je suis charlie

This won’t be a military article, but let me tell you a story first. Marines love the movie 300.  It’s the classic tale of 300 Spartan Warriors who held off the Persian horde in ancient Greece.  Marines are often referred to as the modern day Spartans and we quickly identify with their warrior spirit.  It was said that Spartans were trained for war at birth and this was epitomized in one scene of the movie.  In 300, the Spartans met up with some Athenians who wanted to join the fight. In a condescending manner, King Leonidas of Sparta asked the Athenians what is their craft.  They then responded with their various trades from carpentry and so forth.  Leonidas asked Spartans what their craft is and they all responded with what I can only assume was their Ooh Rah. Thus indicating that Spartans were bred for War and Athenians were bred for something else.  So let’s talk a little about the something else.

Don’t Buy Furniture Made in Sparta

That would be my advice if I lived in ancient Greece. Don’t buy furniture made in Sparta.  Let’s face it, if Spartans trained for war from birth then they probably sucked at a whole lot of other stuff.  Personally, if I am going to buy a chair, I want to buy it from the guy who responds with carpenter when asked his trade.  Moreover, I am guessing art, music, and literature would have probably been the same way. Even today you must asked yourself what was Athens known for and for what was Sparta known? If given the option of the two, I can tell you who I want to go to war with and I can tell you I want to live life with.

Thankfully here in America, and much of the Western World, we don’t really have to choose when given the choice.  We can have our Spartans and our Athenians too and are in fact sometimes embodied in the same person as Veterans are pretty versatile. In my view, one protects the other while the other makes society worth protecting.  I personally wouldn’t want to live in Sparta.  Yes, I am a Marine and if given the choice during those years I would have picked Sparta.  However, as a 35 year old Veteran, I’d kind of like to read a book and contribute to the other half of society as well. After all, I am spending a good deal of time writing these days and someone smart did say the pen is mightier than the sword.  All the same though, I’d still like to keep that sword close by just in case.

Free For What

Have you ever asked yourself that question?  What exactly is it that we are free to do?  To what end and for what purpose are we stewards of this freedom we have here in America?  Do we produce the world’s greatest warriors just so that we can produce the next generation of Spartans? Or do we produce the world’s greatest warriors so that we might have Sparta and Athens?  That is, we have a warrior culture capable of defending that which is ultimately worth defending.  Namely, freedom to speak, act, write, and yes illustrate that which we desire.

This is why I titled the article, Je suis Charlie, which means, I am Charlie. Now, you may not know this, but I was actually a French minor in college.  Despite have a minor, I am thankful that “Je suis” is actually one of the few phrases I can remember how to translate. Je suis Charlie is a reference to French publication Charlie Hebdo that was attacked by terrorist for publishing cartoon satire about Islam. In previous threats made against them, the editor stated that he would rather die on his feet than live on his knees when it comes to freedom of the press.

Get Busy Living

Now if you would consider yourself one of these modern day Spartans, then you must consider this cartoon editor a modern day Athenian. However, I submit that this Athenian died in pursuit of a society worth dying for and that is noble and worth respect. It is the other side of the coin and I respect this pursuit of liberty in the form of art.  Much in the same, I respect the journalist that have lost their lives covering war. It would appear that even as I type, the terrorist in France have been surrounded.  However, when their season is over, the Western World will still be free.  It will be free thanks to Spartans whom will likely storm their location and it will be free thanks to artist, journalist, writers, and even cartoonist who continue to practice their liberty.  As a society we should be thankful we don’t have to choose.  We can be our Spartans and Athenians too.

Look, If we are going to be in the business of killing terrorist, then we have to be in the business of living life as well.  Otherwise, what’s the point.  So in honor of this freedom, I say do something only one with liberty could do this weekend. Myself, I will spend time with my family, I will write what I want, and I will worship and praise Jesus.  Why, because as long I can do these things, I know ISIS has failed.  So keep ISIS on the losing side and live free.

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2 Replies to “Je Suis Charlie: A Society Worth Defending”

  1. Thank you for having been a Spartan so I can be an Athenian. Also, I believe there are some people on this planet that if what you doesn’t piss them off than you’re doing it wrong.

    “I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.” – John Adams

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