Storming One's Own Palace

Mark Antony's speech in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" is not ironic. Irony would imply the speaker and the audience being aware of the fact that what is being said is not true. But Antony wants the audience, after Brutus has just convinced them of the justice of Caesar's murder, to believe that he thinks like Caesar's murderers. "Caesar was my friend. But Brutus is an honorable man!" Antony has promised not to take sides against Caesar's murderers – and he does not. He merely argues their position so weakly that it collapses. That, in turn, is no accident.

Only Nixon could go to China. Only social democrats can dismantle the welfare state. If education is the ability to question one's own view of the world, then its equivalent in action is the ability to storm one's own palace, i.e. the temporary or permanent ignoring of what gave one one's position in the first place, be it out of conviction or tactically. This is how you stay in power.

Written in December 2023 | Category: Film & Theater