I woke up this morning to watch the news and see a couple of confederate statues being removed in Houston. My heart dropped. I cannot help but feel that our nation will regret this. The defacement of statues is a sign of a society in decline, that is what we see from defaced statues in ancient Greece and Rome.
The whole issue is so obscured with irrational thinking, that I will simply leave you with a few thoughts that I got from reading ancient history books like, Herodotus, Thucydides, Levi, Plutarch, and a more recent one, “The Medici”. Here is a summary of my thoughts about the ancient past, the recent past, and our current time.
- The ancients saw warfare as a natural part of life. There is good and there is evil in this world, and the only way to find the right was to fight it out. Despite the advancements in technology, I do not think that people have changed inherently from this view.
- Around 600 BC there was a famous politician in Athens, Greece called Solon. He wrote a very famous Constitution for the city of Athens. Aristotle wrote a book about it called The Constitution of Athens. In this constitution, Solon says that when there is a civil war, every citizen must take a definite side. When the civil war is over, those on the losing side will be pardoned; and those who took no side will be executed.
- People may be shocked to know that one of the main reasons for the Texas revolution (1835) against Mexico is slavery. Mexico had banned slavery and the Anglos wanted it. Yet, the Alamo was fought for freedom? What is next? Are we going to eradicate anything relating to Sam Houston? What about Travis, Bowie, Crockett, Fannin, and Milam? Are we going to get rid of their memory too?
- This COVID crises has forced me to study biology and the science behind viruses. A virus is nothing more than DNA material that looks for a victim from whom it can steal DNA, only to make more viruses. The virus does not contribute to the victim, and will cause death if not defeated. The body thereby creates antibodies whose job it is is to neutralize viruses and stop them from spreading, and ultimately the virus is destroyed.
What I have found out is that life is warfare at the most fundamental level: good DNA against bad DNA, good cells against bad cells, good people against bad people, and good countries against bad countries. Why should we castigate people, who lived hundreds of years ago, who threw their hat in the ring to fight and determine what is the right? I think Solon had it correct.
I will close this subject now with a few lines from the movie, “The Wind and The Lion” (1975). Here Theodore Roosevelt is talking to his daughter, Alice, about an Arab pirate he is fighting in northern Africa, Raisuli.
Roosevelt: J.P. Morgan, he is the only other real pirate I know.
Alice: I hope you have him brought before you in chains.
Roosevelt: J.P. Morgan? I should hardly think . . . .
Alice: No No No, Raisuli, have Raisuli brought before you. I should like to see that.
Roosevelt: I would like to see him too but not the chains.
Alice: You like him don’t you father. You like J.P. Morgan too, don’t you?
Roosevelt: Of course I do Alice.
Alice: But they are your enemies.
Roosevelt: Sometimes, one finds that your enemies are a lot more admirable than your friends. You pick the Road To Greatness, and you will have that choice someday, you come to realize that the road traveled by great men is dark and lonely, lit only in intervals by other great men, and sometimes they are your enemies. But they are the only true luxury you have. Yes, it is a dark and difficult road, and I do not look down on anyone who has the good sense not to take it.