Is a Caesar, an authoritarian reconstructor of our institutions, soon to step onto the American stage? A betting man would say yes. The debilities of our society are manifold and will inevitably result in fracture and chaos. History tells us that such times call forth ambitious and driven men, who in the West usually aspire to reconstruction and dynasty, not mere extraction, what is usually featured in primitive societies. As Napoleon said of his accession to Emperor, “I came across the crown of France lying in the street, and I picked it up with my sword.” In human events, past performance is always a key predictor of future results. But neither you nor I is going to be Caesar, so this truth raises the crucial question for us—what to do when Caesar comes?
Quite often, I am asked for my opinion. You might think that the topic would be politics, or history, or perhaps business, but usually, it is not. Rather, I am asked how a young man should approach his life, in these days of confusion, of uncertain future, of corrosive liquid modernity. In response, I piecemeal a relatively short answer, tailored to the questioner. After numerous such quick exchanges, I decided to think more deeply on the question, seeking principles of general applicability. So here is my advice to the young, by whom I mean men and women between eighteen and thirty-five, about how to approach their futures.