Author Archive for aszente

Revilo Oliver: The White Supremacist Within

Since 2017, Pharos has documented many examples of hate groups appropriating ancient Greece and Rome in support of their politics. Our articles may give the impression that it is only outsiders to the discipline of Classics who enlist that history in support of hate. But today we turn to a Classics professor who actively promoted anti-Semitism and became an influential figure to an entire generation of white supremacists in the United States: Revilo Oliver, who spent thirty years as a professor of Classics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and who, besides lending his prestige as a professor of Classics to white nationalist causes, often invoked Classical antiquity to legitimize his views. Oliver died in 1994 but remains a respected figure in anti-Semitic circles and a warning against assuming that white supremacy is only to be found “outside” of the professional field of Classics.
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Roman Persecution of Christians used to legitimize Homophobic Victim Mentality

The Alliance Defending Freedom is an American non-profit organization that, under the guise of promoting and protecting “religious freedom“, opposes gender equality, promotes homophobia and transphobia, and works to restrict or reduce the civil and legal rights of gay people. The SPLC has categorized them as a hate group for “supporting the recriminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. and criminalization abroad;” “defend[ing] state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad;” “link[ing] homosexuality to pedophilia and claim[ing] that a ‘homosexual agenda’ will destroy Christianity and society.” ADF is one of the most influential Christian advocacy groups in the United States: it has been invited to events sponsored by President Trump’s white househas allies at all levels of government, and has won numerous cases in the United States Supreme Court. These cases include a ruling that allowed a Colorado cake-maker to discriminate against gay people and another that allowed corporations to refuse to provide insurance coverage for contraception. In these fights ADF presents itself as a bulwark against an oppressive and immoral government and culture, and one of the ways it does this is through comparisons between 21st century Christians in America and early Christians who were persecuted under the Roman Empire.

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Militia Group Warns of the Roman “Path to Ruin”

In May 2019, Pennsylvania state representative Stephanie Borowicz drew criticism for posing for a photograph with a member of the militia group “American Guard” at a rally. Such reports of elected officials having ties to white supremacy or granting influence to members of hate groups seem to be increasingly common. When the report of Rep. Borowicz’s selfie came across our desk Pharos looked into American Guard and found not only hateful politics, but references to classical antiquity as well.

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Cato the Elder Endorsing Misogyny in Online Forums

Cato the Elder was a Roman senator who is usually remembered as the preeminent advocate for traditional values in ancient Rome. He is best known for ending many of his speeches in the senate by saying “Furthermore, Carthage must be destroyed,” even if he had been speaking on a different topic, as a way of pressing for further military action against Carthage following that city’s defeat in the Second Punic War. Several other sayings attributed to Cato have survived, two of which are favorites in online misogynist communities such as those that Donna Zuckerberg has described in her book Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age. One quoted in Plutarch’s Life of Cato criticizes Romans for their supposed subservience to women: “All mankind rules its women, and we rule all mankind, but our women rule us.” In another, quoted from Livy’s history of Rome, Cato calls woman “a violent and uncontrolled animal.”

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Nixon Claims Homosexuality Destroyed Greece, Rome … and America?

Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the United States (1969 – 74), is primarily remembered for the Watergate scandal. During the congressional investigation that led to Nixon’s resignation, more than 3,000 hours of recorded conversations between Nixon and his advisors came to light. Within the small percentage of these recordings that have been studied, the President invokes Greco-Roman antiquity twice in support of the homophobic claim that “homosexuality destroyed” both Greece and Rome. What may seem at first a laughably ignorant view of ancient history looks different when one realizes that these tapes show one of the most powerful men of his time echoing the views of white supremacists.

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White Supremacist takes Inspiration from Ancient Eugenics

Guillaume Durocher has contributed articles that invoke classical antiquity to several white supremacist sites that Pharos has documented, including American Renaissance and Counter-CurrentsHe has also written more than one hundred pieces for The Occidental Observer, a site focused on “themes of white identity, white interests, and the culture of the West.” One of these, entitled “Biopolitics, Racialism, and Nationalism in Ancient Greece: A Summary View”, argues that we should imitate ancient eugenic practices so that “our race and civilization may forever flourish” and “Civil War II” may be avoided in the United States. Like many historically-minded racists who enlist the classical past in support of their politics, Durocher cloaks this hateful message beneath a superficially attractive but ultimately uncritical message that we should be “inspired by the Hellenic experience.”

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