Tacitus tells the tale of AD 69, the Year of the Four Emperors. Here's number three making way:
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Tacitus tells the tale of AD 69, the Year of the Four Emperors. Here's number three making way:
Soon after this, happened the affair of Clitus; which, however simply related, is much more shocking even than the execution of Philotas. Yet, if we weigh the occasion and circumstances of the thing, we shall conclude it was a misfortune rather than a deliberate act, and that Alexander's unhappy passion and intoxication only furnished the evil genius of Clitus with the means of accomplishing his destruction. It happened in the following manner:
The king had some Grecian fruit brought him from on board a vessel, and as he greatly admired it's freshness and beauty, he desired that Clitus might see and partake of it. It happened, that Clitus was offering sacrifice that day; but he left it, in order to wait upon the king. Three of the sheep, on which the libation had been already poured, followed him. The king, informed of that accident, consulted his soothsayers, Aristander and Cleomantis the Spartan, upon it; and they both assured him, it was an extremely bad omen. He, therefore, ordered the victims to be immediately offered for the health of Clitus; the rather, because three days before he had had a strange and alarming dream, in which Clitus appeared in mourning, sitting by the dead sons of Parmenio. Before the sacrifice however was finished, Clitus went to sup with the king, who that day had been paying his homage to Castor and Pollux.
After they were warmed with drinking, somebody began to sing the verses, of one Pranichus (or, as others will have it, of Pierio) written in ridicule of the Macedonian officers, who had lately been beaten by the barbarians. The older part of the company were greatly offended at it, and condemned both the poet and the singer; but Alexander and those immediately about him listened with pleasure, and bade him go on. Clitus, who by this time had drank too much, and was naturally rough and froward, could not bear their behaviour. He said, " It was not well done to make a jest, and that among barbarians and enemies, of Macedonians who were "much better men than the laughers, though they "had met with a misfortune." Alexander replied, "That Clitus was pleading his own cause, when he "gave cowardice the soft name of ' misfortune.'" Upon which Clitus started up, and said, "Yet it "was this cowardice which saved you, son of Jupiter as you are, when you were turning your back to "the sword of Spithridates. It is by the blood of the Macedonians, and by these wounds, that you "are grown so lofty, as to disdain acknowledging Philip for your father, and to endeavour to pass "yourself off for the son of Jupiter Amnion."
Irritated at this insolence, Alexander replied, "It is thus, old villain, that thou talkest of me in all companies, and stirrest up the Macedonians to mutiny; but dost thou think long to enjoy it?" "And what do we enjoy now ?" said Clitus: " what reward have we for all our toils? Do we not envy those, who did not live to see Macedonians bleed under Median rods, or sue to Persians for access to their king?" While he went on in this rash manner, and the king retorted upon him with equal bitterness, the old men interposed, and endeavoured to allay the flame. In the mean time, Alexander turned to Xenodocus the Cardian and Artemius the Colophonian, and said; " Do not the Greeks appear to you, among the Macedonians, like demi-gods among so many wild beasts?" Clitus, far from giving up the dispute, called upon Alexander, To speak out what he had to say, or not to invite freemen to his table, who would declare their sentiments without reserve. But, perhaps (continued he), it were better to pass your life with "barbarians and slaves, who will worship your Persian girdle and your white robe without reluctance."
Alexander, no longer able to restrain his anger, threw an apple at his face, and then looked about for his sword. But Aristophanes, one of his bodyguards, had taken it away in time, and the company gathered about him, and entreated him to be quiet. Their remonstrances, however, were fruitless: He broke from them, and called out in the Macedonian language for his guards, which was the signal of a great tumult. At the same time he ordered the trumpeter to sound, and struck him with his fist, upon his discovering an unwillingness to obey. This man was afterward held in high esteem, because he prevented the whole army from being alarmed. As Clitus would not make the least- submission, his friends with much difficulty forced him out of the room: but he soon returned by another door, repeating in a bold and disrespectful tone those verses from the Andromache of Euripides:
Alas! what evil customs harass Greece!
[The trophies won hy thousands shall it please One man to claim &c.]
Upon this, Alexander snatched a spear from one of the guards, and meeting Clitus as he was drawing the door-curtain, ran him through the body. He fell immediately to the ground, and with a dismal groan expired.
