Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Obama is not Xerxes

I try to avoid general political issues here, since that's not the topic of this blog, but some doofus named Christopher Cook has issued a call to arms against liberals and stinky evil people based on what appears to be too many hours spent watching 300.

Some choice comments:

These Greek city-states are showing the first stirrings of real democratic governance. A much greater percentage of people in Greece enjoy true freedom than in any of the neighboring lands. And it is about to fall under the yoke of a dictatorship.

What happens if Leonides fails? Does the Grecian experiment in democracy fail too, as Greece is trampled under by Xerxes and his army of slaves?

If the Greek cradle of democracy had fallen, Rome would not have absorbed its ideals.

If Rome hadn't taken those ideals and spread them into the Western world, where would those ideals be today? How far along would the ideas of representative governance be?

Without the Roman example, what would Great Britain have become? Would she have produced the Magna Carta? Would she have produced us, or any of the other nations of the Anglosphere—the freest nations in human history?
As I noted in my review here, Sparta is about the last place you would look for the foundations of modern liberal democracy. With a strict hierarchy of classes based on birth, slavery for most of the population, militarism, religious superstition, lack of interest in the outside world, and no scientific achievements to speak of, Sparta was the wart on the backside of Greek civilization. Not to mention that if Xerxes' invasion had succeeded, the effect on Roman political development would have been minimal, since Rome became a Republic in 509 B.C. (or thereabouts; that is the conventional date), nearly 30 years before Thermopylae.


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