>Roman high school

You reified a doomed social system with less life expectancy than a giant tortoise. High school is an innately wasteful and communist institution and waste of money. It never existed in Rome and never would have under industrialization.

Other than that your book sounds pretty realistic!

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Sep 14, 2023·edited Sep 14, 2023Liked by Aporia

"If your country has a functioning legal system, it’s because people in the past copied all or most of its law from either England or Rome."

If we are being entirely fair, the Germanic tribes developed their own /Leges/ /Barbarorum/, which featured a highly distinct systematisation of legal thought to the Romans; this governed their respective tribes and was similar to Anglo-Saxon legal conventions prior to the Norman Conquest. We could not designate this system rival to Roman or English law as we presently understand them, but it existed amongst the heathen barbarians of the Northern climes.

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Yes... there’s many legal systems.

The English and Americans conquered most of the world, so its “functioning” well for English and American and no doubt Australian lawyers.

In America the legal profession does function well, for the lawyers. The rest of us take comfort that our suffering is not in vain, like the starving Zeks who worshipped Stalin and kept his ikon on the wall. Yes.

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Do you have a link or reference you can recommend to learn a little more about this, without having to dive into a longish tome?

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There are copies of the Visigothic Code, in addition to several of the other legal codes of the Germanic tribes, available in translation today, I believe. Besides which, there are further distinctions between the Roman system and the Germanic system which one could explore cursorily, including: the existence of Weregild as a form of familial compensation for the death or injury of an individual; Sippenhaftung, which decreed familial responsibility for the crimes of an individual; the Vehmgericht courts, which continued to exist well into the era of the Holy Roman Empire; and many similar practices.

The Nazi Party borrowed a substantial range of these terms as indicative of the native Germanic system of law, rather than that imposed (or propagated) by the Roman invaders.

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“There is no necessary connection between law and morality.”

We noticed.

Did the Roman’s say that?

Did anyone say this before the moderns?

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Breitbart and others now say that politics is downstream of culture. And some add that in turn changes in a culture can influence politics and law. Law is clearly a subset of politics. Morality is a subset of culture (along with some of our innate evolved traits guiding us to certain beliefs regardless of culture; or unless those beliefs are explicitly overcome by cultural practices). There are clearly many topics and issues where the nature of our morality is not directly involved in law, but perhaps it behooves us to explicitly identify those laws that are derived from moral precepts and just what the justifications for those precepts are.

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> Morality is a subset of culture

This is itself a rather post-modern idea.

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I am not an expert, lacking a formal liberal arts education (beyond HS literature), but I understand post-modern as postmodernism, which rejects any perception of reality as being a true state of affairs. But if you say "morality as a subset of culture" is a modern idea, derived from studies over the last few decades in evolutionary psychology, cognition, and neuroscience, I would agree with you. I suppose we could add anthropology and archeology in supporting roles.

I am trying to find the time and resources to explore those topics or disciplines more fully at an "educated layman" level. Whatever I would say before that I can only offer with a "modest level of confidence" for credibility/ reliability - so for now I won't bother. Thanks for your reply, given the date delays.

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> understand post-modern as postmodernism, which rejects any perception of reality as being a true state of affairs.

The traditional view would place morality in the same category as reality here.

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I thank you for the reply.

I have been in disagreement with “politics is downstream from culture” since the deceased Breitbart wrote it, that’s delusional. POWER is upstream of anything it chooses, certainly “culture.” Truth is words are all they have... so they retreat to the cope that words matter, the pen is mightier than the sword, and so on.

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And how do you think the left acquired power?

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Force, and cunning, violence, ruthlessness and betrayal of all the idiots who thought they could buy them.

The Left only ever loses power by ruling which is when it fails over time, a timespan of decades. The Founding generation and their immediate lieutenants are the maximum lifespan* of The Left.

We are watching this process now; the Left marched through the institutions which means academia- pushing open doors or kicking down rotten ones- but now the Left marches into Rule - and is losing power as it contacts reality. This doesn’t mean they will not triumph it simply means they lose power as soon as they have to govern. Save Hoover and Russian relief in the early 1920s the Soviets would have starved, Lenin also relaxes the grip on the peasants for a short time with the NEP. Then Stalin and even Trotsky crush all resistance- THEN they collectivize in the 1930s.

*The exception is Bonaparte, which is why the Left since has weak or dead Generals (they shoot talent). Academia’s program in America is Poppy Cropping- the snuffing and starvation and if necessary expulsion of children with talent from Kindergarten to PhD - their chief talent is wasting your time.

With regard to Academia and The Left; evil found Evil, that’s their march, evil found Evil leadership.

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> Force, and cunning, violence

Using force and violence requires obtaining at least a cadre of people willing to obey you.

