The Bush dynasty: an Ibn Khaldoun view

Author Kevin Phillips on the Bush family dynasty:
... an unusual and unflattering portrait of a great family (great in power, not morality) that has built a base over the course of the twentieth century in the back corridors of the new military-industrial complex and in close association with the growing intelligence and national security establishments.

The advent of a Machiavelli-inclined dynasty in what may be a Machiavellian Moment for the American Republic is not a happy coincidence.... National governance has, at least temporarily, moved away from the proven tradition of a leader chosen democratically, by a majority or plurality of the electorate, to the succession of a dynastic heir whose unfortunate inheritance is privileged, covert, and globally embroiling.
Ibn Khaldoun, early critical historian and sociologist, writing on the nature and evolution of dynasties in 1377*:
When the natural tendencies of royal authority to claim all glory for itself and acquire luxury and tranquility have been firmly established, the dynasty approaches senility.

... royal authority by its very nature requires luxury. People get accustomed to a great number of things. Their expenses are higher than their allowances and their income is not sufficient to pay for their expenditure. Those who are poor perish. Spendthrifts squander their income on luxuries. This (condition) becomes aggravated in the later generations. Eventually, all their income cannot pay for the luxuries and other things they have become used to. They grow needy. When their rulers urge them to defray the costs of raids and wars, they cannot get around it. Therefore, (the rulers) impose penalties on the (people) and deprive many of them of their property, either by appropriating it for themselves or by handing it over to their own children and supporters in the dynasty. In that way, they make the people too weak to keep their own affairs going, and their weakness then recoils upon the ruler and weakens him.

Dynasties have a natural life span like individuals.

... [the members of the first generation] (are used to) sharing their glory (with each other); they are brave and rapacious. Therefore, the strength of the group feeling [`asabiyah] continues to be preserved among them. They are sharp and greatly feared. ..

Under the influence of royal authority and a life of ease, the second generation changes from... privation to luxury and plenty... But many of the old virtues remain in them, because they had direct personal contact with the first generation and its conditions, and had observed with their own eyes its prowess and striving for glory...

The third generation, then, has (completely) forgotten the period of... toughness, as if it had never existed. They have lost (the taste for) the sweetness of fame and for group feeling, because they are dominated by force. Luxury reaches its peak among them, because they are so much given to a life of prosperity and ease. They become dependant on the dynasty and are like women and children who need to be defended... With their emblems, apparel, horseback-riding, and (fighting) skill, they deceive people and give them the wrong impression.. The ruler, then, has need of other, brave people to support him. He takes many clients and followers. They help the dynasty to some degree, until God permits it to be destroyed, and it goes with everything it stands for.

As one can see here, we have there three generations. In the course of these three generations, the dynasty grows senile and is worn out. Therefore, it is in the fourth generation that (ancestral) prestige is destroyed. ...

The stages of dynasties...

... the fifth stage is one of waste and squandering... Also, he [the ruler] acquires bad, low-class followers to whom he entrusts the most important matters (of state), which they are not qualified to handle by themselves, not knowing which of them they should tackle and which they should leave alone. The ruler seeks to destroy the great clients of his people and followers of his predecessors. Thus they come to hate him and conspire to refuse support to him. He loses a number of soldiers by spending their allowances on his pleasures (instead of paying them) and by refusing them access to his person and not supervising them (properly). Thus, he ruins the foundations his ancestors had laid and tears down what they had built up. In this stage, the dynasty is seized by senility and the chronic disease from which it can hardly ever rid itself, for which it can find no cure, and, eventually, it is destroyed.

Seclusion of, and control over, the ruler (by others) may occur in dynasties.

When royal authority is firmly established in one particular family... and when that family claims all royal authority for itself.. and when the children of that family succeed to royal authority in turn, by appointment, then it often happens that their wazirs [ministers or advisors] and entourage gain power over the throne. This occurs most often when a little child or weak member of the family is appointed successor by his father or made ruler by his creatures and servants. It becomes clear that he is unable to fulfil the functions of ruler. Therefore, they are fulfilled by his guardian, one of his father's wazirs, someone from his entourage, one of his clients... [This person] keeps the child away from his people.. He causes him to forget to look at government affairs... He accustoms the (child ruler) to believe that the ruler's share in royal authority consists merely in sitting on the throne, shaking hands, being addressed as Sire, and sitting with the women in the seclusion of the harem. ...
Sometimes it pays to turn to the classics because, like they say, there isn't really anything new under the sun. Almost like Ibn Khladoun was looking 627 years into the future when he wrote that.

But let's apply some of this theory on dynasties to the real world. Let's see how the would-be dynasts of the fourth generation of the Bush family dynasty are doing:

Marvin Bush

Neil Bush

George W. Bush

Pretty senile, in my opinion. I'd say that about does it for the Bush family dynasty.

(Annotation may or may not come later; *Passages taken from The Muqaddimah, translated by Franz Rosenthal)

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