Your RDA of Irony

The Ineffectual Liberals’ Hall of Fame

Alas, on this day in 363, Julian the Apostate was killed.  Ruling the Roman Empire from 361 to 363, Julian was the last pagan emperor and the first management consultant.

Since 312, the Empire had been operating on a new managerial system called Christianity. The prototype of Total Quality Management, Christianity provided the benefits of monotheism without circumcision. It also offered eternal retirement benefits, which proved very popular among the meek. Constantine imagined that Christianity would be a cohesive and subservient force for the government. Instead, the Christian sects were fighting each other when they weren’t persecuting everyone else. Christianity certainly did not discourage fraticide in the Imperial family. Constantine’s sons killed each other off, leaving the throne to cousin Julian. Having barely survived the carnage, he was not impressed with Christianity. To save the Empire, Julian tried to reinvent Paganism.But as a graduate of the best schools in the Empire, Julian felt that Paganism needed intellectual dignity: fewer orgies, more seminars. So the Emperor preached Neo-Platonism, a unique combination of philosophy and animal sacrifices. His religion would appeal to the masses’ minds rather than to their fears and hopes.His approach certainly had cerebral appeal. Pagans had fun, Christians had solace but Neoplatonists had metaphysics. There weren’t many converts. The Christians resented Julian, while the pagans were just bewildered. (The Jews liked him because he wasn’t persecuting them.)

Unfortunately, Julian did not have a chance to promote his metaphysical, synergized paradigm. While leading the Roman army against Persia, he was killed in battle. We still don’t know by which side.

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