Alexander's rage subsided in a moment: he came to himself, and seeing his friends standing around in silent astonishment, hastily drew the spear out of the dead body, and was applying it to his own throat, when his guards seized his hands, and carried him by force into his chamber. He passed that night, and the next day, in anguish inexpressible; and when he had wasted himself with tears and lamentations, he lay in speechless grief, uttering only now and then a groan. His friends, alarmed at this melancholy silence, forced themselves into the room, and attempted to console him. But he would listen to none of them except Aristander, who put him in mind of his dream and the ill omen of the sheep, and assured him that the whole was by the decree of fate. As he seemed a little comforted, Callisthenes the philosopher, Aristotle's near relation, and Anaxarchus the Abderite, were called in. Callisthenes began in a soft and tender manner, endeavouring to relieve him without probing the wound. But Anaxarchus, who had a particular walk in philosophy, and looked upon his fellow-labourers in science with contempt, cried out on entering the room; "Is this Alexander, upon whom the whole world fix their eyes? Can it be he, who lies extended on the ground crying like a slave, in fear of the law and of the tongues of men, to whom he should himself be a law and the measure of right and wrong? Why did he conquer, but to rule and to command, not servilely to submit to the vain opinions of others? Know you not (continued he) that Jupiter is represented with Themis and Justice by his side, to show that whatever is done by supreme power is right?" By this, and other discourses of the same kind, he alleviated the king's grief indeed, but rendered him withal more haughty and unjust. At the same time, he so deeply insinuated himself into his favour, that he could no longer bear the conversation of Callisthenes, who before was far from being agreeable on account of his austerity.
The other day at work I was drafting an internal procedure and wrote, “It is important that the Department create procedures to . . .” After having showed it to my boss, he mentioned that there was a typo or grammatical error, and that it should have read, “It is important that the deparment creates procedures to . . .” I read the sentence over a couple of times and was convinced that my version was correct, and that the difference in conjugation was due to the fact that the sentence was imperative and required the use of the subjunctive. I was told that that might in fact be the case, but that I should still change it to “creates” because everyone who would read the document would see it as an error.Thus I pledge never to bow to the tyranny of the majority in their ignorance, and will insist that the subjunctive be used whenever it be required, and even places where it be not!
"The whole issue of Europe (sic - he means the EU) is whether the nation state enhances its power by sharing sovereignty or tries to maintain a national posture whilst the rest of the world is sharing power, well the rest of Europe (sic - he means the EU) in our case, and the whole view of the last fifty years of British policy has been that Britain gained by being a leading influence in Europe, and that meant that you shared a whole range of decisions.The verb 'to share' is chosen with care. It sounds so much better than 'giving away' or 'handing over'. It makes me search for examples of other things, like sovereignty, which are unwise to share. Let's go with wife-swapping.
If one takes it at its most extreme, and this is not about paedophilia, it's about industry, Europe is our biggest trading partner, there are going to be common standards, the same specifications, the same harmonisations, all through the industrial manufacturing process, if we are not part of that decision-making, the French and the Germans will fix the rules to help French and German industry.Here, as usual, the federast picks up a seemingly reasonable point. After all, we must have standardisation, right? But, accepting this on face value for the moment, it does not follow that the British Parliament has to give over sovereignty to a foreign organisation for the good of industry standardisation. Such matters can be carried out between trading nations without any such surrender. In any case, if standardisation has such clear benefits, then surely industry would get on and standardise by itself? Is it not the case that British manufacturers who seek foreign markets will produce for those markets, whether or not they are impelled by legislation?
War correspondent Eric Margolis and Lew Rockwell discuss the Egyptian army, the monstrous secret police, Camp David, the overcrowding, the food situation, the Palestinians, and Omar Suleiman – the torturer-in-chief for the US – now designated to take Mubarak’s place."
The bottle is now labeled libertarianism. But its content is nothing new; it is what in the nineteenth century, and up to the time of Franklin Roosevelt, was called liberalism—the advocacy of limited government and a free economy. (If you think of it, you will see that there is a redundancy in this formula, for a government of limited powers would have little chance of interfering with the economy.) The liberals were robbed of their time-honored name by the unprincipled socialists and near socialists, whose avidity for prestige words knows no bounds. So, forced to look for another and distinctive label for their philosophy, they came up with libertarianism—good enough but somewhat difficult for the tongue.
They might have done better by adopting the older and more meaningful name of individualism, but they bypassed it because it too had been more than sullied by its opponents. The smear technique of winning an argument is as old as argument. The mud with which individualism has been bespattered still hides its true character, and every so often new gobs are thrown at it by “scholars” who simply don't like it. Some of the modern traducers even affect the conservative title.
