|           

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
July 12, 2020, 05:36:15 pm
News:
If you are having trouble logging in due to invalid user name / pass:

Consider resetting your account password, as you may have forgotten it over time if using a password manager.

  Talk Elections
  General Discussion
  History (Moderator: True Federalist)
  Why does the far-right like so much the 300 of Sparta?
« previous next »
Pages: [1]
Author Topic: Why does the far-right like so much the 300 of Sparta?  (Read 842 times)
buritobr
Jr. Member
***
Posts: 1,460


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« on: June 14, 2020, 12:53:19 pm »

The far-right loves references to the history of the 300 spartans led by Leonidas who resisted 3 days against the persians at the Thermopylae.
Hitler tried to convince Paulus not to surrender in Stalingrad so that the german 6th army could be compared to the 300 of Sparta. At the end of the war, there was the Leonidas Squadron, the group of german kamikazes.
Nowadays, many far-right groups make references to the 300 of Sparta.

Does the far-right like the society and the institutions of the city of Sparta? Does the far-right use the persians as an analogy to the enemies coming from the east?
Logged
Cosmopolitanism Will Win
Antonio V
Atlas Institution
*****
Posts: 52,102
United States


Political Matrix
E: -7.87, S: -3.83


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2020, 05:45:25 pm »

I mean, it was literally a militaristic totalitarian state built on the subjugation and ritual massacre of ethnic minorities. The connection with far-right ideologies isn't too hard to see.

The question is why anyone who isn't far-right would view ancient Sparta with anything but horror and contempt.
Logged
Filuwaúrdjan
Realpolitik
Atlas Institution
*****
Posts: 63,155
United Kingdom


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2020, 07:32:40 pm »

Thermopylae is a fairly standard Classical reference for anyone wishing to extol the virtues of extreme military pigheadedness at the expense of sane policy, so there's your answer.

The question is why anyone who isn't far-right would view ancient Sparta with anything but horror and contempt.

Well, historically it was viewed very positively by the radical left as well, going back to Rousseau. Very much the preferred Polis of the Soviet Union. But, again, that is not so surprising!
Logged
Cosmopolitanism Will Win
Antonio V
Atlas Institution
*****
Posts: 52,102
United States


Political Matrix
E: -7.87, S: -3.83


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2020, 10:13:20 pm »

The question is why anyone who isn't far-right would view ancient Sparta with anything but horror and contempt.

Well, historically it was viewed very positively by the radical left as well, going back to Rousseau. Very much the preferred Polis of the Soviet Union. But, again, that is not so surprising!

Oh, of f**king course. Everything awful about the left since 1789 can be traced back to Rousseau, it seems.
Logged
Ishan
Atlas Politician
Sr. Member
*****
Posts: 3,109
United States


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2020, 05:33:49 am »

I mean, it was literally a militaristic totalitarian state built on the subjugation and ritual massacre of ethnic minorities. The connection with far-right ideologies isn't too hard to see.

The question is why anyone who isn't far-right would view ancient Sparta with anything but horror and contempt.
The only good thing about Sparta is that women had more freedom then the other Greek city states.
Logged
c r a b c a k e
CrabCake
Atlas Icon
*****
Posts: 17,160
Kiribati


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2020, 09:40:47 am »

Laconophillia became embedded in the ethos of British public schools in the Victorian era (and with it a certain other -phillia). The upper crust of Edwardian Britain were all stamped with what they believed the Spartan mould would look like, and I believe a similar obsession was found in the Prussian cadet schools and the French lycees. (It would probably be an overreach to look at the various noxious social movements like eugenics and military disasters of the Edwardian era and see nothing but the fruits of these spartan experiments coming to fruition, but I can't imagine the mindset helped)

The irony for the right is that the agoge system is one that was explicitly collectivist and hostile to the nuclear family, which is why collectivists on the left often sometimes muse about it themselves. Indeed, the difference between right-Laconism and left-Laonism seemed to be that the former believe this demented lifestyle was actually a privilege that should be enjoyed by the sons of the gentry and new aristocrats, while the latter believed that you could form a comprehensive system that would churn out endless Republican drones.
Logged
Statilius the Epicurean
Thersites
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 3,278
United Kingdom


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2020, 05:35:32 pm »
« Edited: June 17, 2020, 05:57:49 pm by Statilius the Epicurean »

The question is why anyone who isn't far-right would view ancient Sparta with anything but horror and contempt.

