The Court of the Sun King


Group of people on both sides of the atlantic who seem to basking in the warming rays of the new political order. Steve Bannon and the alt right in the U.S, Nigel Farage and his alt right associates in the U.K.

Nigel Farage noted yesterday that the “world had changed” stressing that Trump was a business man rather than a politician, who selected those around him on a basis of friendship. Patronage granted to those he maintained a close face to face relationship with rather than the  faceless suits of standard political administrations.

This is Farage’s brave new world, one in which patronage is dispensed within a small enclosed group with close personal ties to the founding father of the clan.

It’s not a particularly new form of social political organization. The fault lines of such a system were noted in the 17th century by an Irish legal scholar, Duabhaltach Mac Fir Bhisigh, his formula is known as Bhisigh’s law and states

It is customary for great lords that, when their families and kindreds multiply, their clients and their followers are oppressed, injured and wasted.

The Court of the Sun King is a treacherous place to dwell and presents particular challenges for both lord and client within clan based societies.

Legal formula and observation from the 17th century that may have some application for 21st century political administration in this brave new world.

Mr Farage’s claim that he should be appointed a high-profile role in a U.K adminstration based on his friendship with Mr Trump should be rejected I think on two points.

His position would be entirely dependant on U.S patronage making a claim to be working for the British people and within the British interest somewhat problematic, given where his power and patronage stems from. As an outsider in a foreign court and a political rival to the U.K. government Farage’s patronage is doubly dependant entirely dependant on Trump.

The currency he is trading in is somewhat volatile and prone to sudden and dramatic downturn as Bhisigh’s law demonstrates.

The social movement of clients dependant on Lordly patronage within a clan based political system is generally downwards rather than upwards.

Trumps repeated portrayal of himself as a ‘man of honor’ who values and will protect his friends at all costs is a situational neccesity in such an enviroment, rather than a reflection of personal ethics and values.

Trumps clan is in its movement of multiplying. The normal processes here once territory is held, carved up and dispensed is one of political cannibalism, those involved then begin consuming each other.


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