In various essays, we have quoted, as relevant, declarations of Thomas Jefferson, such as: “The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate” and  ”A proper functioning democracy depends upon an informed electorate.” In view of today’s political and social climate and context, we are presently, inclined to view such Jeffersonian declarations, as constituting an admonition or an express challenge. Our modest readings in modern history have convinced us that President Jefferson’s statements were prescient, and that, empirically, the existence of large numbers of inadequately educated and poorly informed citizens, such as exists in the American Nation, poses existential danger to the existence of our Democratic Republic.

The title of this essay, “Barbarians at the Gate,” bears reference to ancient Rome’s warnings of attack on its City, by the Ottomans, Goths or other warlike hordes that arrived at the walls of that ancient city, to lay siege and destroy the Roman Empire. We are, unhappily, obliged to observe that America’s homegrown, mega horde of barbarians, amount to the inadequately educated, poorly informed, ”underbelly;” now under the sway of the despicable, would-be-autocratic, dictator for life, Donald J. Trump.

Ominously, said individuals have made clear, that they reject democracy, in favor of his unlimited, autocratic rule. To be specific, Trump has consistently, shown himself to be distrustful of the democratic institution of the citizen vote, has defamed the established, and responsible, media, has denigrated objective truth as well as science and education, opposes universal equality and is a promoter of bigotry, opposes free trade and international cooperation, and is, noncompassionately, anti-immigration. Such immoral, undemocratic and autocratic traits as are, unanimously, deplored by every mainstream believer in democracy, and civil rectitude, and, by contrast, lauded, by the described “underbelly.”

Trump’s uncanny ability to maintain cultish loyalty, and to incite such individuals to the performance of acts of criminality, to the extreme extent of violent insurrection, seems to us, to be buttressed by his discerned, unlimited power to escape punishment for his own multiple illegal actions; such as the secretive, and feloniously illegal and improper, purloining of governmental classified and secret documents, his express, telephonic attempts at coercion, (viewed on television) of certain Secretaries of State, to unlawfully urge them to alter their State’s official voting tabulations, his serial mendacity and actual traitorous behavior. The despicably bold actions of his acolytes, may, conceivably, be founded on their confident belief in his apparent, unlimited, ability to escape punitive consequences for his plethora of horrendously, illegal actions, as well as their consequent, quasi-religious, belief that he is in possession of the unique power to impose his magical will on reality.

We would reprise a prior, predictive admonition, as stated in our earlier writing “Lemmings”) that any (unthinkable) success, by such “underbelly,” in their zealous aspiration for a Trump-like autocracy, would, inclusively, have, negative effects on such (suicidal, unthinking) Trump supporters as well as on their more democracy-loving,  liberal opponents. Autocracy has been, eternally, associated with severe limitations on personal liberty and rights, the application of which has empirically, been, no less than universal.

A salient and eternally relevant consideration, apparently, lacking in apprehension,(in addition to a universe of additional matters) of “would-be autocrats,” such as our egotistical and ignorant, Orange Nero, is that a sufficient amount of moral pragmatism is existentially, necessary, to the conduct of societal order and the survival of civilization, as we know it. 


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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