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Refuge of Oppression #2

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 17 years ago, in 2007, on the World Wide Web.

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:

From: Paul
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: abdication, it depends on what you mean, yes, and I most certainly do.

Further reading:

6 replies to Refuge of Oppression #2 Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Roderick T. Long

    A famous anecdote: Alexander Hamilton visited Thomas Jefferson and saw three portraits on his wall. Hamilton asked who they were. Jefferson replied: “The three greatest men who ever lived – Francis Bacon, John Locke, and Isaac Newton.” “The greatest man who ever lived was Julius Caesar,” Hamilton snapped in response.

    (Jefferson may have invented this story, however. At any rate, all of Hamilton’s published references to Caesar were negative.)

  2. molli

    I LOVE your blog!! I have found in you a true kindred spirit!!!WOW…

    I do think what you do for a living is REALLY cool. (from your ‘about’ section: “My Computer Science interests lie mainly in usability and information architecture, accessibility for the disabled,”)

    Honestly I think, if I may comment, since I do not know you, that your hurting society with this kind of thing. I just don’t understand why any industry would go out of it’s way for people who are basically useless to society and should be euthanized voluntarily or otherwise.

    They cost society so much money, not to mention the burden they put on their families and caretakers.

    I do not see the use in even keeping them alive. In a perfectly socialist community we would do away with them humanely like we would a crippled horse.

    I just don’t see why anyone has a right to impose their existence on anyone else. It’s not about the ‘state’ (ie government) but about the collective, which is the TRUE state.

    If (hopefully) we are going set up socialized medicine in this country, we can’t waste our time with out moded sentimentalities like caring for the weak etc.

    Still…it’s nice you do what you do, and I am thrilled to have found a kindred spirit. :)


  3. Jesse Walker

    You skipped the most important question: “Just who do you think you are, berating such a man as Caesar?”

  4. Rad Geek

    My bad.

    A: Just another mortal, like Caesar himself–albeit one with a lean and hungry look, who thinks too much.

  5. Anonymous2

    Just another mortal, like Caesar himself

    So if Apollo or Heracles showed up would we have to obey them, swear our allegiance in school, and work in their tomato patches? Somehow I can’t get too excited about the idea.

    If a wise, immortal philosopher-king showed up and wanted to be a rich capitalist or dictator, I’d tell him to shove it.

  6. Rad Geek


    No. But the immortal philosopher-king would at least have the virtue of being wise (unlike Caesar, who was merely cunning). If she said that I should do something, I’d at least think about it first, since I have some reason to think that she might be right when she suggests something.

    As for the gods and demigods, well, it depends on whether or not I’m depending on something that actually belongs to them. Gaia might be able to demand something if I’m always standing on her body, for example. But Heracles can go clean stables for all I care.

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