Just over two years ago, I wrote about this here at RedState. I had just come aboard as a Front Page contributor, and one of my first posts as such was about eunuchs.
I’ve written several times about the Latter or Eastern Han Dynasty of China and the years that followed, known mostly as the Three Kingdoms period. It is one of the most interesting eras of ancient history to me because it’s so easy to see parallels with modern history. Both historically and in the romanticized version of events, the downfall of the Han Dynasty was attributed to government corruption and the civil rebellions that rose up because of them. The corruption in the court of the Chinese emperors came almost exclusively from eunuchs – men who were tasked with overseeing the wives, concubines, and families of the emperors.
The eunuchs, because they were so trusted by the imperial court – they were heavily influential in the upbringing of the princes, after all – that they were given more and more power and were turned to more and more when questions of policy arose. Under the reign of the eunuchs, taxes went up, power was abused, and enemies who questioned the eunuchs’ motives were silenced by whatever means necessary.
It wasn’t until late in the second century A.D. that various warlords came together to eliminate the eunuchs and clear the way for the court to become an independent force where policy was based on sound advice, not self-serving advice… of course, that never happened. Rather, a fairly corpulent man seized and deposed one emperor, replacing him with the emperor’s own younger brother, who was all of nine years old (his older brother was fourteen).
The abuse of power increased exponentially as the court was once again the puppet of someone else, this time a cruel tyrant. If this story sounds familiar to you, but you don’t recognize it from the aforementioned piece from two years ago, chances are you are thinking of Washington D.C.
Right now, our government is filled with eunuchs and would-be tyrants, all out to increase power for themselves and do so at the expense of the people. This is not a partisan issue, as both Democrats and Republicans share responsibility in increasing the size and scope of government to give themselves as much power as possible. Because of this, an insurrection not unlike the Yellow Scarves Rebellion (minus the scarves and alleged magic) has taken hold in the form of populist movements within the presidential cycle we find ourselves in.
If Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina are the results of populists wanting D.C. outsiders to take the reins of the country, and the Republican Party is not doing anything about it, they are setting themselves up for an embarrassing rout in 2016. Likewise, if the Democrats don’t look at the rise of Bernie Sanders as a populist movement (if it was truly a non-Hillary movement, you would see O’Malley picking up some of Hillary’s loss of support, too), they are also going to be in for a shock.
While I don’t expect to see Sanders, Fiorina, Trump, or Carson winning the nomination, I do see them exposing the inherent weaknesses in the “establishments” of both parties. Their success in doing so, while it may not pay off for them, will pay off for candidates who can claim D.C. outsider status while simultaneously being politicians – [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ], [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ], and even candidates like Bobby Jindal.
The eunuchs are in trouble, and their time may be close at hand. As they and their allies find themselves losing their grasps of power, they may make more rash moves. It will frankly be a fascinating meltdown to watch if, say, [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] gets the nomination.