> We are watching this process now; the Left marched through the institutions which means academia

Notice that it marched through academia long before it was able to march through the military, using a plan worked out by the Fabian society before that. In other words the left started off by using the pen long before to acquired a sword.

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There is no necessary connection between law and morality.

Legal Positivism?

I thought that was passe?

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Sep 13, 2023·edited Sep 13, 2023Liked by Aporia

> they don’t want a depressed child, a schizophrenic child, or a bipolar child. Yet among those serious mental illnesses, the second has genetic overlaps with creativity. Remove all the schizophrenics from a population and you’ll likely lose most of its artists, too.

Most parents don't want an autistic child either, yet autism overlaps with scientific and technological brilliance. Removing the autists is likely to set back technological progress.

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Autism is not correlated with high IQ, however. The traits we moderns associate with it have emerged because we have accepted the utility of self-expression rights. Our ancestors didn’t do that.

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I randomly stumbled on this post.

But you can consider me sold as a reader.

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The Roman Empire was anything but eugenic. We actually have concrete data on this point, specifically DNA from human remains. If we look at alleles associated with educational attainment (a proxy for cognitive ability), we see that mean cognitive ability rose considerably from the Neolithic to the time of the Roman Republic. It then fell during the time of the Empire. Finally, an upward trend began during Late Antiquity and continued into recent times (Piffer et al., 2023).

An earlier study noted a similar trend in ancient Greeks (Woodley of Menie et al., 2019). Mean cognitive ability seems to have fallen throughout the Mediterranean world during the Imperial period. There were probably three main causes:

• A decline in fertility and family formation, particularly among the upper classes.

• A corresponding increase in female hypergamy, often by freed slaves, which reduced the reproductive importance of upper-class women.

• An increase in the slave population, particularly foreign slaves, which would have disrupted local cognitive evolution. To the extent that the upper class had surplus individuals, they could no longer move down into lower-class niches and eventually replace the lower class, as happened in late medieval and post-medieval England (Clark, 2007). Such niches were deemed fit only for slaves (Frost, 2022)

This cognitive decline reversed during Late Antiquity, when Christianity became the State religion. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. The Church intervened extensively in social life, particularly in matters of human reproduction. To be specific, the Church supported the formation of monogamous families, discouraged slavery, at least during the long period from 500 to 1500 AD, and created the peace, order, and stability that eventually allowed the middle class to expand and become dominant.

I share the author’s concerns about the genetic health of our population. We are flesh-and-blood beings, and the state of our society ultimately depends on our ability to think and understand the world around us.

But I don’t believe that Pagan Rome is an example worth emulating. We will not reverse our current cognitive decline by beating up on the poor and weak. We will do it by promoting the social practices and restraints that Christianity used to promote.


Clark, G. (2007). A Farewell to Alms. A Brief Economic History of the World. Princeton University Press: Princeton.

Frost, P. (2022). When did Europe pull ahead? And why? Peter Frost’s Newsletter, November 21. https://peterfrost.substack.com/p/when-did-europe-pull-ahead-and-why

Piffer D, Dutton E, Kirkegaard EOW. (2023). Intelligence Trends in Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of Roman Polygenic Scores. OpenPsych. Published online July 21, 2023. https://doi.org/10.26775/OP.2023.07.21

Woodley of Menie, M.A., J. Delhez, M. Peñaherrera-Aguirre, and E.O.W. Kirkegaard. (2019). Cognitive archeogenetics of ancient and modern Greeks. London Conference on Intelligence


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Sep 17, 2023·edited Sep 17, 2023

Seems to relate to our situation where "everyone" should go to college; so that now we have an "excess of elites". Except the core meaning of being an elite is someone who can relate to reality in a useful way, and many over educated and indoctrinated folks no longer can or do that. Witness the mob of people taking up space in the Woke/BLM/DEI industry today.

Even if such people did not want to go into the skilled trades, or have the ability to do so, the news last night highlighted the lack of qualified people manning various call centers. While that lack is driven by misguided cost concerns, we probably have a cadre of suitably trainable folks for those positions. On those occasions when you are helped by a truly responsive and knowledgeable support person, it is a real pleasure.

Although it probably has a wider scope than the references you cite, perhaps you are aware of Ian Morris's Why The West Rules - For Now [2010]. It raises similar issues as you do.

If I can find the time, I suspect your Frost Substack reference deserves a look.

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Imagine trying to explain this book to a Roman and that it was written by a female.

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The mysoginist were the Greeks.

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Are we talking Homeric era Greeks, or Hellenistic Greeks here?