Well, historically it was viewed very positively by the radical left as well, going back to Rousseau. Very much the preferred Polis of the Soviet Union. But, again, that is not so surprising!

Oh, of f**king course. Everything awful about the left since 1789 can be traced back to Rousseau, it seems.

Like...popular sovereignty? The idea that inequality is an unnatural social imposition? I think it's somewhat fair to call Rousseau a paranoid semi-lunatic, but the Bertrand Russell thesis of him as some irrational totalitarian who poisoned western thought is a ridiculous exaggeration.

Among other reasons Rousseau liked Sparta for its egalitarianism and communitarianism, and his distrust of the bourgeoisie and their values. With some (ok perhaps major in places) qualifications, fair enough really from a leftist perspective.
Logged
L.D. Smith
MormDem
Atlas Star
*****
Posts: 22,530
United States


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2020, 10:12:04 pm »

Persecution complex.
Logged
Statilius the Epicurean
Thersites
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 3,278
United Kingdom


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2020, 01:01:29 am »

Just yesterday Charlie Kirk of all people was denouncing Rousseau as the "gateway to Marx"!!

Logged
Cosmopolitanism Will Win
Antonio V
Atlas Institution
*****
Posts: 52,102
United States


Political Matrix
E: -7.87, S: -3.83


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2020, 01:20:42 am »

I mean, I don't disagree with everything Rousseau ever said. His radical criticism of private property is genuinely refreshing to see from a philosopher of this era, and that's something he deserves credit for. The rest, though? His political theory, while grounded in sound basic principles, devolves into nebulous abstract nonsense as soon as tries to derive anything from them (try to find a single philosopher who can explain what the ever-loving f**k the "general will" is). His view of history is a nakedly reactionary secular adaptation of the story of the Fall (and we've been over my thoughts about that). His moral philosophy, flowing from that, is the kind of naive naturalism that even in his time was well-known to be a philosophical dead end. So yeah, good on him for being an egalitarian (at least in terms of class - he was all too comfortable with sexist gender roles), but there are plenty of better egalitarians to use as inspirations.
Logged
buritobr
Jr. Member
***
Posts: 1,460


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2020, 04:33:34 pm »

Did Rousseau have a positive view on Sparta?
Logged
Kingpoleon
Atlas Star
*****
Posts: 20,193
United States


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2020, 12:16:31 pm »

Laconophillia became embedded in the ethos of British public schools in the Victorian era (and with it a certain other -phillia). The upper crust of Edwardian Britain were all stamped with what they believed the Spartan mould would look like, and I believe a similar obsession was found in the Prussian cadet schools and the French lycees. (It would probably be an overreach to look at the various noxious social movements like eugenics and military disasters of the Edwardian era and see nothing but the fruits of these spartan experiments coming to fruition, but I can't imagine the mindset helped)
Unless I am mistaken, the Prussian military complex prided itself on being a modern invention. An equal to the Romans, to the Spartans, and all the others, sure; but the distinct Prussian mind (which was famously rejected by Einstein) was a certain pride in not mimicking military greatness and grandeur, but embodying it.
Logged
KaiserDave
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 3,884
United States


Political Matrix
E: -3.98, S: -4.11

P P P

Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2020, 04:17:23 pm »

The movie 300 I will say has extremely racist undertones. And most of the time it isn't even undertones.
Logged
Cath
Cathcon
Atlas Star
*****
Posts: 25,319
United States


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2020, 09:48:45 am »

The answer to OP's question is contingent on whether or not one means 300 the graphic novel and film, or the overall legend. As I began to write this response I realized the question was framed "300 of Sparta", rather than just "300". Responses to the OP thus far have probably pretty accurately summed up why portions of the far right enjoy the legend/myth/historical occurrence overall. Below is why they would enjoy the movie.

