Cassandra has moved. Ugo Bardi publishes now on a new site called "The Seneca Effect."

Monday, May 6, 2019

Are the Martyrs Coming Back? Julian Assange and the Fall of the Global Empire

And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand (Matthew. 12:25)

The more the current world drama unfolds, the more I am amazed by how closely we are following the path that the ancient Roman Empire followed toward its final collapse. Dmitry Orlov, another student of civilization collapse, seem to think in the same way. In a post on his blog, he notes how Julian Assange could be the first martyr for truth of modern times, he calls him "St. Julian." Says Orlov:

If all goes well, he (Julian Assange) will be released and reestablish himself as a media personality of great stature. And if everything goes badly and the Americans do get their hands on him and torture him to death, he will die as a martyr and live in public memory forever.

I don’t know whether Assange has been baptized, but a proper choice of saint for him would be St. Julian of Antioch, who was martyred during Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians between 303 and 313 AD. Julian was stuffed into a sack filled with sand, vipers and scorpions and dumped in the sea. Diocletian’s initiative was a failure: the son of one of his lieutenants, Constantine, not only canceled the persecution of Christians but made Christianity into Roman Empire’s state religion. He then moved its capital to New Rome (Constantinople), abandoning Old Rome to languish in the Dark Ages while his New Rome went on for a thousand glorious years.

Should Julian Assange end up martyred by the Americans, we can expect a vaguely similar result: future generations of Americans will say: “There once was a great journalist by the name of Julian. He died as a martyr for the truth. It was a long time ago, and we don’t know what’s been happening to us since then, because all we have been hearing ever since have been nothing but lies…”

I think this post by Orlov goes to the heart of the matter. A civilization collapse is, in the end, a collapse of trust. An empire, a state, a family, any social structure, can be rich or poor, powerful or weak, new or old, happy or sad, but if there is no trust keeping it together it cannot exist for long, it is like a solid turning into a gas when the chemical bonds keeping the atoms together are not strong enough. It is what happened to the Roman Empire, it is what's happening to us. As Matthew says, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand" (12:25).

Ultimately, trust is based on truth. Without truth, there cannot be trust. In Roman times, the fight of Christianity against the Empire of Lies was more than everything else a fight to rebuild trust by establishing a new truth, the revealed one. I wrote in a previous post that:

Augustine and other early Christian fathers were engaged, first of all, in an epistemological revolution. Paulus of Tarsus had already understood this point when he had written: "now we see as in a mirror, darkly, then we'll see face to face." It was the problem of truth; how to see it? How to determine it? In the traditional view, truth was reported by a witness who could be trusted. The Christian epistemology started from that, to build up the concept of truth as the result divine revelation. The Christians were calling God himself as witness.
In the name of truth, the Christian martyrs (a Greek term meaning "witness") were willing to give their life, to die vilified and tortured in the most gruesome manners. It was the courage of the early martyrs that eventually brought down the zombie creature that the once great Roman Empire had become.

And now? We are rapidly entering a phase when the lies told to us by our governments and our elites are so huge, so pervasive, so blatant to qualify as diabolical. But in the great confusion of our times even the good among us are confused, they can't discern the truth anymore. And the time may have come when we need a new generation of Martyrs for truth is needed.


  1. How about St. Greta? What destiny awaits her? The forces of darkness are beginning to gather…

    1. I hope she can escape that destiny, poor girl.

  2. Most important truths are so obvious that even small children perceive them. Rather than relying on people like Julian Assange or Edward Snowden for truth, a better step would be to open one's eyes. And relying on truths that someone says they got from God is worse than relying on Julian Assange. God's truth can be anything, whether it accords with reality or not. It just depends on whose God it is.

    Empires don't fail from faulty epistemology, they fail from lack of power, so knowing the "truth" won't help defeat an empire. Mother Nature can do it all by herself, but lacking her help, people need to apply plenty of firepower if they want to get rid of one. As St Mike Love testified, "The pen is mightier than the sword, but no match for a gun".

  3. I think the “truth” that was brought to the Roman empire by early Christians was that the rich and powerful are not worthy of adoration; it was the kind, the compassionate, and the charitable person who cares for others who is worthy of “the kingdom” of heaven. Christianity, or rather, the stories told as Christ’s parables, were all about rejecting the hubris and cruelty that developed out of an level of economic and inequality that was enforced threat of military violence. This is why Assange is now targeted by the American empire - he revealed, through Manning, that it was doing arrogant and cruel violence to innocent people.

  4. To this we could add the other lies Ugo:
    The lie that we can have infinite growth on a finite planet.
    The lie that it is a lie that polluting the atmosphere will cause the world to warm and the climate to change.
    The lie that the world will never run out of oil or coal.
    The lie that we can use coal and oil without any environmental consequences.
    The lie that we can solve any current problems using future technology.
    The lie that the natural world is of no consequence in our lives other than a s thing for dilletants and greenies.
    The lie that if we allow markets and capital to be uncontrolled and growth to continue everyone will all get richer and better off.
    The lie that men are better than women.
    The lie that there is a God.
    The lie that there is no such thing as a lie or truth only alternative views and opinions.

    1. The lie that there is a God? If they believe it is it a lie? Faith defined is belief without proof. Can you prove there is no god? I can't. I've just seen zero evidence for any of the thousands of gods they believe in. The humans will always be believers in gods and endless woo woo. Belief is an evolutionary feature, not a bug.

  5. Well, I don't think that Julian Assange is a martyr. Instead about the martyr theme into a collapsing society, there's a lot to say about.

  6. Good insight, Prof. Bardi, but bad example.
    Assange is a mercenary who's paid by the criminal Catalan independentists, and by Farage, and by other forces of the dark who belong to the conspiration to destroy the UK and the EU lied and insulted Spain most dreadfully.

    This criminal Aussie ignorant barbarian passed himself as an European to American TVs -what do they know, he's white, must be European- vomiting his lies and insults, that for example Spain lives under a Francoist dictatorship, that the justice is the Spanish Inquisition, he was paid to lie, he lied and as nobody knows anything and anything goes he has been successful in presenting himself as a victim and defending the traitor in Waterloo who was paying him.
    I was very glad to see him coming out from his den, old, wizened, in obvious bad health, I would had been more happy if he had gone out, feet first in a coffin.

  7. so the roman empire fell and the christian empire rose. and one form of human BS was replaced by another.

  8. 1984 the novel described a world where the state makes any legacy it wishes. The legacy of Julian thus will not be that of a Martyr if events rhyme. Julian may die that way to appease a certain demographic but the legacy will be changed because history belongs to the victor. The state is pushing hard that ‘all will end well for Julian. Please don’t help their meme as Orlov has chosen to do. Julian is in grave danger, a fact which should not be dismissed.

  9. Let's not forget another martyr for the right cause:

    Mordechai Vanunu



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)