Anyone who observes the mob and understands the inexorably corrosive power of populism will sympathize with Livy even while finding his propaganda-style defense of the Senate naive and implausible. While Rome was, temporarily at least, able to dampen the impact of populist mindlessness, we in the present day cannot expect such good fortune. Trump, Brexit, Bolsonaro, Orban, Modi, Erdogan, Putin, Xi, Babic, AfD, PiS, Le Pen’s rebranded Front National, and so many others, have swept to power or great influence on the back of drooling howling mobs. The West is over; all that remains is for a Livy to pen its obituary.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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