Czar means Caesar … as in Julius

CzarI’ve had enough! I can’t take it any more and that means it’s time for a rant blog!

President Obama is planning on appointing an Ebola Czar. Ahhhh!!!!!

This is not a political rant. This is not a medical rant. This is a history rant! So buckle your seat belts.

The United States is a representative republic. When the Founding Fathers joined together to form a more perfect union they looked to the past. They looked to the governments of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. They did not look to dynastic and imperialist Russia. They did not look to Julius Caesar who presided over the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire. That’s what Czar means. It’s a corruption of the word Caesar.

I’m a big fan of Julius Caesar. I suspect he wanted the Republic to continue but circumstances were beyond his control. The reality remains that his actions led to the end of the Roman Republic to which we owe much of our own governmental organization. The United States Senate is named directly for the governing body of Rome. The President serves a limited term as did the Roman Consuls (there were two who, in theory, provided checks and balances to one another).

I find the desire for the name Czar to be misguided love for the idea of unadulterated power. That’s what a Czar represents. Absolute power. It is strongly reminiscent of the absolute power of Imperial Russia. A state of affairs in which millions of people suffered horrendously. A state of government so awful that Communism was born from its excesses. That’s bad, my friends. Really bad.

For some reason people have a fondness for tough talking leaders who sound like they know exactly how to solve every problem. They don’t. And most likely they are actually morons. Anyone intelligent knows that the world is a tricky place and there are rarely simple and profound solutions. Beware the person who tells you he or she has all the answers and that the other person is dead wrong. They want something from you.

As I read articles about Vladimir Putin I see people admiring his autocratic rule. I see a creeping fondness for tough talk and a my way or the highway attitude rather than someone who builds coalitions and vets ideas.

The gravest danger to any Republic is its own people. I do not like the name Czar. I do not like the abject fear-mongering that has become our political system. It’s leading us down a dark and dangerous path. Our politicians act more like Czars every day (both sides so I don’t want to hear about how awful one side or the other is in this matter). I have no problem with the idea of a someone to lead a team. There is always going to be a person in charge but it’s important to keep the power of that person under wraps. The voice of dissent must be allowed to speak. A Czar brooks no argument. A Czar commands and the people do or are killed for disobeying.

If President Obama or any future president sees a particularly difficult issue and wants to appoint someone to lead the effort to overcome such a challenge, so be it. Just don’t call that person a Czar. I’m sick of it! Sick, I tell you.

Rant over, resume your normal lives.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery Fantasy with a Libertarian Edge
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