Monday, August 05, 2013

Our World Needs Boats Full of Tough Greeks in Narrow Waters

I had a long chat with a pal living in Canada.  We talked bout everything from Leo High School to Libya, Chicago to Cairo, and DC to Moscow. We agree that neither of us could have imagined the condition of our planet today, controlled as it is by bullies and grifters. Chicago's Mayors ( Daley & Rahn) refuse to hire more police officers, but will gladly hand one million dollars over to wife-beating gang-banging pensioners to combat spiking homicides, rather than support cops sued for doing their jobs.   Putin gives asylum to a traitor and bullies our President six ways to Sunday all the while luring his victim into committing ground troops to Syria according to Putin's time table.

My friend asked me " How can you continue to live in the most corrupt city in America?"  I love it here.  Sure,  there is an astounding set of policies and those who support those dictates that ignore the murders by decrying despair as merely 'gun violence.' Sure, there are friends of mine who continue to devoutly believe that President Obama  is working to help the American Middle Class by doing everything in his power to obliterate it.  Sure, people who want my continued vote listen more carefully to Planned Parenthood PACs than people. Those folks 'evolved.' However, these are my people.  I am no stranger to bad choices, but with time, prayer and attention to circumstances have managed to defeat despair.  Likewise my evolved neighbors and friends.

 This Evolved Sensibility tells them that sticking with social sciences is the only sure means to alter chemistry, biology. physics, economics, and theology.  History is diminished.  Literature is deconstructed. Faith? Meh! Therefore, President Obama makes more sense to the evolved, who can parse away abortion and procreation, than history and common sense.

President Obama 'restored' America's standing in the world to pre-War of 1812 heights: thirty American embassies are closed only a three years after what cynical gents like me called his World Apology Tour.  Catholics for Obama helped HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebillius make war on religion by calling it Health Care.

We are yet a free people.  The world has always had bullies and grifters.  If we read history we know this and try to live accordingly.

Iran is a threat to world peace and so North Korea and so is Al Queda and so is Planned Parenhood and so is Vlad Putin and so is . . .Iran was called Persia up until the 1960's.

At one time a piece of work by the name of Xerxes hand whole world in his hands. Xerxes was a one man European Union.  There were Greeks for Xerxes who wanted a share in his New World Order that rolled over Babylon (Iraq), Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia ( Dafur & etc.) and most of Greece.

Xerxes armies slaughtered the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae only after only losing twenty thousand souls.  Xerxes how ever was a master of soaring rhetoric and political theater.  He ordered the burial of the twenty score thousand Persian dead, cut the head of Spartan King Leonidas from its corpse and left the rotting bodies of the Greek slain in the pass they had defended and encouraged Organizing for Persia to conduct tours of the battlefield for the more timid Greek populations.

Most Greeks did not buy the cam into the Persian media campaign and understood that a few tough Greeks could make a difference.    They abandoned Athens to Xerxes and went to across the pond to Salamis.  Should they fight, or flee,  or evolve?

When the commanders had assembled at Salamis from the States which have been mentioned, they began to deliberate, Eurybiades having proposed that any one who desired it should declare his opinion as to where he thought it most convenient to fight a sea-battle in those regions of which they had command; for Attica had already been let go, and he was now proposing the question about the other regions. And the opinions of the speakers for the most part agreed that they should sail to the Isthmus and there fight a sea-battle in defence of the Peloponnese, arguing that if they should be defeated in the sea-battle, supposing them to be at Salamis they would be blockaded in an island, where no help would come to them, but at the Isthmus they would be able to land where their own men were.
50. While the commanders from the Peloponnese argued thus, an Athenian had come in reporting that the Barbarians were arrived in Attica and that all the land was being laid waste with fire. For the army which directed its march through Boeotia in company with Xerxes, after it had burnt the city of the Thespians (the inhabitants having left it and gone to the Peloponnese) and that of the Plataians likewise, had now come to Athens and was laying waste everything in those regions. Now he had burnt Thespiai 3101 and Plataia because he was informed by the Thebans that these were not taking the side of the Medes.
51. So in three months from the crossing of the Hellespont, whence the Barbarians began their march, after having stayed there one month while they crossed over into Europe, they had reached Attica, in the year when Calliades was archon of the Athenians. And they took the lower city, which was deserted, and then they found that there were still a few Athenians left in the temple, either stewards of the temple or needy persons, who had barred the entrance to the Acropolis with doors and with a palisade of timber and endeavoured to defend themselves against the attacks of the enemy, being men who had not gone out to Salamis partly because of their poverty, and also because they thought that they alone had discovered the meaning of the oracle which the Pythian prophetess had uttered to them, namely that the "bulwark of wood" should be impregnable, and supposed that this was in fact the safe refuge according to the oracle, and not the ships.
52. So the Persians taking their post upon the rising ground opposite the Acropolis, which the Athenians call the Hill of Ares, 32 proceeded to besiege them in this fashion, that is they put tow round about their arrows and lighted it, and then shot them against the palisade. The Athenians who were besieged continued to defend themselves nevertheless, although they had come to the extremity of distress and their palisade had played them false; nor would they accept proposals for surrender, when the sons of Peisistratos brought them forward: but endeavouring to defend themselves they contrived several contrivances against the enemy, and among the rest they rolled down large stones when the Barbarians approached the gates; so that for a long time Xerxes was in a difficulty, not being able to capture them.