The movie 300 I will say has extremely racist undertones. And most of the time it isn't even undertones.

Indeed. 300 makes very explicit that it pits free, rational, masculine, and moral Europeans against despotic, mystic, effeminate, and degenerate Asians. Moreover, the movie (I cannot vouch for the graphic novel) takes no prisoners in granting the Persians access to weaponry and beasts we would expect out of India, Japan, and Africa--thereby at once creating a potentially interesting fantasy/mythical scenario while also bald-facedly making it "Europe versus the entire rest of the eastern hemisphere". While Lord of the Rings has been accused of a similar dynamic (oliphants, scimitars, dark-skinned men from the south and east), Tolkien scholars can rebuff these claims in a way that I do not believe the makers of 300 are able to, even were we to grant that the movie may take place through the lens of "myth" (and I think the key distinctions here are that Tolkien was deeply respectful of Middle Eastern cultures and myth and incorporated them into his work, and that LotR at its essence did not revolve around cultural geopolitics; 300, on the other hand, has as its central point that confrontation of Europe and Asia). In addition to all this over-thinking, 300 is at its base a glorification of masculinity, force, and self-sacrifice.
Logged
Filuwaúrdjan
Realpolitik
Atlas Institution
*****
Posts: 63,155
United Kingdom


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2020, 02:10:40 pm »

While Lord of the Rings has been accused of a similar dynamic (oliphants, scimitars, dark-skinned men from the south and east), Tolkien scholars can rebuff these claims in a way that I do not believe the makers of 300 are able to, even were we to grant that the movie may take place through the lens of "myth" (and I think the key distinctions here are that Tolkien was deeply respectful of Middle Eastern cultures and myth and incorporated them into his work, and that LotR at its essence did not revolve around cultural geopolitics; 300, on the other hand, has as its central point that confrontation of Europe and Asia).

You know, I've never seen 300 the film nor read the comic, but from everything that I have heard, I'm going to guess that there is in neither something equivalent to this passage:

'It was Sam's first view of a battle of Men against Men, and he did not like it much. He was glad that he could not see the dead face. He wondered what the man's name was and where he came from; and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home; and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace - all in a flash of thought that was quickly driven from his mind.'

Of course in The Lord of the Rings, the Southrons and Easterlings only ever function as auxiliaries. To the extent that there is anything 'Eastern' about Mordor and its aesthetic (and there isn't a great deal; mostly it is a combination of Mediaeval English aesthetics of evil and the worst of industrial England), it echoes a... er... well... different historical sense of 'Eastern' to the various Classical and Mediaeval Empires: the Huns and the Mongols.
Logged
Cath
Cathcon
Atlas Star
*****
Posts: 25,319
United States


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2020, 07:10:30 pm »

While Lord of the Rings has been accused of a similar dynamic (oliphants, scimitars, dark-skinned men from the south and east), Tolkien scholars can rebuff these claims in a way that I do not believe the makers of 300 are able to, even were we to grant that the movie may take place through the lens of "myth" (and I think the key distinctions here are that Tolkien was deeply respectful of Middle Eastern cultures and myth and incorporated them into his work, and that LotR at its essence did not revolve around cultural geopolitics; 300, on the other hand, has as its central point that confrontation of Europe and Asia).

You know, I've never seen 300 the film nor read the comic, but from everything that I have heard, I'm going to guess that there is in neither something equivalent to this passage:

'It was Sam's first view of a battle of Men against Men, and he did not like it much. He was glad that he could not see the dead face. He wondered what the man's name was and where he came from; and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home; and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace - all in a flash of thought that was quickly driven from his mind.'

Of course in The Lord of the Rings, the Southrons and Easterlings only ever function as auxiliaries. To the extent that there is anything 'Eastern' about Mordor and its aesthetic (and there isn't a great deal; mostly it is a combination of Mediaeval English aesthetics of evil and the worst of industrial England), it echoes a... er... well... different historical sense of 'Eastern' to the various Classical and Mediaeval Empires: the Huns and the Mongols.

