Monday, November 24, 2008

Who is Justinian?

There's another proposal to President-elect Obama on how to combat climate change. This one is interlaced with detailed tech specs that suggest a high caliber wonkishness combined with good common sense. The overall effect is not unlike the seven-wedge stabilization system given by Holdren at the Kennedy School, but the technical detail is much greater. The document is signed "Justinian," a neo classical reference.

During the Revolutionary war era, pamphleteers and publishers of radical opinion often used neo-classical noms de plume that had hidden or allegorical meaning but protected identity. An example was Cincinnatus, commemorating the soldier who entered civil life after retirement, for whom an important civil society, as well as a city were eventually named, both heavily involved in the first recognizable phase of manifest destiny as former revolutionary soldiers settled the Ohio valley.

So why Justinian? Apparently the authors intend to reveal themselves at some point, so we'll find out, but a little bloggish speculation never hurt. And by remaining incognito, they invite it.

Justinian was the rather academic ruler who tried to revive Rome during the dark ages, supervising the reconquest of the western lands around the Mediterranean previously part of empire. He also completely revised the Roman law code, bringing it up-to-date and making it more reasonable for the various "barbarians" who had inherited the physical trappings of empire.

Being obviously descended from one or two such groups of so-called barbarians, various Teutons and Celts, I have a certain sympathy.

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