I know from history the evils that nationalistic fervour can produce. It can cause good men to allow horrible atrocities to occur. The saying goes, all that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing, and nothing persuades good men to do nothing quite so strongly as nationalism.
But I watch a movie like 300 hundred and I am overawed by the power of it. You can feel their love for their country like a palpable thing, they literally can think of nothing greater than dying for it. It is a humbling thing. These Men, and they are not men but Men are amazing to watch.
Were the real Spartans like that? If anything, probably less cuddly. The story itself might not be true, of that I have no idea (but I doubt there was a giant fat man with swords for arms in the host of Xerxes), but much of the story is drawn from history. The Spartans really did kill any child they thought was misshapen or weakly, and the child rearing was much like was shown. If anything, less pleasant. It produced some of the strongest, most fearless warriors the world has ever seen who were utterly devoted to upholding their city state.
I think, just once, I would like to feel love like that. Such overwhelming pride. But not just feel it, feel it with reason. Every Spartan walked through hell to be ready to defend their country, and the lengths they went to – they had a right to feel pride. There is nationalism today, but it is based more on stupidity and brainwashing than anything to be really proud about.
Hell, maybe it was the same then, I don’t know. All I know is watching that movie makes me yearn to feel what they feel, instead of the shame I feel when I look at my own country and the decisions it is making, following the American culture in its decadent downward spiral into oblivion.
If you havn’t seen it, and you’re not squeamish at the sight of a little (lot) of blood, go see it. The battles are great, but the story itself stirs parts of the soul that are held deep within us, from a different time and world. A time when life was simpler perhaps, if infinitely shorter and more brutal.
Edit: Please note I don’t intend this post as an insult against Americans. I’ve met many of you that were great people. I rage instead against the culture of control, fear and FUD propagated by the American and Australian governments against their own people, doing their best to turn them into scared, controllable masses. It is easy for scared people to become a herd, and herds can be driven to do things they wouldn’t normally do. Horrific things. They will believe things that they wouldn’t normally believe. As it was said in the movie “Men in Black”, A person is smart. People are dumb. Kernals of truth can be found everywhere.
Since 9/11, including the people that were killed in 9/11, more people have been accidently killed by police officers in the United States than killed by terrorists. Yet how many people are convinced, by the government, by the media, that terrorists lurk behind every corner. That fear gives the governments power to do things its people would normally never allow. It’s not the terrorists you should be afraid of.