I really do love that passage and it says so much more about the nature of what we're reading than a million critiques of villains carrying scimitars. That said--and I'm no Tolkien scholar--I am curious as to what we should make of an essentially in- (or sub-) human enemy in the form of the orcs and goblins. What few glimpses we get of their society are fairly interesting, but I note that they're not the type of folks for which the usual prescription of mercy might be recommended.

In that same vein, I've also been reading Chronicles of Narnia of late, and I had actually been hoping to ask you what you thought of Lewis' treatment of Calormen. 
Logged
buritobr
Jr. Member
***
Posts: 1,460


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2020, 03:41:26 pm »

Tolkien was an anti-racist militant and he cricticized the apartheid regime in his birth country
Logged
Filuwaúrdjan
Realpolitik
Atlas Institution
*****
Posts: 63,155
United Kingdom


Show only this user's posts in this thread
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2020, 08:24:17 pm »
« Edited: July 08, 2020, 09:01:07 am by Filuwaúrdjan »

I really do love that passage and it says so much more about the nature of what we're reading than a million critiques of villains carrying scimitars. That said--and I'm no Tolkien scholar--I am curious as to what we should make of an essentially in- (or sub-) human enemy in the form of the orcs and goblins. What few glimpses we get of their society are fairly interesting, but I note that they're not the type of folks for which the usual prescription of mercy might be recommended.

Orcs are best understood in the context of Tolkien's broader project to construct his own complete mythological system: they are the real and genuinely terrifying monsters that the goblins of fairy tale and Germanic legend are a sanitised folk memory of.

Quote
In that same vein, I've also been reading Chronicles of Narnia of late, and I had actually been hoping to ask you what you thought of Lewis' treatment of Calormen.

A mish-mash of various 'Eastern' empires from pretty much the entirety of human history (not an exaggeration: the general tone is unmistakably Ottoman1 - something much more common as a cultural reference in English literature of the time than now of course - but there are clear references to the Achaemenid Empire, to Assyria...) all artfully thrown together to provide a contrasting culture to the distinctly European Narnia. As such it is undeniably 'Orientalist', although I will stress that it is very well done Orientalism, as the fictional society that emerges is not exactly like any of those on which it is based, and does have a certain (surprising?) coherence and solidity. But it is fundamentally geared around the idea of Eastern otherness, decadence and capriciousness, even if Lewis placed Calormen to the south of Narnia rather than to its East.2

Recent charges of racism (except to the extent that you can view Orientalism as racism or fueled by it; but this is a complicated area and one that, in this case at least, I feel rather misses the point) and 'Islamophobia' are less credible. Calormen is defined as distinct from Narnia and Arkenland by its culture (and especially its religion, but we'll come to that in a moment) rather than in racial terms, and there's very little sign that Lewis even gave this aspect much thought. He clearly thought of the people of Calormen as being of a darker complexion than those of Narnia, but are they supposed to resemble Turks, Indians, Arabs, Persians or Indians? It doesn't particularly matter, because that is not the point: Lewis was really only interested in ideas.

More interesting is the Cult of Tash, something that an increasing number of critics have seen as an allegory for Islam so vicious as to be actual libel. Were it based on Islam than this would be undeniably the case, but this is a misunderstanding based, and the irony here is a little rich, on an ahistorical and highly problematic conflation of the Middle East and Islam. Because you do not need to look particularly far to find the actual inspiration for Tash, and that is in Assyrian depictions of some of their more sinister looking deities. It is at this point that you realise exactly what the Cult of Tash is an allegory for: that of Baal and other figures of Canaanite and Mesopotamian religion. Which, given the Biblical underpinning to the Narnia books, is hardly a surprise.

1. Note the name!
2. Where he, instead, placed God: a reference to the traditional practice of facing churches in Europe towards the compass point symbolically associated with Jerusalem.
Logged
Pages: [1]  
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Terms of Service - DMCA Agent and Policy - Privacy Policy and Cookies

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines

Page created in 0.094 seconds with 14 queries.