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 Your Heroes

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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:39 pm

Respvblica wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
ibis wrote:
Well, I'd go Sulla and Themistocles, but that's what a classical education does to you.

I'd agree with you on the latter(except for when he shamefully medised at the end of his days) but Sulla? Lucius Proscription lists, blood on the streets, destroyer of the sacred pomoerium Cornelius Sulla?

My heroes would be, in no particular order;

Thomas Jefferson
Adam Smith
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Augustus Caesar
John D Rockefeller
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Wolfe Tone

As bloody dictators go I like Sulla - though "like" is probably not the right word. The way he just carried on the war with Mithradates for ten years, while being condemned by Rome as a traitor speaks volumes. A lessor man would have led his army back to finish off the civil war, but he fixed the external enemies in his sights first before dealing with the scumbags back in Rome. He also captured Jugurtha single handed "in his own camp" and came from an impoverished background. Apart from that he was too cruel to be on my list, though we should remember that as a supporter of the senate he was bound to get a bad press by the people who followed him like Julius Caesar and Augustus.

What appeals to me about him (in addition to those points) is that he remained loyal to the friends he made while impoverished, and that he stepped down as dictator after carrying out the reforms and purges he intended. I admire his ruthlessness, but I accept A-T's point that he was also cruel. He had integrity, did what he set out to do and then stopped. I don't, of course, have to admire everything about him uncritically - it would be hard to find anyone of whom that would be true.

Respvblica wrote:
Those folks you've got there AT are pretty top-notch as great people go, but I don't see them as being that heroic (well Tone and Cicero at the end were I suppose).

Cicero certainly not during his life - he was more than a little weak and vain, and tended as a result to blow about like a weathercock.

Respvblica wrote:
I think Martin Luther is a hero for doing what he did, and in our own country theres Michael Collins.

Michael Collins, certainly. Another ruthless man...


Last edited by ibis on Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:59 pm

Kev Bar wrote:
And Perhaps the Saint Patrick Heroism Award for the ongoing fight against Snake Oil Salesmen should go to:
Frightened Albanian

And like Saint Patrick Frightened Albanian's snakes never exitsed either?
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:05 pm

Nelson Mandela would also be in there. It's funny who you forget. His book really was something else.
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:08 am

Kev Bar wrote:
And Perhaps the Saint Patrick Heroism Award for the ongoing fight against Snake Oil Salesmen should go to:
Frightened Albanian

It is a honour to be thought of so highly by a great prose stylist like yourself
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:24 am

ibis wrote:
Respvblica wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
ibis wrote:
Well, I'd go Sulla and Themistocles, but that's what a classical education does to you.

I'd agree with you on the latter(except for when he shamefully medised at the end of his days) but Sulla? Lucius Proscription lists, blood on the streets, destroyer of the sacred pomoerium Cornelius Sulla?

My heroes would be, in no particular order;

Thomas Jefferson
Adam Smith
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Augustus Caesar
John D Rockefeller
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Wolfe Tone

As bloody dictators go I like Sulla - though "like" is probably not the right word. The way he just carried on the war with Mithradates for ten years, while being condemned by Rome as a traitor speaks volumes. A lessor man would have led his army back to finish off the civil war, but he fixed the external enemies in his sights first before dealing with the scumbags back in Rome. He also captured Jugurtha single handed "in his own camp" and came from an impoverished background. Apart from that he was too cruel to be on my list, though we should remember that as a supporter of the senate he was bound to get a bad press by the people who followed him like Julius Caesar and Augustus.

What appeals to me about him (in addition to those points) is that he remained loyal to the friends he made while impoverished, and that he stepped down as dictator after carrying out the reforms and purges he intended. I admire his ruthlessness, but I accept A-T's point that he was also cruel. He had integrity, did what he set out to do and then stopped. I don't, of course, have to admire everything about him uncritically - it would be hard to find anyone of whom that would be true.

Respvblica wrote:
Those folks you've got there AT are pretty top-notch as great people go, but I don't see them as being that heroic (well Tone and Cicero at the end were I suppose).

Cicero certainly not during his life - he was more than a little weak and vain, and tended as a result to blow about like a weathercock.
.

