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Linz's New Book
Who Should Be the Republican Nominee?
Total votes: 5
Submitted by JoeM on Sun, 2007-03-18 00:31
"Hell is for martyrs,
As Aaron noted in his review, "300 presents heroes without doubt or apology. There are no anti-heroes to be found, none just going through the motions, no muddled or conflicted 'heroes' succumbing to this or that weakness or folly. The rhetoric of Leonidas and others inspire, touting reason, freedom, and deriding the mysticism not only of the East but of the Greek's own gods and Oracle. Their confidence is unshaken, resolve unrelenting, and words matched by actions to the last stand. Not just imagery, not just presentation, but heroism and sense of life make this film awesome."
After seeing the film myself, I can truly say, "Well said."
This film is nothing less than a rallying cry to stand up and speak out for what's right. When at the end of the movie, there are not 300 but tens of thousands of Spartans spurred on by the brave few who dared to take a stand, I couldn't help but feel the same. I was hoping for a standing ovation in the theaters (but didn't hold my breath, being a sparse crowd on a Saturday matinee a week after the opening.) But more realistically, it's not surprising given that the nation is war-weary and disillusioned, which makes the timing of this movie all the more poignant. The parallels between the story and real life are there for those who want to see it (and forget about history; this story IS of our time.) I can imagine that in the past, when the hero's wife gave her rousing speech, the audience would have cheered. But like her audience in the movie, she is only met with blank stares and lies, much like the apathy of our age. But here's an interesting thought: Frank Miller, the author of the original comic, is known for dialogue such as: "I'm no Ayn Rander, she didn't go nearly far enough!" And like Rand's characters, the Spartan Queen does not rest her argument on the acceptance or denial of her audience, she takes matters into her own hands, sticking the sword in her enemy and exposing the Judas-like betrayal. The same of her husband, Leonidas, who does not wait for the "disease ridden mystics" who would have Sparta bow down before the Persians to preserve a tradition. Neither would sell their souls for the proverbial "30 pieces of silver." No compromise, no unearned guilt, no surrender.
This movie should be nothing short of a rallying cry for Objectivists.
I want to say that this movie should be nothing short of a rallying cry for Americans. But America does not mean what it once did. The ideal that America stood for is heading for the history bins, an ideal that have been sold for more than a few pieces of silver. America has gained the world and lost its soul. It's too big, too bloated, too unorganized, too lazy, too fat, too pampered, too cynical, too jaded. What it lacks is the Spartan lack of fear. Leonidas learns that "fear is constant" and that it must be faced, and "heightens his senses." America has realized that fear is constant, but dulled its senses with modern-day breads and circuses. America has abdicated self-determination to the "diseased-ridden mystics," the anti-industrialists, the bribes of slavery. America has heard King Xerxes's appeal, that Leonidas cruelly asks her to stand, and has decided to kneel. Her Republicans are no Leonidas; they are groveling along with the Democrats. The Libertarians are like the Arcadians, "more brawlers than warriors."
Objectivism is the equivalent of the 300 Spartans. Its army is relatively small, it is unsanctioned, it is alone among thousands. And its proponents are surrounded on all sides. Seeming allies, such as the Republicans, are nothing more than Arcadians, who, while greater in number, lack the fortitude to make it in the long run. Yet we have more potential warriors among us. I say potential, because there is the risk of this mighty army to cave to the pressure. "The helmet is stifling, and the shield grows heavy."
What Objectivism needs is to look to the Spartans in spirit. The Spartan lifestyle may be extreme, but it is instructive. Historically, the Spartans trained their bodies and minds against the elements, to bear pain, to stay hungry, to never surrender. Objectivists need to take this to heart. Its proponents must not hide from the fear. They must be true capitalists, yet they must not sell their souls. They must be diplomatic, yet they must not reason with the unreasonable. They must not accept the promises of wealth from self-proclaimed gods in exchange for subservience. They must remember the Spartans of their own inspirations, the Howard Roarks and John Galts, who neither served nor kneeled, who could not be tempted by the Wynands and Tooheys, who could not turn on their own ideals for a comfortable lifestyle. There is "Kira's Viking," who also neither submitted or yielded, who was fiction yet truer than any iconic heavy metal barbarian. There is a story of an "ideal” who visited those who proclaim to love her. Some betrayed her; some did not even recognize her. Some accepted her on the condition that she cease to be an ideal.
Objectivism is not a game or Platonic fiction. It is a method, a philosophy for living on Earth. When you meet the idea, how will you greet her?
Will you count yourself as one of the 300?
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