Don't remember them doing that to Hillary Clinton over her misplaced documents ("her emails").

But looking back on that ancient year of 2016, the FBI still did attempt to maintain a non-partisan stance for anyone watching. Whether the Director, James Comey, was hurting or helping the Clinton campaign seemed to change by the week. Probably he figured, like all the other clueless elites, that Trump was destined to lose, so by roughing up Clinton every now and then, he could wring some concessions out of her before she actually took office, in exchange for calling off his dogs.

Since the Trump era, though, the FBI, CIA, and the rest of the Deep State / security services / intel agencies / whatever you want to call them, have taken the mask off. Not just regarding their partisan stance -- Dems good, GOP bad -- but their status as a self-contained faction within society, with their own group interests that may clash with other sectors and/or the general public. Similar to the military, the media, the banks, agriculture, and so on.

They openly say that their goal is not to serve the people, the state, etc., but to increase their own numbers, their own influence, and to not be pushed around by elected representatives or the mob they represent. In this way, they are equivalent to the energy sector, finance sector, etc., that insists it not be regulated by elected government.

Laissez-faire for the secret police sector is argued in the same BS terms as for the others -- dire consequences would follow if elected government would hamstring them with regulations. In this case, internal chaos, mafia / warlordism, insurrection, coups, and so on, unless we just let the FBI and CIA do whatever they want.

As usual, the fools are interpreting events like this week's raid as a sign of the permanent power of the Deep State, perhaps even its growing strength going forward. In reality, they have begun their decline. And although their eventual liquidation is about a century away, that's not very long on the time-scale of the rise and fall of empires.

But rather than sperg out about the 24-hour news cycle for rage-bait clicks and clout, I decided to fit this into the big picture of imperial birth and death, looking across a range of empires around the world, from the past 2000 years.

Specific case studies will either be added to this post, or in the comments section, as I have time to write them up. I want to get the outline out ASAP, and fill in case study details when I can. The only case study aside from our own that I'll write up right now is the Praetorian Guard from the Roman Empire, since they're a well known example.

* * *

The most important fact about the Deep State is that it does not stretch back indefinitely in time, contrary to the paranoid view that it has existed forever and will continue to exist forever, always thwarting the will of the people.

Reality check: the FBI was created in 1908, and the CIA and its predecessor were formed in the 1940s. They were not there before the founding with the Pilgrims, nor by 1776 and independence, nor even during the Civil War of the 1860s. The people, institutions, and forces that created the American empire did so without a security apparatus.

And yet not every state has a security apparatus rivaling the FBI or the Praetorian Guard. These only arise within large expanding states, AKA empires.

First, a quick review of what causes imperial growth and decay in the first place, as popularized by Peter Turchin in War and Peace and War. The not-yet imperial people are being pushed up against by some other expanding group, that is, some other pre-existing empire. Those lying on the meta-ethnic frontier between the two groups, over a long time, cohere into an intense Us in order to withstand and beat back Them. This intense Us-ness (asabiyah, collective action potential, etc.) allows the group to grow and expand to become an empire in their own turn.

But this Us-ness does not last forever, nothing does in a dynamic system. It gets eroded by the waning of the initial external threat, as the nascent empire expands at the other's expense, as well as by internal divisions during the empire's resting-on-their-laurels stage of life. As the glue comes undone, the empire fragments and collapses. No more intense feeling of Us at that huge scale, and no more political or economic institutions left operating at that huge scale.

Now we see why there is no security apparatus before, during, or shortly after the birth of an empire -- the society is too focused on the external, not the internal (like the FBI), and they are focused on surviving the foreigners rather than on managing foreign clients (like the CIA).

In fact, it takes some degree of internal strife, after the initial imperial growth has begun, to make its elites worry about internal organized enemies. Random isolated individuals are never a collective threat to elites, only existing or start-up factions. And if those factions are not just farm-owners trying to lower tariffs a bit to get rich quick, but are vying for control of the entire empire's government -- that makes them dangerous enemies to the state writ large.

This is why the security apparatus only emerges after a new empire's first bout of protracted civil strife, unrest, war, etc. In the American empire, it was the Civil War, Reconstruction, labor unions, and anarchist and socialist movements, roughly during the second half of the 19th century. With hardly any delay, the FBI is formed in 1908, to target collective threats to the integrity and harmony of the empire, from within its own borders. It did not need such an apparatus in the early stages of imperial growth, when the society was focused on survival against the Indians.

Such a "public servant" rationalization has to be their mission statement, in order to wedge themselves into the broader network of elite sectors. They're not entrepreneurially filling a new open niche, and using their leverage to expand their own wealth, influence, and power -- no! They're simply responding to a crucial period of national weakness, and selflessly trying to put it back together and keep it from fracturing ever again. And thus, they are serving the interests of all political parties, and the state writ large, and the general public who elected them. They are magnanimous and godlike in providing the fundamental safety and structure that allows the lower-tier sectors like agriculture and finance to do their thing in peace.

