HAVE THINGS GOTTEN SO BAD THAT WE’RE dreaming of Diocletian? I think he’s a poor model. He took power in a military coup, vastly enlarged the bureaucracy, and tried to solve inflation caused by lousy fiscal policy with price controls, a disastrous failure. He persecuted Christians, and though he purchased some temporary stability via authoritarianism, he didn’t address the core problems and left an empire that was, overall, weaker than before. It says bad things when core Democratic constituencies think that’s what we need now . . . . Hope and change, anyone?
UPDATE: Dr. Violet Socks, who is a delightful person, says she didn’t mean to suggest any actual enthusiasm for Diocletian, or for Diocletian-like approaches, but merely the need for serious change within the Democratic Party. That makes sense to me, so please don’t beat her up with Roman-history cudgels . . . .