Was Bob(us) right?


http://bobcarrblog.wordpress.com/…/right-to-kill-caesar-a-…/ Bob Carr’s reasons for why he lost the Macquarie’s was Brutus right debate a number of years ago. He talks as if the ancients had any real notion of war crimes, that Rome under Republican government was not warmongering (the Principate was far more peaceful) and as if this was a contest between autocracy and democracy not between two potential tyrants (Pompey & Caesar of which Caesar proved the kinder more capable master) or between Caesar and a corrupt, unstable and self-righteous oligarchy. I remember being bitterly frustrated during the debate that the opposing team never corrected Bob Carr and co’s assertion that Rome was a democracy, rather than a state that even when it was functioning as intended (which by Caesar’s time it was most certainly not) weighted votes formally by wealth and birth and even that was assuming you were not a slave, male and a citizen. But then one of the members of the opposing team was a politician as well and if it’s one thing they love it’s corrupt, unstable oligarchies, it’s what gets them out of bed in the morning. Equating Caesar with Hitler, Mussolini (he wished) and Napoleon and stating that the Caesar myth still endure’s because he was assasinated before he faced his waterloo “and the mob, up till now bribed with handouts and circuses had turned on him” is facetious, unlike the three other dictators you see Caesar had WON his wars, there was Parthia to consider but decisive defeat there was unlikely certainly there was no chance of a grand coalition of states of comparable power forcibly overthrowing Caesar and replacing him with a regime of their choosing. As for the Mob turning on him well, they seemed ok with emperors far worse than Caesar for the next……1500 years (including the Byzantine period)…….those were some bread and circuses huh?

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Samuel Runge


    • Indeed though there disagreement with Carr pleases me I found significant fault with much of them. One respondent falls into the two “parties” fallacy of Roman politics and seems to imply that Marius was assasinated by the not-so honourable opposition. Another seems to think a quotation of someone elses analysis of a character in a Shakespearre play constitutes a historical argument (if only this were more novel) and another bases their opposition on the toxic and self-defeating nature of ends justifies the means politics to the point of outright pacifisim, suggesting that unbending scrupulousness combined with intelligence will (and has) kill tyranny and empire both. This last reminds me of the argument of Carr’s fellow politician in the debate (on the opposing side) who argued that they shouldn’t have killed Caesar because murders not justified and they should have just removed him peacefully instead. I disaprove of the actions of the assasins and in that agree with them and not Carr but this thinking is woefully naive (and very possibly disengenous in a debate that was for the politicians taking part more about Rudd than Caesar), there was no removing Caesar against his will without killing him, the conspirators were wrong about a lot but they definitly weren’t wrong about that.

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