At the time of its emergence, the security apparatus would be looked at with suspicion because everybody knows that the empire had gone over 100 years with no such apparatus, all the way to the founding and before. So what gives now? Well, that whole Civil War thing, the whole labor union thing, etc., which also were not there at the founding. Well, except that the American Revolution *was* a kind of civil war between loyalists and revolutionaries from the same British colonies. Why didn't the American revolutionaries need an extensive secret police? Well, uh, you're asking too many questions -- just focus on the threat of terrorism from the labor unions, socialists, and anarchists! Certainly *those* threats were not there at the founding.

And back and forth the debate must have gone. Even President Harry Truman matter-of-factly described the FBI as a new secret police. Of course -- he was born in 1884, and grew up entirely before the Bureau's creation from nothing. However, as new generations are more removed from the pre-security apparatus era, they come to accept it as totally natural and normal. How could there *not* have been an FBI-like apparatus during and after the American Revolution? Only there wasn't.

* * *

Nor was there a Praetorian Guard at the founding of the Roman Empire during the 3rd century BC, as Rome united the Italian peninsula against the main external threat -- the expansion of the Celts (or Gauls) from the northwest, and secondarily the Carthaginians from the southwest. As the personal police of the Emperor, the Guard only comes into existence after a long period of internal civil strife, well after the empire has begun expanding. That was the Crisis of the Roman Republic, lasting from the late 2nd C to the late 1st C BC, culminating in Caesar's Civil War in the 40s BC.

Right after the Civil Wars are over, the new emperors have a large Praetorian Guard that is not only their own personal bodyguard, but a network of spies / intel who are stationed permanently in the capital city itself. They begin intervening in political disputes during the 1st C AD, most notably by proclaiming Claudius emperor during a succession crisis, in which they had also assassinated the previous emperor, Caligula.

But to reiterate, they were not some permanent bureaucracy, an everlasting Deep State, etc. They were one among many powerful factions in society, along with the military, the large farm-owners, and so on and so forth. They could weigh in on political disputes by forming a coalition with other powerful interest groups, but they did not have supreme outranking power over their coalition mates.

For comparison, the FBI began intervening politically during the mid-20th C, and first joined a coalition to remove a sitting leader during the Watergate affair that deposed Nixon. The key confidential informant for WaPo media operative Bob Woodward, known as "Deep Throat," was not just any ol' inside source with juicy gossip -- he was 2nd in command at the FBI, Mark Felt. But back in those days, the security apparatus was still committed to the veneer of non-partisan public service, so they kept secret the FBI's central role in removing a landslide-elected president, not revealing it until 2005.

Sidenote: there has been a huge, and largely successful, propaganda campaign over the decades to make the CIA the scapegoat among the security apparatus, and to lionize the FBI in comparison. Everyone has heard someone say the CIA had a role in the JFK assassination, but almost no one has heard someone say the FBI had a role in removing Nixon, even though that's not a theory but an admission from the key actor himself. Anytime you need to say something bad about the Deep State, it's always "the CIA" instead of "the FBI" in figurative speech. I slip into that myself. But the CIA is mainly concerned with external matters, and the FBI internal matters.

If it's we American citizens who are complaining about something going on here, it's the FBI we're dealing with, not the CIA. If it's Syrian people whose apartment is getting shelled by Al-Qaeda, then it's the CIA that they're dealing with.

At any rate, the Praetorian Guard did not last forever, and neither will the FBI. During the Crisis of the Third Century, the Praetorian Guard shrank in numbers, territory, and distinctive influence -- they were just one of many military factions vying for power, assassinating one emperor and proclaiming another, during decades of military anarchy. If they were an all-powerful Deep State, they would simply proclaim one guy emperor, and that would be that -- no more chaos, division, coups, or insurrection. No constant turnover. All going along smoothly, with no disruption because the Deep State's competitors are supposedly lower-tier than those with real power, behind the curtain.

The Guard was de facto ruined by Diocletian, whose reign saw the end of the Third Century Crisis but not the rebound of the empire. It was now irrevocably split into a Western and Eastern half, with the latter becoming the new Byzantine Empire. If he had wanted to import the Western Roman Deep State to his Eastern Roman capital near Byzantium, he could have easily done so. The Praetorians had recent field experience in Palmyra, Syria. They're not physically tethered to Roman or Italian soil. But after decades of military anarchy, the power -- and indeed the role -- of the Deep State was over, for good. Diocletian would have palace guards to protect himself, but not an extensive new Deep State for the Byzantine Empire-to-be.

What the military anarchy of the 3rd C showed to everyone was that the Praetorian Guard was not a non-partisan group, given to public service rather than collective self-interest like so many other sectors of society. They were not above the fray, they were participating at every step of the way. And worse, they proved they were no longer capable of fulfilling their raison d'etre -- securing peace, harmony, etc., against the forces and groups who could bring chaos, division, strife, and civil war.