As it happens I'm not a fan of Cicero, but right at the end he did seem to show real courage in the face of impending monarchy. He spoke out and lost his head for it.
Putting your head on the line(as Collins did) may not be evidence of greatness, cleverness or even goodness, but it is heroic.
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:11 am

God all I know about cicero is from that HBO Rome series. He was a bit of a reactionary though wasn't he?

anyway, I'm fairly cynical about politicians and their motives and while they on a daily basis do many commendable and even admirable actions, I cannot quite bring myself to really admire any of them. I really cannot think of any exceptions off hand however there was a Wisconsin senator in the States who fought very hard to keep america out of WW1 and from the little I know of him he does seem an admirable kind of guy.

No I'll save my admiration for Pete Seeger. He'll be 90 in may and is truely remarkable. He has admitted when he was wrong, responded with courtesy to harsh criticisms of his beliefs as a young man and still performs on occasion. Did he play at the pre-inauguration concert yesteday?

Its amazing that someone who played for the troops in the south pacific in WW2 is still going, hopefully strong. Actually it blows my mind. He was writing topical songs before Dylan was born (imagine someone who wrote topical songs about the spanish civil war of FDR still performing, let alone still being alove) and hasn't succumbed to the bitterness that Dylan seems to have caught.
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:11 am

PS, the senators name is William L. La Follette
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:31 am

Respvblica wrote:
ibis wrote:
Respvblica wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
ibis wrote:
Well, I'd go Sulla and Themistocles, but that's what a classical education does to you.

I'd agree with you on the latter(except for when he shamefully medised at the end of his days) but Sulla? Lucius Proscription lists, blood on the streets, destroyer of the sacred pomoerium Cornelius Sulla?

My heroes would be, in no particular order;

Thomas Jefferson
Adam Smith
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Augustus Caesar
John D Rockefeller
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Wolfe Tone

As bloody dictators go I like Sulla - though "like" is probably not the right word. The way he just carried on the war with Mithradates for ten years, while being condemned by Rome as a traitor speaks volumes. A lessor man would have led his army back to finish off the civil war, but he fixed the external enemies in his sights first before dealing with the scumbags back in Rome. He also captured Jugurtha single handed "in his own camp" and came from an impoverished background. Apart from that he was too cruel to be on my list, though we should remember that as a supporter of the senate he was bound to get a bad press by the people who followed him like Julius Caesar and Augustus.

What appeals to me about him (in addition to those points) is that he remained loyal to the friends he made while impoverished, and that he stepped down as dictator after carrying out the reforms and purges he intended. I admire his ruthlessness, but I accept A-T's point that he was also cruel. He had integrity, did what he set out to do and then stopped. I don't, of course, have to admire everything about him uncritically - it would be hard to find anyone of whom that would be true.

Respvblica wrote:
Those folks you've got there AT are pretty top-notch as great people go, but I don't see them as being that heroic (well Tone and Cicero at the end were I suppose).

Cicero certainly not during his life - he was more than a little weak and vain, and tended as a result to blow about like a weathercock.
.

As it happens I'm not a fan of Cicero, but right at the end he did seem to show real courage in the face of impending monarchy. He spoke out and lost his head for it.
Putting your head on the line(as Collins did) may not be evidence of greatness, cleverness or even goodness, but it is heroic.

Well, my admiration for Collins would be based on a combination of traits I admire - he was ruthless and realistic in pursuit of his goals, faithful to his friends, an excellent organiser and strategist, immensely productive in respect of policy and practical administrative results even while being hunted by the authorities, and "signed" his own death warrant because he thought that was the right thing to do for Ireland. I mean, seriously,organising finance ministry capable of issuing a successful bond for an insurrectionary government while on the run, and while simultaneously organising a guerilla campaign, and arms smuggling operation, and a program of assassination?
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:53 pm

shutuplaura wrote:
God all I know about cicero is from that HBO Rome series. He was a bit of a reactionary though wasn't he?

Yes and no. If he was alive today he would fit in nicely into todays establishment. He had a similar line to Plato(although more realistic) in that people where on the whole a bit "thick" and needed good and informed clever men to run them. He also had this "gentlemanly" attitude to politics and thought the secret ballot, which the romans had brougt in a century beforehand, had degraded the system!? So he tended towards Sulla's party but had respect for the ancient office of Tribune(which had a veto to protect the plebs) which was unlike Sulla and so making him a bit of a political maverick.
Still he saw the real enemy of the republic as being from the populist party - those who pandered to the poor for their votes. And he was proved right. Men like Marius and Julius Caesar were the cancers that brought down the whole system leaving Augustus needing to set up a monarchical system(even if it was never official until about 300AD).
The great unknown in late republican politics was Clodius, who was using his powers as tribune to really make life better for the poor, within his "democratic" mandate and was on the verge of banning slavery seriously annoying the plutocrats. Pompey's and Crassus mafia got to him unfortunately.


