I was talking with Gallio the other day about some of the latest rumours that are spreading throughout the Empire. Strangely enough, there seems to be some sort of “movement” establishing occupations in various central cities in the Eastern provinces. However, it seems that some of the members of the movement are objecting to the language of “occupation” – they seem to think that the land is already undergoing an occupation by us, the Roman people, which is pretty laughable left-wing nutbar material if you ask me – we are the agents of peace and security, salvation, civilization, prosperity and the Golden Age, how can we be viewed as some sort of negative occupation?
Anyway, as far as I can tell, this “movment” started in the Middle East in the Spring with #OccupyJerusalem, and then spread to all sorts of other places – #OccupyAntioch, #OccupyTessalonika, #OccupyGalatia (although people are uncertain if that is happening in the North or South of the province) and so on. There are even rumours that one of the more active members of this movement is hoping to set up an occupation (or perhaps help develop an occupation that has already taken place unbeknownst to us?) in Rome itself before moving on to the Western provinces.
Anyway, my curiosity got the better of me and so I thought I would go and check out the occupation that is taking place here in Corinth. After all, the rumours suggest that these people want some sort of “revolution” and they seem to be claiming that some fellow who died as a state-executed terrorist is actually the agent of peace and security and salvation—they seem to want to refer to this person in the same way as we refer to our Lord, Caesar (blessed be) and they seem to think this fellow established some sort of economy that runs counter to our own. How mad… and maddening, really. Don’t these people know what a gift we have given them with our law and order? For, as the divine Augustus once said: the slave-based economy of Roman imperialism is the worst of all the possible options… except for all the other ones! Besides, our economists know that slavery is a necessary growing pain of any recently developed economy and, really, its a far better option than a good many of the choices available to those barbarians. Ungrateful bastards—when the tide rises, all boats rise (and the divine Caesars are, of course, lords of the sea, ever since Pompey liberated the world from pirates).
So, perhaps there would be some money in it for me if I went to visit #OccupyCorinth. If there really was anything seditious going on there, I might make some money by being the first to turn them over to the authorities.
You can’t imagine my disappointment when I got there. What a joke of a “movement.” I couldn’t even make out what their objectives are. They are incoherent and divided. Various factions have arisen. I could identify those of Paul, of Apollos, of Cephas, and of someone called Christ, and, as far as I can tell, they all have different models by which they seek to pursue some sort of change.
This is all pretty humourous for a movement that claims to be leaderless – or, rather, claims that their leader is some immaterial Spirit and some poor dead, uneducated Jew who they think underwent an apotheosis (more like an apocolocyntosis… I should tell Seneca about that play on words, he would appreciate it, I think). Of course, even these supposed “leaders” of “the leaderless” appear to be the dregs of all things. I saw one of them speaking at their General Assembly (they meet weekly for this and so for the civic administration has turned a blind eye to this, even though it is illegal for them to assemble in this way). He was poorly clothed, apparently homeless, seemed to have marks from beatings, coarse hands from hard work (how shameful!) and appeared to be hungry, foolish, weak, disreputable and altogether rubbish. I mean, who can take people who look like this seriously?
They make their own clothes (if you even want to call those eclectic rags “clothes”)? Egad. What do they have to tell us about anything?
Not only that, but they appear to be a profoundly immoral group. While visiting the occupation, I learned that one fellow is having sex with his father’s wife! Can you imagine! Even the most licentious of us Romans would never consider such a thing. Of course, the supporters of #OccupyCorinth have tried to tell me that such a person is a rare exception to the rule – and that we should not judge a whole movement based upon one bad apple – but I think we all know that they are just trying to hide the fact that they are all probably incestuous.
Not only incestuous, but also atheists. They reject our gods – the very same gods who gave us our economic values, who raised the standard of living of all throughout the empire, and provided us with the family values we admire and protect (the divine Augustus worked harder than any other to restore the dignity of the family, did he not?). So, while they claim to talk in some sort of religious language, we should not be fooled: these are atheists and, literally, motherfuckers.
Things only became even more of a joke, when I learned that some of the occupiers were using our legal and judicial system in order to resolve conflicts that occurred within the occupation. These people claim to be embodying some sort of alternative kingdom, centred around the Spirit of new life and the revaluation of values but as soon as the going gets tough, they appeal right back to systems that any true revolutionary would see as opposed to their goals. What a bunch of poseurs and hypocrites.
I could go on and on, but I’ll just mention three more things. First, the occupation can’t even figure out their eating arrangements. Some are meat-eaters, some are vegans, some only eat “free range” meat or something like that (is that what “kosher” means?), and they can’t sort out how to address everybody’s needs without getting into fights with each other. How pathetic. Not only that, but for all their talk about being a new society of brothers and sisters, when they do get together to eat, it seems like those who have higher status (which, let’s be honest, is only relatively higher status, since they are all a bunch of beggars and inbreds) appear to be taking the better portions of food and eating more than others. So much for loving one another in new ways. This isn’t the sort of concrete and material mutualism that we Romans practice with our siblings.
