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Beware the State; celebrate the Ides of March!

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 14 years ago, in 2010, on the World Wide Web.

As you may know, there are only 10 more ranting days left until Tyrannicide Day, which this secessionist republic of one celebrates every year on March 15th, in commemoration of the nearby anniversaries of the assassinations of Gais Julius Caesar and Alexander II Nikolaevich, the self-styled Caesar over all the Russias. As in years past, (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009), although my time for the celebrations may be limited by the weekend trip to San Francisco that I’ll be just getting back from.

Here's a Tyrannicide Day logo, with a cartoon silhouette of a T. rex with a crown on its head and an asteroid hurtling at it from the sky, with the slogan SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS printed on top.

In any case, I’m happy to receive word through diplomatic channels that this secessionist republic of one’s Ministry of Culture will not be alone in celebrating this international holiday. If you happen to be in the area of Asheville, North Carolina, the Firestorm Cafe & Books will be hosting a celebration on Monday, March 15th in honor of the holiday. Plus, they’ve designed this awesome logo for their holiday event.[1]

For those of you who are new to this holiday, I can tell you what Tyrannicide Day is all about. Lights please:

Today, March 15th, commemorates the assassination of two tyrants. Today is the 2,051st anniversary — give or take the relevant calendar adjustments — of the death of Gaius Julius Caesar, the military dictator who butchered his way through Gaul, set fire to Alexandria, and, through years of conquest, perfidy, and proscription, battered and broke every barricade that republican institutions had put in the way of military and executive power, until he finally had himself proclaimed dictator perpetuus, the King of Rome in everything but name. On March 15th, 44 BCE, a group of republican conspirators, naming themselves the Liberatores, rose up and stabbed Caesar to death on the floor of the Senate. Meanwhile, Thursday, March 13th, was also the 127th anniversary (give or take the relevant calendar adjustments), of the death of Czar Alexander II Nikolaevitch, the self-styled Caesar of all the Russias. Alexander was killed by grenades thrown by a group of anarchist conspirators on March 13th, 1881 C.E., in an act of propaganda by the deed. In honor of the events, the Ministry of Culture in this secessionist republic of one has proclaimed March 15th Tyrannicide Day (observed), which is kind of like President’s Day, except cooler. Instead of another dull theo-nationalist hymn on the miraculous births of two of the canonized saints of the United States federal government, Tyrannicide Day gives us one day in which we can commemorate the deaths of two tyrants at the hands of their equals — men and women who defied the tyrants’ arbitrary claims to an unchecked authority that they had neither the wisdom, the virtue, nor the right to exercise. Men and women who saw themselves as exercising their equal right of self-defense, by striking down the would-be tyrants just like they would be entitled to strike down any other two-bit thug who tried to kill them, enslave them, or shake them down.

… There are in fact lots of good reasons to rule out tyrannicide as a political tactic — after all, these two famous cases each ended a tyrant but not the tyrannical regime; Alexander II was replaced by the even more brutal Alexander III, and Julius Caesar was replaced by his former running-dogs, one of whom would emerge from the abattoir that followed as Augustus Caesar, to begin the long Imperial nightmare in earnest. But it’s important to recognize that these are strategic failures, not moral ones, and what should be celebrated on the Ides of March is not the tyrannicide as a strategy, but rather tyrannicide as a moral fact. Putting a diadem on your head and wrapping yourself in the blood-dyed robes of the State confers neither the virtue, the knowledge, nor the right to rule over anyone, anywhere, for even one second, any more than you had naked and alone. Tyranny is nothing more and nothing less than organized crime executed with a pompous sense of entitlement and a specious justification; the right to self-defense applies every bit as much against the person of some self-proclaimed sovereign as it does against any other two-bit punk who might attack you on the street.

Every victory for human liberation in history — whether against the crowned heads of Europe, the cannibal-empires of modern Fascism and Bolshevism, or the age-old self-perpetuating oligarchies of race and sex — has had these moral insights at its core: the moral right to deal with the princes and potentates of the world as nothing more and nothing less than fellow human beings, to address them as such, to challenge them as such, and — if necessary — to resist them as such.

— GT 2008-03-15: Tyrannicide Day 2008

Anyway. How about you? How are you planning to celebrate Tyrannicide Day? Got any plans? A favorite tyrannicide to highlight for this year’s ceremonies? A party to throw? If you are or do, send some fraternal greetings my way; I’d be glad to hear how you plan to pass the holiday.

Just ten more days, y’all. Beware the State; celebrate the Ides of March!

  1. [1]Which has the advantage of combining multiple visual puns with some remarkable skill, and which, for a dinosaur nerd like me, is like the funniest thing ever.

5 replies to Beware the State; celebrate the Ides of March! Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. JOR

    Tyrannicide Da!

  2. Gabriel

    I heard the phrase “all the Russias” in a Star Trek episode. Where did that originate?

  3. Rad Geek


    Oy. Appropriate as it may be for the Russian context of the holiday, the typo has been fixed.


    My understanding is that All the Russias — of which the Czar was held to be Czar and Autocrat (before 1721) and Imperator and Autocrat (after 1721) — refers to three historical territories — the Orthodox Christian parts of what’s now called Russia (Greater Russia), Belarus (White Russia), and the old Kiev Rus and surrounding territories (Little Russia, now part of Ukraine).

  4. Discussed at barbarianchick.wordpress.com

    Holiday season « Barbarianchick's Blog:

    […] assassinations of Julius Caesar and Tsar Nicholas. I learned about this from Charles Johnson, the Rad Geek. I am not quite as rad a geek, and I don’t have my trusty sewing machine, so I will not be […]

  5. Discussed at textsfornothing.com

    texts for nothing : Happy Tyrannicide Day!:

    […] Charles Johnson celebrates the Ides of March. […]

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