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Comparisons with Caligula

By       Message Eric Newcomb     Permalink
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* — All information on Caligula is from Wikipedia — use of quotes and information on this page may not be representative of those held by Wikipedia or anyone other than myself.



George Bush is sometimes compared to Adolf Hitler by those looking to describe what they percieve as evil. Being a student of history, I am forced to disagree. I believe that our President is more in keeping with the likes of Caligula.

I know, this may seem a far-fetched thought. But after all, Wikipedia reports of Caligula:

  • He also named his horse, Incitatus, as a priest and gave it a house to reside in, complete with a marble stable, golden manger, and jeweled necklaces; and he later spoke of appointing it Consul to the Senate.

And our President did appoint Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzalez to their respective positions. I know, neither can be seen as a whole horse, but it’s close enough.

Mr. Bush has also been known to ignore the individual’s right to freedom of speech. As evidence of this, I recall Mr. Bush stating in the early days of the Iraq War that anyone who did not support him was betraying the American people. In a similar vein, Caligula is said to have cried “I wish the Roman people had but a single neck” when an arena crowd applauded a faction he opposed. In addition, people have been forced to leave government-sponsored events as well as private businesses for nothing more dangerous than wearing a T-shirt expressing their dislike of the President. Caligula made it a crime to look down on him from above.

Caligula also threw in spectators when he ran out of lions and tigers in the arena. This is not unlike the extraordinary rendition policy used by George on pretty much anyone he decides is an “enemy combatant.” And when the Administration is confronted about its rendition policy, we are told there are no prisoners other than actual enemy combatants. This is much like Caligula’s behavior regarding executed prisoners, which, according to Wikipedia, was:

  • … he “often sent for men whom he had secretly killed, as though they were still alive, and remarked off-handedly a few days later that they must have committed suicide”.

One last direct quote from Wikipedia:

  • In essence, Caligula sought to take the Principate to its next logical step: a divine monarchy; however, the complexities of Roman society and Roman politics demanded that the facade of the “first-citizen” be continued.

Do I really have to elaborate on that one?


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I am an anthropologist and an activist, concentrating my efforts in the areas of free speech, creative freedom, religious freedom and political accountability. I am also a writer of satirical sociopolitical commentary, as well as a husband and (more...)

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Comparisons with Caligula