Last edited by Respvblica on Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:15 pm

905 wrote:
I was actually thinking of this thread last night and Audi reminded me of it today.

Someone asked my who my hero was the other day and I flippantly replied Ruth Benedict, for no reason other than she was better looking than Margaret Mead. I don't have a hero; I regard it as a silly notion along the lines of the question, 'where do you see yourself in five year's time?'

But is it really expected of me? I've already been browbeaten into having a favourite band and a favourite novelist. So I ask, does anyone here, have a hero? Fictional or otherwise. And don't say that pilot in America.

I agree with your general comment on heroes, 509. Heroes are for zeroes ... but if I was forced to respond I'd have to say Ritchie Blackmore! Anything that can't be said with a Fender Strat ain't worth saying at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:00 am

ibis wrote:


What appeals to me about him (in addition to those points) is that he remained loyal to the friends he made while impoverished, and that he stepped down as dictator after carrying out the reforms and purges he intended. I admire his ruthlessness, but I accept A-T's point that he was also cruel. He had integrity, did what he set out to do and then stopped. I don't, of course, have to admire everything about him uncritically - it would be hard to find anyone of whom that would be true.

My issue with him is that he led an army against his own people, dis-respected the sacred boundary of Rome and injected a poisonous contagion into the Roman bodypolitik.

Quote :
Cicero certainly not during his life - he was more than a little weak and vain, and tended as a result to blow about like a weathercock.

Cicero, the man who faced down Gaius Verres, Sergius Catilina and bravely went to his death at the hands of the Second Triumvirate not heroic? I'm surprised of your assessment of him ibis. Cicero was a fine and upstanding statesman of his age.
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:33 am

I thought I'd explore some of the thinking which went into my choices...

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:


Thomas Jefferson

For his republican ideals, excellent presidency, foundation of the great United States alongside other Founding Fathers and his contribution to the Enlightment. I am honoured to share my birthday with him.

Quote :
Adam Smith

His contribution to economic, social and political thought has stood the test of time and has given us a broad platform upon which we can shape society. When taken together, Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations are an incredible road-map for any politician serious about making the world a better, freer, more sustainable world.

Quote :
Marcus Tullius Cicero

I am enthralled by Cicero's story of a person who has risen from obscure and modest backgrounds to the highest office in a world superpower with nothing but the power of his own voice and persuasion to carry him forward. Without army, money or family connections, Cicero did it by himself.

Quote :
Augustus Caesar

His long and strong reign over the Roman Empire was punctuated by a number of notable achievements: the establishment of a police and fire brigade, the regulation of taxation, the re-building of Rome, the establishment of Pax Romana and the expansion of the territories of the Empire in an orderly and sustainable way.

Quote :
John D Rockefeller

His grit, determination, organisation, tact and industrisl genius led him to become the first billionaire in human history and the richest man ever. His success is something from which we can all draw lessons and he is an example for us all.

Quote :
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

He pulled the US out of the Great Depression, established a welfare system in the United States and led the US to victory in the Pacific and was instrumental in giving Britain the necessary support to maintain its resistance against the evil Third Reich. He is the best POTUS of the 20th century.

Quote :
Wolfe Tone

He was a patriot, a proud Irishman and his fight for the people in Ireland is something for which we should be thankful. I also like the fact that he is a Protestant, so he could reach out and become a symbol for both dominant traditions in Ireland. Plus, he studied at Trinity - case closed! Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:44 am

There's a guy (who wouldn't like his name mentioned) who put his whole life on the line to represent a community activist group who wanted to get an injuction against a big organisation that was fucking them around. If they'd failed he'd never own a house or a car or anything that could be used to pay off the legal fees. His child would have been homeless but he thought it was worth it to make the stand.

On the morning of the hearing, the Big Guys organisation pulled back but he was there and ready to represent an entire community and carry all of the risk himself before anyone knew of the Big Guys' decision.

I met him once, in passing and he is the most gentle, modest and unassuming person I've ever met but with a core of steel.