The mudslinging started long ago, but the more recent and best-known orgy occurred in the early part of the century when the heaven-by-way-of-government muckrakers attached to individualism a value-impregnated adjective—rugged. The word itself has no moral content; when applied to a mountain it is purely descriptive, when applied to an athlete it carries a favorable connotation. But, in the literary usage of the muckrakers, it designated what in plain language would be called skulduggery. It has no more to do with a philosophy than has any form of indecent behavior. Thus, the “rugged individualist” was the fellow who threatened to foreclose the mortgage on the old homestead if the fair damsel refused his hand in marriage; or he was the speculator who made use of the stock market to rob “widows and orphans”; or he was the fat and florid buccaneer who lavished diamonds on his ladylove. He was, in short, a fellow whose conscience presented no obstacle to his inclination to grab a dollar, and who recognized no code of ethics that might curb his appetites. If there is any difference between an ordinary thief and a rugged individualist, it is in the fact that the latter almost always keeps within the letter of the law, even if he has to rewrite the law to do so.
To the socialist, of course, intellectual integrity is excess baggage, even as morality is excess baggage to the rugged individualist. If the word rugged could confound the opposition, why not use it to the full? The fact mat individualism, as a philosophy, looks upon the state with a jaundiced eye would hardly deter the socialist (to whom the state is the all in all) from equating individualism with the manipulation of the state in the interest of the rich. Rugged individualism was a propaganda phrase of the first order. It was most useful in bringing the soak-the-rich urgency to a boiling point.
The phrase gained currency at the time when the leveling mania was fighting its way into the American tradition, before the government, making full use of the new power it had acquired under the income tax law, took hold of the individual by the scruff of the neck and made a mass-man out of him. It is an odd fact that the socialist is quite in agreement with the rugged individualist in advocating the use of political force to achieve one's “good”; the difference between them is only in determining the incidence, or the recipient, of government-given “good.” It is doubtful whether the robber barons (a synonym for rugged individualists) ever used the government, before the income tax, with anything like the vigor and success of the socialists. At any rate, the stigma of ruggedness has stuck, so that the collectivist “intellectuals,” who ought to know better, are unaware of the difference between thievery and individualism.
ORIGINAL SMEAR WORDS
The besmirching of individualism, however, had a good start before the modern era. The original defamers were not socialists but solid proponents of status, the upholders of special privilege, the mercantilists of the nineteenth century. Their opposition stemmed in part from the fact that individualism leaned heavily on the burgeoning doctrine of the free market, of laissez-faire economics, and as such presented a challenge to their preferred position. So they dug into the age-old bag of semantics and came up with two smear words: selfish and materialistic. Just like the later socialists, they had no compunction about twisting the truth to suit their argument.
Laissez-faire—that is to say, an economy free of political interventions and subventions—holds that the instinct of self-interest is the motive power of productive effort. Nothing is produced except by human labor, and labor is something the human being is most parsimonious about; if he could satisfy his desires without effort, he would gladly dispense with it. That is why he invents labor-saving devices. But he is so constituted that every gratification gives rise to new desire, which he proceeds to satisfy by investing the labor he saved. He is insatiable. The log cabin that was palace enough in the wilderness seems quite inadequate as soon as the pioneer accumulates a surplus of necessaries, and then he begins to dream of curtains and pictures, inside plumbing, a school or a church, to say nothing of baseball or Beethoven. Self-interest overcomes his aversion to labor in his constant drive to improve his circumstances and widen his horizon. If the individual is not interfered with in the enjoyment of the products of his labor, his property, he will multiply his productive efforts and there will be a general abundance for the benefit of society as a whole.
It is in the free market that self-interest finds its finest expression; that is a cardinal point in individualism. If the market is regularly raided, by robbers or the government, and the safety of property is impaired, the individual loses interest in production, and the abundance of things men live by shrinks. Hence, it is for the good of society that self-interest in the economic sphere be allowed to operate without hindrance.
But self-interest is not selfishness. Self-interest will impel the manufacturer to improve upon his output so as to attract trade, while selfishness will prompt him to seek the special privileges and state favor that in the end destroy the very system of economic freedom on which he depends. The worker who tries to improve his lot by rendering better service could hardly be called selfish; the description rather fits the worker who demands that he be paid for not working. The subsidy seeker is selfish, and so is every citizen who uses the law to enrich himself at the expense of other citizens.
THE FREE MARKET
Then there is the charge of “materialism.” Laissez-faire, of course, rests its case on abundance; if people want lots of things, the way to get them is through freedom of production and exchange. In that respect, it could be called “materialistic.” But, the laissez-faire economist as economist does not question or evaluate men's desires; he has no opinion on the “ought” or “should” of their aspirations. Whether they prefer culture to gadgets, or put a higher value on ostentation than on spiritual matters, is not his concern; the free market, he insists, is mechanistic and amoral. If one's preference is leisure, for instance, it is through abundance that his desire can be best satisfied; for an abundance of things makes them cheaper, easier to get, and thus one is enabled to indulge a liking for vacations. And a concert is probably better enjoyed by a well-fed aesthete than by a hungry one. At any rate, the economist refuses to pass judgment on men's preferences; whatever they want, they will get more of it out of a free market than one commandeered by policemen.
