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Removed (Banned)Dec 3, 2022Liked by Helen Dale
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I think there's a pretty good case to be made that the only two genuinely competent empires were the Roman and the British. The Americans haven't hit that bar yet, and none of the others did. Maybe the French, patchily.

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There is no benefit to empire unless we enjoy life as slaves inside a corporate hierarchical structure. Britain, Rome, France today show no benefits over any civilizations anywhere else on the planet. It is all farce. They have been playing us for many thousands of years.

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Dec 3, 2022Liked by Helen Dale

Excellent, rewarding to read and I shall be buying the Stein book. Than you.

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No problem!

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Ditto! I've been looking for a good introduction to Roman law's influence on Europe. Didn't find this one while searching.

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It's excellent & a quick read. Take you two days, tops.

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Dec 3, 2022Liked by Helen Dale

Simply outstanding!

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Cheers!

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> It should be remembered that the ancient familia was a corporate entity, not a nuclear, emotionally intimate family in the modern sense.

In this sense the Romans were more clear-eyed than moderns, because families really are corporations. We pretend that husband and wife can own things, but really the family owns them. When the family breaks up, the divorce courts will divvy the loot as it pleases with little regard to the notional prior ownership.

That's why it's not so shocking married British women in the 19th century couldn't own property. Married people in general can't. What the old law really did was make the husband a CEO of tiny corporation, modern law gives the wife more power. A real change, but not an earth-shattering one.

> Employers sacking employees for their views is not a problem of libertas or civitas but familia. It’s also a reminder to be wary of modern corporate entities that claim to treat their staff “like family.”

So that's the converse, I say "families are corporations" but worker protection laws etc are partially enacting an intuition that "corporations are families". They don't make sense in terms of liberal commercial notions but do make sense in terms of this hybrid Roman _familia_.

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Dec 3, 2022·edited Dec 3, 2022Author

The interesting point here is that Roman law enshrined the doctrine of separate marital estates - it's one reason Roman women had so much power. The jurists would have been horrified by the common law doctrine of coverture. Indeed, men who borrowed money from their wives' dowries (only ever with consent, of course) found, on divorce, that repaying them took priority over all other creditors, including banks with secured loans and the fiscus (Roman tax office).

So their system really didn't work like ours at all - our ideas about family structure are Christian.

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> The interesting point here is that Roman law enshrined the doctrine of separate marital estates

So the Roman law more than modern law to recognize the individual property of married people. If you are explicit about the family being a corporate entity, you can also be explicit about what belongs to it, and what belongs to individual "shareholders". By contrast, in our system a the corporation is only de-facto. All the property that the husband and wife might nominally own as individuals turns out to be up for grabs when the shit hits the fan.

By the way, is it really true that "Roman women had so much power"? I thought it was more that their property rights were surprisingly secure in a system that otherwise gave them very little power.

> ... our ideas about family structure are Christian.

What separates us from most of humanity is the notion of marriage as a bond between two lovers as opposed to a joint venture between two families to produce the next generation. Christianity is definitely part of that difference, but only part.

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I think you've probably reached the point where you need to go and read more widely in the area, and not depend on a single article. There are plenty of links in the piece, and reading recommendations at the bottom of the article.

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At the same time being conferred power by a hierarchical nation state is not really power. Real power is some different and cannot be conferred by a hierarchical group of administrators. These gain power. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Where is the common sense in this? Every modern nation state is 100% corrupt. The purported world government (international corporatocracy ) they in turn serve is 100% corrupt. Whether Roman or Christian our ideas about family structure are imposed distortions of a much more honest and human reality. There’s much more to be explored here - especially in light of where we exist in 2023.

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Families are made to be little corporate structures inside of the “Russian Doll, within Russian doll” structure of a hierarchical and top down power structure. The corporate interests of the nation state have determined and continue to determine the experiences of the humans locked within them - who then fail to imagine or think about a life free of these encumbrances. And if they do it is as Revolutionaries. The rise of Christianity was based on this sort of thing but it failed for reasons that are vitally important. More on this later.

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> Sometimes people accuse the Romans of developing the first welfare state. Almost inevitably, they forget to note the welfare in question was only ever for citizens.

That's not enough to exonerate them.

A community of happy hobbits deciding to pool resources and look after the need is one thing. But a legalistic state where leaders can buy popularity using other people's money is a welfare state. Rome, both in the late republic and the empire seems to count.

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I don't understand either this comment or the use of "accuse"in the article. What is wrong with a State providing basic levels of care and support for the people who live in it? I'd use the word "accuse" for those States that don't.

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When I used the word "accuse", I was taking a pop at libertarians who do use it in this way, but also ahistorically (forgetting the distribution restrictions in place). I think libertarians are very silly. I can't speak for the other commenter, as I can't read his mind.

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Dec 4, 2022Liked by Helen Dale

Thanks, Helen - I realised after I'd walked away from the phone that was how you'd intended it to be read!

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The reading recommendation is a nice touch, very useful. Excellent piece, I hadn't heard much about the familia/civitas/libertas concepts before, but that was a nice introduction to them.

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My periodic guest-writer Lorenzo got me into doing it (he often does on his pieces, as you'll have noticed). I'd never be able to get away with it in a magazine or newspaper, but it's my substack so...

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"It's my substack, and I'll cite if I want to," Lesley Gore's hologram sings.

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Looks like I will be busy for awhile! Appreciated. Excellent.

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Feb 22, 2023Liked by Helen Dale

"the past does not belong to the present, but to itself, and should be addressed on its own terms. If we don’t do that, we lose imaginative access to it. "

Thankyou. This is a great one liner for the deranged that believe a utopia built out of nothing

but ' other ways of knowing ' will be a great success ( I wonder what they forsee happening after deconstruction of everything occurs)

Unfortunately their dream will result in nothing-besides returning to a beastial or barbaric time.

I wonder if you would mind compressing this sentence into a word or two without losing any meaning. Thankyou and kind regards, Justin.

P.s. I jest.

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'..the past does not belong to the present, but to itself, and should be addressed on its own terms. If we don’t do that, we lose imaginative access to it.' A very good aphorism.

- Speaking as a Roman Citizen (I am not a lawyer, but if you want olive oil or garum we can supply)

The link between the status of slaves in Southern America and their origins in Sub Saharan Africa and thus the point about the past vs the present is that their enslavement began as a purely commercial transaction, mediated by other Africans in places such a Benin. The Antebellum South had to struggle - and to some extent undergo a good deal of doublethink - in order to rationalise their use of slaves. Their African counterparts did not. What I can take away from this is that at any point in history the concept of the value of life is frangible. We can see this in the current war against Ukraine. This value is also affected by pragmatism and economics and this has been the case throughout history among diverse communities. But even an ideology, applied to the subjugation of a race or group has the same result, which renders it something of a moot point to the person on the receiving end of it.

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