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The Apostles had many doubts. One yearned to place his hand within the wound so as to believe. One denied Him three times when He most needed aid. They were often thick, too worried, lacking confidence. But they also saw the dead rise from dirt floors; a roof torn away, a suffering body lowered to Him, the sick man, healed, walk out the door; the astonishment of the loaves and fishes; the final day and the last hour on Golgotha. They had reason to trust. Their faith was based on acts they had witnessed.

Not so for the apostles of all the Caesars down through time, all the rulers who said their word alone was law. Those apostles will believe because they must believe because they will believe. They live within a tautology. Caesar can never be wrong. Only the world can be wrong because their current Caesar lives beyond the world, unfettered by fact, sailing above the common gravity of cause and effect, of law, of moral force. His* word is truth because he proclaims it as such: “This is true. I say it is true. It must be true. I said it was true.”

For those who believe, there can be no doubt. Only enemies doubt. Only enemies cultivate the disloyalty of autonomy. Only enemies are hypocrites and liars and thus always duplicitous.

Just so, Caesar can never be a hypocrite. For him, there is no hypocrisy. He cannot lie because he determines truth. He alone knows its slippery, malleable nature. He_knows. For him, there is only the conspiracy of the unbelievers, the stealth of the treacherous, and always, always the welcome embrace of the ones who will never doubt.

Those who swear by Caesar also cannot be hypocrites for Caesar has changed the world by being in the world. The old rules no longer apply. He has made a new way of seeing and thus of thinking. What appears to be real is not real until he says it is real. If he mocks its appearance, if he dismisses it, then it cannot be real. His refutation denies its truth. He alone is the master of what is real.

He is forever different from the others who have come before, the defective Kings, because he alone possesses the gift of close-held wisdom, the discerning ‘gut’, the authentic eye, and thus the authentic voice, and for those gifts he will be attacked, mercilessly and unjustly, again and again, every day.

In response, he will break the law to serve his purpose. He will make use of many types of communication to obscure what is real, to set up lies as truth, to polish his icon, to appear as both a victim and vigorous, as one under assault and also able to brawl. He wants both sympathy and respect, and so the converts to Caesar will fill him up, as if he were a chalice, with their daydreams and faith, resentments and long repressed appetites for vengeance. He can be the instrument that will articulate for them their desires, then fulfill those desires and redeem their lives and strike back at their enemies. Their duty will be to embrace his practice of cruelty in the form of either state violence or law … and then call it morality, call it justice, praise it as righteous.

In the worst of cases, he will call upon his followers to come forth, to raise up their devotees, their hard men, their little Beria’s and Heydrich’s, their brand new Pravdas and Goebbels, the creators of artful lies. In the worst of cases, he will release them to do his bidding, to make his dream real, so that it might sweep aside all those others who impede the fabrication of the New New World, for the makers of such a World ultimately want punishment for all those who dwell in unbelief and dare to speak. They want the return of retribution for heresy. They want politics to be theological. They want their Caesar to be one of the anointed.

Caesars destroy. That is their ultimate purpose and legacy. Once they acquire power, they move to implement their megalomaniacal vision of what must change. Megalomania is absolute certainty brought into a sharp, circumscribed focus. It admits no complexity. It disdains nuance. It sweeps all misgivings away. Their plans are perfect. They will produce a paradise on earth.

All Caesars are essential Marxists and utopians and fantasists — their historical vision will come to pass. They will restore the earthly heaven which their followers once knew or have seen ahead of them. All Caesars live in the future tense.

However, if their plans produce suffering, it is only temporary suffering for the Zion of his creation is coming. If they create disasters, others are at fault — incompetents, enemies, ‘wreckers’, Jews, the poor, Kulaks, Sunnis or Shiites, Catholics or Huguenots, even Christians on the floor of the Colosseum deafened by the crowd’s bloodlust, foreigners and the ‘barbarians’ of every other color, of every other flag. Caesar stands above all in his immunity from fault.

Caesars always move toward acquiring and consolidating more power. It is their nature to do so. The equation is simple: the more power they can exercise, the less power available to those who might be able to block their plans. They cannot be anything but anti-democratic.

Finally, Caesars compel everyone to choose. One must support or resist. The middle ground where one might passively do nothing is removed shovelful by shovelful by the conflicts Caesars create and by the chaos and damage they cause until there is no place to stand except in back of them or opposing them. Those who make the decision to support them, especially once those Caesars have revealed their characters and desires, bear responsibility for the ruins and misery they leave in their wake. They can never say, “I did not know.”

*Caesars are almost always men for all the reasons you already know (although democratic Thatcher got through somehow, and fascist Eva Peron).

© Mike Wall

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