He's an ordinary guy, who found himself in an extraordinary situation and exhibited real heroism, grace under pressure. And the pressure was tremendous, not only on him but on his entire devastated community which I think will take a long time to recover from the trauma of what was almost visited on them.

I think of him every single day and he reminds me, whether he likes it or not, that we are here to make a difference in whatever way we can. He makes me want to be a better person.
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:14 am

Respvblica wrote:
shutuplaura wrote:
God all I know about cicero is from that HBO Rome series. He was a bit of a reactionary though wasn't he?

Yes and no. If he was alive today he would fit in nicely into todays establishment. He had a similar line to Plato(although more realistic) in that people where on the whole a bit "thick" and needed good and informed clever men to run them. He also had this "gentlemanly" attitude to politics and thought the secret ballot, which the romans had brougt in a century beforehand, had degraded the system!? So he tended towards Sulla's party but had respect for the ancient office of Tribune(which had a veto to protect the plebs) which was unlike Sulla and so making him a bit of a political maverick.
Still he saw the real enemy of the republic as being from the populist party - those who pandered to the poor for their votes. And he was proved right. Men like Marius and Julius Caesar were the cancers that brought down the whole system leaving Augustus needing to set up a monarchical system(even if it was never official until about 300AD).
The great unknown in late republican politics was Clodius, who was using his powers as tribune to really make life better for the poor, within his "democratic" mandate and was on the verge of banning slavery seriously annoying the plutocrats. Pompey's and Crassus mafia got to him unfortunately.

I really don't know enough about this to argue intelligently however the populist party could be seen as genuine reformers who were hated for eroding aristocratic privledge?

What could be called pandering could also be said to be an attempt to create a genuinely mor eegalitarian society - eg Catiline who promoted debt relief for the poor but according to enemiy propagandists wanted to make himself king. I once read a book called Why Caeser was assasinated or something, I can only remember bits and pieces but that was the central thrust. The author was quite scathing in this criticism of Cato and Cicero.
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:15 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
ibis wrote:


What appeals to me about him (in addition to those points) is that he remained loyal to the friends he made while impoverished, and that he stepped down as dictator after carrying out the reforms and purges he intended. I admire his ruthlessness, but I accept A-T's point that he was also cruel. He had integrity, did what he set out to do and then stopped. I don't, of course, have to admire everything about him uncritically - it would be hard to find anyone of whom that would be true.

My issue with him is that he led an army against his own people, dis-respected the sacred boundary of Rome and injected a poisonous contagion into the Roman bodypolitik.

The first two, of course, I can't argue - the last, I think, is arguable. I think if it had not been Sulla, it would have been someone else, because the problem was structural rather than Sulla being the anomaly. The route to political power was military success - once the legions spent years away from Italy under the personal command of the ambitious, it was only a matter of time. Sulla's reforms, had they been retained, might have prevented further disintegration of the Republic.

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Quote :
Cicero certainly not during his life - he was more than a little weak and vain, and tended as a result to blow about like a weathercock.

Cicero, the man who faced down Gaius Verres, Sergius Catilina and bravely went to his death at the hands of the Second Triumvirate not heroic? I'm surprised of your assessment of him ibis. Cicero was a fine and upstanding statesman of his age.

I would say he was something of a parson's egg - I would almost say that his vanity often led him to take public stands which to his courage was not always equal.
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PostSubject: Re: Your Heroes   Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:16 am

Kate P wrote:
There's a guy (who wouldn't like his name mentioned) who put his whole life on the line to represent a community activist group who wanted to get an injuction against a big organisation that was fucking them around. If they'd failed he'd never own a house or a car or anything that could be used to pay off the legal fees. His child would have been homeless but he thought it was worth it to make the stand.

On the morning of the hearing, the Big Guys organisation pulled back but he was there and ready to represent an entire community and carry all of the risk himself before anyone knew of the Big Guys' decision.

I met him once, in passing and he is the most gentle, modest and unassuming person I've ever met but with a core of steel.

He's an ordinary guy, who found himself in an extraordinary situation and exhibited real heroism, grace under pressure. And the pressure was tremendous, not only on him but on his entire devastated community which I think will take a long time to recover from the trauma of what was almost visited on them.

I think of him every single day and he reminds me, whether he likes it or not, that we are here to make a difference in whatever way we can. He makes me want to be a better person.

Moral courage - probably the principle and wellspring of virtue.
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