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Sep 15, 2023·edited Sep 15, 2023

Well, if you want to play this game, you forgot Archaic Greeks (those that sent their daughter to Sapphos to lear the art of the etairai) Classical Greeks (those that offshored the job to the Ionians like Aspasia) Roman-Greeks (that behaved like romans, like Cassio Dio) and Late Classical Greeks (something something Aspasia).

That said, in every single one of those eras Roman women were freer than Greek ones.

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Can't tell the players without a scorecard! :-)

To what would you attribute the increased freedom for women in Roman culture vs. Greek culture?

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Reminds me of Larry Niven's Kzin.

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I was directed to this essay by Helen Dale from her Substack post here: https://www.notonyourteam.co.uk/p/helen-elsewhere

I ended up making several comments on this Aporia essay over there.

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The flaw with this line of thinking is that it’s not taking into account that Christianity was a Roman phenomenon that developed in a Roman world. It wasn’t an alien thing that had been imported from another planet. This lends credence to the notion that Rome had many internal contradictions and flaws (slavery, polytheism, expansion of citizenship, etc.) that would have broken down regardless. Christianity was merely the particular ideology that happened to fit the requirements at the time. The notion that Rome would have continued to develop exactly the same way without having these contradictions solved seems like a fantasy.

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Why do so many think that internal contradictions lead to breakdown, other than it’s a popular phrase since Marx?

Most people have internal contradictions. Never mind societies. Rule consists of balancing or settling them.

Internal Contradictions?

My God have none of you been married to women?

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"... that Christianity was a Roman phenomenon that developed in a Roman world. It wasn’t an alien thing that had been imported from another planet. " Does this mean you are in agreement with Joseph Atwill's hypothesis in Caesars Messiah that the Roman aristoi perpetrated a hoax on the Hellenized Levant and related areas by creating (forging) the Gospels as a means of reducing the Jewish zealotry against Roman rule (i.e., after the 70AD conquest of Jerusalem)? [Even if true, I am not sure this hoax was extended to the non-Gospel parts of the NT, which might have been written by true believers as the appeal of Christian views grew?]

"... many internal contradictions and flaws (slavery, polytheism, expansion of citizenship, etc.) " as in the contradictions we have today: slavery vs. human trafficking; polytheism vs. 2 to 8 political parties and Woke/BLM/DEI ideologues; citizenship vs. excessive legal or illegal immigration; and Etc. vs. all of the other ills Victor Davis Hanson so ably recites, essay after essay.

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> Does this mean you are in agreement with Joseph Atwill's hypothesis in Caesars Messiah that the Roman aristoi perpetrated a hoax on the Hellenized Levant and related areas by creating (forging) the Gospels as a means of reducing the Jewish zealotry against Roman rule

No, he merely says Christianity was influenced by the Greco-Roman miliue.

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The biggest internal contradiction Rome had was the sophist deconstruction of "justice" that it had acquired from Greece, ultimately from Athens. This idea had already lead to Athens' defeat by Sparta as the Athenians elite undermined Athens' position by constantly backstabbing each other. A generation later the idea also because popular in Sparta leading to its defeat by Thebes. Then Thebes was defeated by the Macedonians, who were in tern defeated by Rome.

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For those of us absent a decent classical/classicist education, can you clarify what you mean by sophist deconstruction of "justice"?

How does that relate to views about excessive bureaucracy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz7K-L_A4Uo

or use of barbarian mercenaries leading to selected military defeats: Arther Ferrill, The Fall of the Roman Empire: The Military Explanation [1986] ??

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> For those of us absent a decent classical/classicist education, can you clarify what you mean by sophist deconstruction of "justice"?

As Thucydides put it "the strong do what they wish, while the weak suffer as they must."

Once traditional morality was deconstructed, the common Romans themselves were no longer willing to fight, and the the Roman elite were more interested in fighting each other than in fighting for Rome.

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Akschually, English law is so reliant on Roman-through-Curial-inspired equity that it is hard to say Common Law is not a fruit of the Civil Law tree.

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I am trying to relate your comment to Siedentop's book Inventing the Individual, where he says with the rise of the Church during and after Pope Gregory (1057AD?), there was a need for expanded and detailed canon law (built upon prior Roman codes?) to manage ecclesiastical affairs in parallel with the civil regimes. Later the civil regimes adopted many of the same concepts in civil law. This was further promoted with the development of early "universities" from 1088 in Bologna to Paris to Oxford by 1200AD as centers for law and theology.

But I think the crux of the discussion here is the nature of English law vs. Roman law prior to 1000AD. Apparently "consent of the governed" comes from the monasteries selecting their leaders from among their participants, whereas "trial by a jury of your peers" comes from English (and Germanic?) culture and practice??

Is the Norman Conquest of 1066 too early for Canon Law to have impacted English practices? I suspect so. But it could well have been a major element within the Common Law of the 1700's??

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