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Few stories have resonated through human protohistory quite like the Fall of Troy. Epic poems have been written about it. Historians believe that some of the story is based in fact. To this day, most people are at least familiar with the Greeks’ winning stratagem. Even now, some people know the names of the major players. However, very few might be able to tell you the moral of the story. In the ancient world, myth often filled the role of fable. One would think that a story as tragic, as bloody, and as enduring as Troy would have a moral.
Of course, some would point to the old, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts” — but temporal, tribal hatreds are not the basis of a moral. A bit closer to the point, while still missing it, is a line from the BBC sitcom “Red Dwarf” — “Beware of Trojans, they’re complete [idiots]” — but snark does not a moral make either. Despite these misses, there is a moral to the story of Troy, one that is best understood in the context of the Trojan hero Aeneas, and one that is relevant to anyone who cherishes liberty. However, to understand the moral, one must first know what the moral warns against.
A Pretense of Knowledge
The events which led to the Trojan War began when Zeus snubbed Eris, the goddess of chaos. Eris responded to that snub by inciting an argument between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite – an argument over who was the most beautiful. The three goddesses soon went to Zeus to settle their dispute. Zeus, who wanted a war to depopulate the Earth of his bastard children, declined to pass judgment. Instead, he directed the three to a mortal, Paris of Troy. And Paris, like an idiot, obliged. Regardless of the fact that any choice of one would invite the wrath of the other two, Paris believed himself capable enough to meddle in unknowable consequences. Paris suffered from Hayek’s pretense of knowledge — the same pretense of knowledge that our meddling ruling class suffers from each time they pontificate on the superiority of command and control economies or scaremonger on anthropogenic global warming.
A Disregard for Law
Tyndarius, King of Sparta, was father to Helen, the most desired woman in all of Greece. Helen was so beautiful that Tyndarius avoided choosing her suitor for fear of the retaliation of the powerful men whom he did not choose. But, unlike Paris, Tyndarius understood that he was dealing with unintended consequences — and he was merely dealing with men, not gods. Tyndarius solved his conundrum by requiring all of Helen’s potential suitors to swear to honor his choice. Once their honor was secured, Tyndarius chose Menelaus, soon to be himself the King of Sparta.
Years later, Paris judged three goddesses. Each of them tried to sway his judgment with bribes. Paris chose Aphrodite’s bribe above those of the others — Paris chose Helen of Sparta. So, using the excuse of a diplomatic mission, Paris went to Sparta to collect her. He knew that Helen was married to the king of one of the most powerful nations in Greece. As such, he would have also known of King Tyndarius’ rule regarding her, and he would have known that all the other powerful men in Greece honored that rule. But, despite all that, Paris seduced Helen and secreted her away to Troy. Paris believed that he was special, different, chosen. Paris believed that he was above the law — the same belief that our chosen ruling class holds as it exempts itself from laws on Obamacare and laws on the handling of classified documents.
A Criminally Incompetent Foreign Policy
If seducing and eloping with the married queen of a powerful foreign nation isn’t bad enough, consider this: From before birth, Paris was foretold to be the ruin of Troy, and his father King Priam knew it. From the moment that Paris returned to Troy with Helen, Priam could have sent her back to Sparta with apologies and promises that Paris would be punished. But Priam did not do this. He believed that Troy was so powerful and so well protected that no army could ever stand as a threat. In fact, before they waged war on Troy, Menelaus and Odysseus, King of Ithaca, went to Troy to peacefully petition for the return of Helen — and they were refused. Troy had a foreign policy so contemptuous of reason that it could be considered criminally incompetent — the same type of foreign policy which insists that Libya was secure, Benghazi happened because of a YouTube video, Iran can be trusted with nukes, and that ISIS is a JV team of terrorism.
The Greeks laid siege to Troy for 10 years — a decade of Troy’s ruling class digging in their heels that Helen would not be returned, and so peace would not be restored. After all this time, one would think that the Trojan citizen would have tired of the obviously skewed propaganda, and of their countrymen dying for it. The Trojan people misplaced their loyalty in their ruling class — and if we as American citizens still naïvely entertain the notion that we are actually represented by ours, then we have done the same.
At last, we come to the Trojan Horse, a ploy so transparent that it is surprising that anyone at all was fooled. The prophetess Cassandra wasn’t fooled, but nobody believed her. The high priest Laocoön wasn’t fooled, but the gods immediately smote him. So, despite protests and obvious signs that the war of the gods was still raging, the horse was brought into the walls of Troy. Someone, someone who had authority, “knew better” than the hoi polloi and welcomed doom to Troy — the same know-betterism which welcomes Marxism into the United States with flowery bromides of justice as our economy collapses, cities burn, and people shoot police officers in the street. The same know-betterism which tells us that the same unchecked immigration that has flooded Europe with jihadi sleeper cells is done here for “love” as innocents in nightclubs are mowed down.
Aeneas and the Moral of the Story
Virgil’s Aeneas was a hero of the Trojan War. He was not so much a hero in battle, like Hector or Achilles, but rather he was a hero because of his actions after the battle was lost. As Troy fell, Aeneas gathered his wife, son, father, and remaining countrymen and led them away from the slaughter. He eventually led those who survived to safe harbor and then founded the city of Alba Longa. The descendants of Aeneas later founded the city of Rome.
So, the moral of the story: Be Aeneas. Some people claim the United States is now a modern Rome. I disagree: we are now a modern Troy. When you see that your country is controlled by a ruling class as corrupt, incompetent, and delusional as Troy’s, fight the right battles while you can, and if it all collapses as it must, gather those closest to you and flee – or fall to flames and barbarism.