So who needs the Deep State, if they're too powerless to keep internal peace and harmony? Let alone when they are direct participants in the very anarchy, chaos, and civil war they were supposed to be preventing! And not at the BS level of promoting a few agents provocateurs to discredit their enemies and bolster their own position in society. But by going full-force into one succession crisis after another.

The Praetorian Guard was finally liquidated by Constantine, another proto-Byzantine emperor who invaded Italy in order to crush the Roman ruler, Maxentius. That's who Constantine defeated at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD -- the Praetorian Guard, who backed Maxentius rather than Constantine. But they choose the wrong guy, and by that point they had no power left to eke out an existence afterward. Constatine dissolved them as a Deep State entity, and they would never reappear again, going on 1700 years later.

We are currently around the Crisis of the Third Century phase of Roman history -- we are done with expansion, and have begun contracting territorially (losing the Philippines, Cuba, and the Panama Canal, beginning after our peak in WWII). Our only additions have come through peaceful alliances, not conquest (i.e., the difference between Germany and Italy being in NATO, vs. Poland and Lithuania being in NATO). And the national and imperial order is visibly breaking down by the month. Anyone who points to a much earlier phase of Roman history as analogous to our own is a 100% copium-dealer (and user), who can't handle the cognitive dissonance that our golden age is long gone, never to come back. All that we have to look forward to is the new Dark Ages, for better or worse.

So that still leaves some decades ahead of FBI and other security apparatus intervention in domestic politics, with increasingly civil breakdown effects, delegitimizing their own sector and their coalition allies such as the Democrat party writ large. But give it a century, and they will barely exist as they had up until 2020. Whatever rump states replace the American empire, they will not include the FBI, nor the CIA.

If one of those rump states comes under the expansionary pressure of some other empire, and then becomes an empire in its own right, then such a neo-American empire could develop a new Deep State, after a period of civil war of course. But it would not be the same Deep State as ours, nor anyone else's. Each security apparatus is particular to the empire on which it is a parasite, having had zero role in its creation or early growth, and directly contributing to its ultimate demise.

* * *

To preview other case studies that I'll post about: China during the Han and Ming dynasties (court eunuchs as their Deep State), and the modern empires of Prussia / Germany and Russia. Unfortunately, not much I can say on the Ottoman / Turkish Deep State, the one that gave the term its name, since info is scant on Wikipedia and cursory searches (but then, it would be). I'd like to look into Indian and Persian empires, but my curiosity has already been satisfied and the basic pattern confirmed. So we'll see about them.

August 8, 2022

"Holo Streamer Girls" (Beach Boys parody, vtuber tribute)

All the talk about vocal harmonies in the comments to the last post got me thinking about writing some tribute songs about my favorite vtubers, set to some '60s songs for a change. Although I did parody a Beatles song before, on a similar theme, with "Online Man".

So why not start with the greats and riff off of the Beach Boys, and their classic "California Girls"? (Original lyrics here.) Only instead of different regional cultures of the nation, it's different sites and formats from online.

Like the original, it's a tribute to the other types of girls as well, but giving special love to the ones in the title, and wishing all the other types could eventually become them as well.

California was the It Place to be, and now so is streaming and vtubing. Warm, welcoming, fun, exciting, dynamic, and a social scene (albeit online) linking everyone together. Even if you live in flyover country, you can still draw on their good vibrations through their mass-mediated content, and feel almost like you're part of their world.

And just like the cultural center Out West drawing those from Back East -- so that only 1/4 of the Mamas and the Papas were from California -- today's scene has drawn aspiring people from the East Coast to either of the two streamer centers, Austin and L.A. I assume that includes the vtuber princess herself, Gawr Gura, whose southern New England accent and no-BS attitude remain signatures of her persona, even as she enjoys more sunshine and mellower neighbors.

Can you imagine trying to build such a scene in New York? LOL. 'Eyyyy, I'm streamin' ova heeeeeah!

Pronunciation guide: no stress on the middle word in "ALL-too-REAL".

* * *

Well, podcast girls got wit
I really dig those takes they share
And on fitness TikTok, when they're doing squats
They'll lift you right up into the air

The join-me-daily vloggers
Make you feel part of their life
And the Insta cheffies really love to treat
You can't stop at just one bite

I wish they all could be Holo streamer
I wish they all could be Holo streamer
I wish they all could be Holo streamer girls

There's so much wholesome mischief
In their virtual wonderland
I dig the singsong voices from kawaii avis
And the hugs from invisible hands

I've scrolled all around the big platforms
And I've liked all kinds of girls
But I'll always escape to the Hololive babes
And their all-too-real alterna-world

I wish they all could be Holo streamer
I wish they all could be Holo streamer
I wish they all could be Holo streamer girls