plus ça change…

Beware the leader who beats the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils and hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.

It’s a great quote, but probably apocryphal. The Roman army didn’t use drums so there’s no military association there. And all Roman swords were double-edged. The phrase “patriotic fervor” is too modern.

(This is what I get for being far too well read in the classics. I should be ashamed of myself; no self respecting geek should catch all that… 😉 )

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