The Athenian Themistocles was like an old timey big city Tammany Hall politician who could toss bribes with the best of them in order to stop Xerxes.  He was surrounded by thoughtful, safe, considerate somewhat evolved community activists and elected officials who wanted to go along to get along retain their interests.  Themistocles understood that most people are blinded by self-interest, ignorance and timidity - who am I to say? types.

Themistocles heard them out -

So when they were gathered together, before Eurybiades proposed the discussion of the things for which he had assembled the commanders, Themistocles spoke with much vehemence 36 being very eager to gain his end; and as he was speaking, the Corinthian commander, Adeimantos the son of Okytos, said: "Themistocles, at the games those who stand forth for the contest before the due time are beaten with rods." He justifying himself said: "Yes, but those who remain behind are not crowned."
Themistocles went all NPR for a while -

60. At that time he made answer mildly to the Corinthian; and to Eurybiades he said not now any of those things which he had said before, to the effect that if they should set sail from Salamis they would disperse in different directions; for it was not seemly for him to bring charges against the allies in their presence: but he held to another way of reasoning, saying: "Now it is in thy power to save Hellas, if thou wilt follow my advice, which is to stay here and here to fight a sea-battle, and if thou wilt not follow the advice of those among these men who bid thee remove the ships to the Isthmus. For hear both ways, and then set them in comparison. If thou engage battle at the Isthmus, thou wilt fight in an open sea, into which it is by no means convenient for us that we go to fight, seeing that we have ships which are heavier and fewer in number than those of the enemy. Then secondly thou wilt give up to destruction Salamis and Megara and Egina, even if we have success in all else; for with their fleet will come also the land-army, and thus thou wilt thyself lead them to the Peloponnese and wilt risk the safety of all Hellas. If however thou shalt do as I say, thou wilt find therein all the advantages which I shall tell thee of:—in the first place by engaging in a narrow place with few ships against many, if the fighting has that issue which it is reasonable to expect, we shall have very much the better; for to fight a sea-fight in a narrow space is for our advantage, but to fight in a wide open space is for theirs. Then again Salamis will be preserved, whither our children and our wives have been removed for safety; and moreover there is this also secured thereby, to which ye are most of all attached, namely that by remaining here thou wilt fight in defence of the Peloponnese as much as if the fight were at the Isthmus; and thou wilt not lead the enemy to Peloponnese, if thou art wise. Then if that which I expect come to pass and we gain a victory with our ships, the Barbarians will not come to you at the Isthmus nor will they advance further than Attica, but they will retire in disorder; and we shall be the gainers by the preservation of Megara and Egina and Salamis, at which place too an oracle tells us that we shall get the victory over our enemies. 37 Now when men take counsel reasonably for themselves, reasonable issues are wont as a rule to come, but if they do not take counsel reasonably, then God is not wont generally to attach himself to the judgment of men."

Still no good -  he went all Mark Steyn on the lads -
61. When Themistocles thus spoke, the Corinthian Adeimantos inveighed against him for the second time, bidding him to be silent because he had no native land, and urging Eurybiades not to put to the vote the proposal of one who was a citizen of no city; for he said that Themistocles might bring opinions before the council if he could show a city belonging to him, but otherwise not. This objection he made against him because Athens had been taken and was held by the enemy. Then Themistocles said many evil things of him and of the Corinthians both, and declared also that he himself and his countrymen had in truth a city and a land larger than that of the Corinthians, so long as they had two hundred ships fully manned; for none of the Hellenes would be able to repel the Athenians if they came to fight against them.
Finally, Themistocles unloaded common sense on the waxed-up ears of the timid -

62. Signifying this he turned then to Eurybiades and spoke yet more urgently: "If thou wilt remain here, and remaining here wilt show thyself a good man, well; but if not, thou wilt bring about the overthrow of Hellas, for upon the ships depends all our power in the war. Nay, but do as I advise. If, however, thou shalt not do so, we shall forthwith take up our households and voyage to Siris in Italy, which is ours already of old and the oracles say that it is destined to be colonised by us; and ye, when ye are left alone and deprived of allies such as we are, will remember my words."
63. When Themistocles thus spoke, Eurybiades was persuaded to change his mind; and, as I think, he changed his mind chiefly from fear lest the Athenians should depart and leave them, if he should take the ships to the Isthmus; for if the Athenians left them and departed, the rest would be no longer able to fight with the enemy. He chose then this counsel, to stay in that place and decide matters there by a sea-fight.

Xerxes outnumbered the Greek Fleet by three to one.  Xerxes' fleet was smashed. The bully retreated.

Our Canadian/Chicago phone chat included a very poor redaction of my reading of Herodatus.  The guy on the other side of the wireless network is a very smart man and understood what I was trying to say about our world seemingly controlled by pagans, narcissists, bullies, incompetents and grifters - Now when men take counsel reasonably for themselves, reasonable issues are wont as a rule to come, but if they do not take counsel reasonably, then God is not wont generally to attach himself to the judgment of men."

God helps boat loads of tough Greeks in narrow waters.

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