Second, they seem to be permitting women to run around acting in roles that should only be reserved for men. I would feel entirely emasculated if a woman told me what to do, yet there are some women who seem to be acting as “leaders” (in a “leaderless” movement). Now, obviously we Romans value women, but everybody knows that they are to play a different role in society. I would never follow a leader I could beat in a fight (something Senator Marcus Driscolius once said about those barbarians who were revolting up north under the authority of a woman). Women, obviously, are made to bear children and care for the home. This does not mean they are any less human than men, but it means their role is different.
Third, a good portion of those at #OccupyCorinth appear to be either high or in psychosis. Some are walking around speaking in tongues that nobody can recognize, some claim to be able to heal the sick with alternative medicine (or simply by touching them while speaking certain words!), some claim to be able to prophesy the future, and some even claim to be able perform vaguely defined “works of power.” What a bunch of crazies. Seriously, I would expect this sort of madness from the Gauls and other barbarians (damn tribal people, they would probably have drum circles… yuck!) but I expect more from Greeks.
That said, despite their obvious beggarly nature, despite their juvenile behaviour, despite their immorality, incompetence, and incoherence, there still were some very troubling and destructive messages being proclaimed. If anybody started taking them seriously, we could be in trouble – indeed, given the way this Occupy Together thing is spreading, the Empire itself could be in trouble. Not because something better is coming along, but because these people seem to proponents of chaos and anarchy and ways of structuring life together that are proven failures.
For example, one of their leaders-but-not-really-leaders, is trying to encourage them to share their resources and money with one another in some sort of “Collection,” and is trying to network the occupations throughout the Empire so that, even though they are all poor, there will always be enough for everybody. This sort of utopian economic theory is the sort of thing we might expect from the barbarians in East Germania and beyond, but it has obviously proven false and was thoroughly refuted at the fall of wall of Alesia (and the defeat of Vercingetorix). Not only is it wrong from an economic angle, it is wrong from a moral angle. It refuses to respect the divine laws of private property and disregards the fact that people have earned what they have and deserve to keep it (whether that be a little or a lot). Yet, these atheists refer to these divine laws as idolatry. Perhaps we have spoiled our colonies a little too much and now some are responding by acting like ungrateful children. Spare the fasces, spoil the child.
Not only that but, as an aside, we should note that it probably isn’t good for the Empire to have various members of vanquished nations interacting with each other in this way, apart from some sort of Roman intermediary. Given that this movement likes to imitate our political ways of structuring life together – both by forming local assemblies (“occupations”), establishing its own law courts (and claiming that they are beyond or above the law because of grace and love – a fuller expression of anarchy has never been heard before!), and using political metaphors (referring to their groups as a single body, when really we know that the political community is the true body) – we should note how this might end up creating a transnational alternative to what we offer… that is, if these incompetent, immoral fools can get their act together.
There are other heretical and seditious views proclaimed by some members of this “movement.” Thus, perhaps in a moment of megalomania, I heard one of them proclaim that: “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are.” I might be tempted to respond: “Okay, buddy. Keep telling yourself that and living in your fantasy land,” but this is a dangerous fantasy. I heard the same person say, that the “rulers of this age are doomed to perish,” in part, I think, because they are said to have “crucified the Lord of glory.” This same Lord will, supposedly, hand our empire over to his God who will “destroy every ruler and every authority and every power” and will put “all his enemies [including us, I suppose, since we crucified their “Lord”] under his feet.”
This is rebellious talk and should not be tolerated. We all know that crucifixion is a form of death reserved only for the worst members of society. Thus, to say that some crucified person is Lord, while proclaiming doom upon the rulers, is an offense that should not go unpunished… and should be punished severely. Of course, this same fellow who said those words, also described our judicial system as “unrighteous” and “unjust” so there may be no hope of reforming him (given the scars on his body, he may not have been hyperbolic when he described himself as “sentenced to death” and being “in danger every hour”).
I went back to Gallio and told him about these things but he said I’m getting a little worked up over nothing. Obviously, we are dealing with a bunch of juvenile, immoral (probably high), ignorant, and hypocritical wannabes who like to throw around some provocative rhetoric but who won’t make it through the first winter. Gallio assured me that, while they are monitoring the situation, the main thing to do is to present a benevolent face to the public. Lord Caesar knows, it wasn’t that long ago that we completely destroyed Corinth so, even though these people are beyond ungrateful for the grace we have shown them since then, violence might not be the answer yet. These people will implode upon themselves or fall apart before they can offer anything serious to the city. In a year, I reckon that this “movement” will be completely dead and gone.
A Roman Citizen and friend of Liberty, Property, and the Rule of Law