Here’s a recent correspondence from a friend of human greatness, apparently in response to my celebrations of Tyrannicide Day on the Ides of March. Here’s what he has to say on behalf of the man who publicly boasted of killing or enslaving one third of the population of Gaul:
Date: 9 April 2007 4:44 AM
Subject: How dare you…
(((This message was submitted by Paul [e-mail address redacted] using the online contact form)))
Just who do you think you are, berating such a man as Caesar? Caesar was a man greater than any of us could ever hope to be, and the anniversary of his murder is a date to be mourned, not celebrated. Of course, most people are so blinded by Shakespeare’s interpretation of Caesar that they can’t even see his greatness. Caesar fought for Rome, and only for Rome; he was kind to those that surrendered, forceful to those that resisted, and vengeful to those that betrayed. What do you expect? Do you expect anyone to simply sit back at swallow betrayal after betrayal with no retaliation? Do you expect anyone of that time to allow Rome’s enemies to threaten Rome and her protected peoples? Do you expect anyone to stand quietly while he is stripped of the power he earned? Pompey and the Senate, despite Caesar’s numerous efforts for peace, forced his hand by not allowing him, a man who had done so much for Rome, to even return to the city. I would have done no differently, and anyone who would has no self-respect and is a doormat. Caesar, in all his greatness, fit neither of these criteria and fought to defend his rights and to secure that which was due him.
Oh, and while I’m at it, I suppose I’ll mention that the Crimean War was a defensive war on Russia’s part; Britain and France landed their troops on the Crimean Peninsula, Russian territory, and Alexander simply tried to fend them off. Czar Alexander may not have been the greatest leader, but don’t bust him on the Crimean War.
I would like to say that I am very sorry to the absolutist emperors and military dictators-for-life of the world for any unfair berating that I may have directed against them in the course of my infamous scribbling against my betters. I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I am blinded against the greatness of those who so clearly excel at slaughtering, terrorizing, and dominating their fellow human beings.
Paul asked several questions in the course of his message. The answers to them, as I see it, are, in order:
it depends on what you mean,
I most certainly do.