I wrote about Ted Cruz’s issues with reality this morning disqualifying him from public office. Louie Gohmert, another Texas Republican, suffers from the same reality disorder. This condition is best explained in a series of “if/then” statements:
If – Something happened in Benghazi
Then – Quick make up some lies about Benghazi
If – Obama says something
Then – Quick make up some lies about Obama
That’s all there is to it! It’s the Republican way!
Gohmert gave a demonstration of this principle yesterday when he appeared on the radio by way of the less than picky “Point Of View.”
I’ve had people say, ‘Hey, you know, there’s nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks.’
Now apply the handy principle above:
If – The Greeks did something
Then – Quick make up some lies about the Greeks
Unlike Republicans, let’s leave inaccuracies out of our discussion and stick to what really happened. You know, facts. The things Gohmert has such a problem with:
Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle.
Oh dear. You haven’t ever actually opened up a history book, have you, Louie?
He is obviously not referring to actual gay Greek warriors like the Theban Sacred Band, which was not there to give massages, but rather to kick the cr*p out of anyone who attacked their city, Thebes. Yes, gays can be patriotic too. And they can kick the cr*p out of people who prefer opposite-sex relationships.
Here are some facts about the Theban Sacred Band: It was formed of approximately 150 pairs of male lovers circa 378 BCE. Plutarch tells us, in his Life of Pelopidas,
Gorgidas, according to some, first formed the Sacred Band of three hundred chosen men, to whom, as being a guard for the citadel, the State allowed provision, and all things necessary for exercise: and hence they were called the city band, as citadels of old were usually called cities. Others say that it was composed of young men attached to each other by personal affection, and a pleasant saying of Pammenes is current, that Homer’s Nestor was not well skilled in ordering an army, when he advised the Greeks to rank tribe and tribe, and family and family together, that-
“So tribe might tribe, and kinsmen kinsmen aid.”
but that he should have joined lovers and their beloved. For men of the same tribe or family little value one another when dangers press; but a band cemented by friendship grounded upon love is never to be broken, and invincible; since the lovers, ashamed to be base in sight of their beloved, and the beloved before their lovers, willingly rush into danger for the relief of one another. Nor can that be wondered at since they have more regard for their absent lovers than for others present; as in the instance of the man who, when his enemy was going to kill him, earnestly requested him to run him through the breast, that his lover might not blush to see him wounded in the back. It is a tradition likewise that Iolaus, who assisted Hercules in his labours and fought at his side, was beloved of him; and Aristotle observes that, even in his time, lovers plighted their faith at Iolaus’s tomb. It is likely, therefore, that this band was called sacred on this account; as Plato calls a lover a divine friend.
When Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, was busy conquering Greece in 338 BCE, the combined Theban-Athenian army found themselves facing the Macedonians at Chaeronea. Young Alexander, just 18, was in command of the troops facing the Theban Sacred Band. The Thebans fought to the last man in defense of their lovers, and of their city. Each and every one of them died.
Modern excavations under the The Lion of Chaeronea, the monument, say ancient historians Pausanias (Description of Greece, 9.40.10) and Strabo (Geography, 9.2.37), erected by the Thebans in honor of their dead, revealed 254 skeletons, buried in seven rows.
It must be remembered that Alexander, perhaps the greatest general the world has ever seen, who had just defeated them, may have had male lovers of his own, including his close friend Hephaestion.
Certainly, based on the example of the Theban Sacred Band alone, same-sex attractions do not render a man unfit for military duty.
In Plutarch, too, we find their epithet:
It is stated that it was never beaten till the battle at Chaeronea: and when Philip, after the fight, took a view of the slain, and came to the place where the three hundred that fought his phalanx lay dead together, he wondered, and understanding that it was the band of lovers, he shed tears and said, “Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything that was base.”
You won’t find this account of courage and sacrifice in Louie Gohmert’s hateful rhetoric. Instead, you get gay massage fantasies:
But you know what, it’s a different kind of fighting, it’s a different kind of war and if you’re sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into a big, planned battle, then you’re not going to last very long. It’s guerrilla fighting. You are going to be ultimately vulnerable to terrorism and if that’s what you start doing in the military like the Greeks did.
Plutarch, on the other hand, tells us that,
Gorgidas distributed this Sacred Band all through the front ranks of the infantry, and thus made their gallantry less conspicuous; not being united in one body, but mingled with so many others of inferior resolution, they had no fair opportunity of showing what they could do.
Clearly, Gorgidas did not distribute them among the ranks to give or receive massages.
But Gohmert, ever a lover of the Big Lie, says instead,
[A]s people have said, ‘Louie, you have got to understand, you don’t even know your history.’ Oh yes I do. I know exactly. It’s not a good idea.
Philip of Macdeon and his son, Alexander, would beg, no doubt, to differ.
Louie says he knows history. But Louie doesn’t know history. Louise is another David Barton. He doesn’t need history when he can just make up his own, as he does here.
The gay men of the Theban Sacred Band were better men than Louie Gohmert can ever hope to be.
Lion of Chaeronea image from Panoramio.com
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.