But the critics of the nineteenth century blithely passed over this point, even as modern socialists ignore it. They insisted on attaching moral content to the free economy; it is a philosophy, they asserted, that puts a premium on things, rather than on cultural and spiritual values. Its emphasis on abundance is materialistic and the ultimate outcome of a free economy is a society devoid of appreciation for the finer things in life.
In point of fact—while the free market is itself a mechanism neutral to values expressing men's desires, whatever they may be—the free market theory rests on the tacit acceptance of a purely spiritual concept, namely: that man is endowed with the capacity of making choices, with free will. If it were not for this purely human trait, there would be no marketplace, and human life would be akin to mat of the birds and the beasts. The economist of the laissez-faire school tries to skirt around this philosophical and theological point; yet if hard pressed he must admit that his entire argument is based on the axiom of free will, although he might call it something else. And that axiom certainly is not materialistic; any discussion of it leads ineluctably to a consideration of the soul.
By way of contrast, it is the socialist (whatever subspecies) who must begin his argument with a rejection of the idea of free will. His theory requires him to describe the individual as purely materialistic in composition. What is called free will, he must maintain, is a batch of reflexes to environmental conditioning. The choices a man makes, whether in the field of culture or material things, are determined by his training and the influences brought to bear on him. Hence, he cannot be held accountable for his behavior. The individual is putty out of which omnipotent government builds the good society, nothing else.
Returning to the defamation of individualism, another value-laden word that was, and still is, hurled at it is hedonism. (At least one modern writer, who maintains that a Christian cannot be an individualist, seems to be championing this nineteenth-century criticism.) The label stems from the fact that a number of self-styled individualists and disciples of Adam Smith associated themselves with an ethical creed known as utilitarianism; the most famous are Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, and John Stuart Mill. The basic tenet of this creed is that man is constitutionally driven to avoid pain and to seek pleasure. Hence, in the nature of things, the only morally good conduct is that which favors this pursuit. But, a problem of definition arises, since what is pleasure for a philosopher might be pain for the moron. Bentham, founder of the school, who was more interested in legislation than in philosophy, solved the problem nicely by drawing up a coarse calculus of pleasure; and then he enunciated a principle of legislation based on it: that is morally good which promotes the greatest good for the greatest number.
Coming from an avowed opponent of privilege and an advocate of limited government, this do-gooding doctrine is a strange anomaly. If the moral measure of legislation is the greatest good for the greatest number, it follows that the good of the minority, even a minority of one, is immoral. That would hardly accord with the basic tenet of individualism that man is endowed with rights which the majority may not tamper with. This contradiction bothered Mill (whose essay On Liberty is high dogma in the individualist's creed) no end; his doctrine of freedom of thought and expression was hardly consistent with the majoritarianism of Bentham. In this philosophic conflict, his loyalty to his father (Bentham's closest associate) and to Bentham won out, and in the event he was logically driven to a qualified endorsement of socialism. Without intending to, he demonstrated the incompatibility of utilitarianism and individualism.
If individualism is not what its detractors call it, what is it? That is a reasonable question to ask, but a more difficult one to answer, simply because as a pattern of thought it has engaged many minds over the ages, and has thus acquired a number of facets; philosophy knows no “party line.” Yet, it is possible and permissible to summarize in a single paragraph the principal tenets of individualism, or those which its modern votaries are in some agreement upon.
Metaphysically, individualism holds that the person is unique, not a sample of the mass, owing his peculiar composition and his allegiance to his Creator, not his environment. Because of his origin and existence, he is endowed with inalienable rights, which it is the duty of all others to respect, even as it is his duty to respect theirs; among these rights are life, liberty, and property. Following from this premise, society has no warrant for invading these rights, even under the pretext of improving his circumstances; and government can render him no service other than that of protecting him against his fellow man in the enjoyment of these rights. In the field of economics (with which libertarians are rightly concerned because it is there that government begins its infringement), the government has no competence; and the best it can do is to maintain a condition of order, so that the individual may carry on his business with the assurance that he will keep what he produces. That is all.
What Individualism Is Not - Frank Chodorov, Fugitive Essays: Selected Writings of Frank Chodorov 
Fugitive Essays: Selected Writings of Frank Chodorov, Compiled, Edited, and with an Introduction by Charles H. Hamilton (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1980).