It seemed a typical September day in 490 B.C. Summer was turning into autumn, but the change in the seasons was probably not very apparent. Warmth still filled the air. So did fear. In fact, fear was probably the most palpable thing in the air that day, because this was not a typical September day at all.
Fear must have swept through every Greek man as he watched what was arrayed before him. From his safety on the heights overlooking the beach of Marathon, the Greek soldier saw the enormous host of the Persian King Darius. In their presence was the expelled Athenian Tyrant, Hippias. The Persians were present for only one reason – to subjugate Athens and punish its people for daring to take part in the revolt of the Ionian Greeks against their rule some years earlier. For this transgression, the mighty Persian King sought to punish tiny Athens, keeping the Athenians first in his thoughts by supposedly demanding a servant to remind him to “remember the Athenians” every time he took a meal.
Tiny does indeed describe Athens well, especially when considering the magnitude of the opponent the Athenian soldier faced on that September day. The Persian Empire stretched from the Indus to the Danube and from the Caspian Sea to Egypt. The equivalent today might be the entire United States ganging up on New York City.
Some in the city were so afraid that they considered surrendering immediately. And indeed, it was known that a large faction, including the sympathizers of Hippias, wanted to open the gates. The Persians banked on this too, and began to withdraw from the beach, leaving only a covering force.
Not one to waste such a golden opportunity, the Greek general Miltiades implored the other generals to take action, but many still did not dare. The fear among the soldiers had not missed many of their generals, and five refused to vote to attack, not wanting to leave the safety of their shelter. Miltiades, no doubt frustrated, turned to the decisive vote in the senior general, Callimachus, who had still not spoken. This is supposed to have been his passionate argument, one which has chilling similarities with what we are faced with today:
With you it now rests, Callimachus, either to bring Athens under slavery, or by making her free to leave behind you for all the time that men shall live a memorial such as not even Harmodios and Aristogeiton have left. For now the Athenians have come to a danger the greatest to which they have ever come since they were a people; and on the one hand, if they submit to the Medes, it is determined what they shall suffer, being delivered over to Hippias, while on the other hand, if this city shall gain the victory, it may become the first of the cities of Hellas. How this may happen and how it comes to thee of all men to have the decision of these matters, I am now about to tell.
Of us the generals, who are ten in number, the opinions are divided, the one party urging that we fight a battle and the others that we do not fight. Now if we do not, I expect that some great spirit of discord will fall upon the minds of the Athenians and so shake them that they shall go over to the Medes; but if we fight a battle before any unsoundness appear in any part of the Athenian people, then we are able to gain the victory in the fight, if the gods grant equal conditions.
These things then all belong to you and depend on you; for if you attach yourself to my opinions, you have both a fatherland which is free and a native city which shall be the first among the cities of Hellas; but if you choose the opinion of those who are earnest against fighting, you shall have the opposite of those good things of which I told you.
Callimachus assented. The Athenian hoplites, still no doubt feeling fear, turned it into aggression, charged forward, and, summoning powers they never knew they had, slaughtered the Persians. For this, Callimachus paid with his life, but it was a life not spent on frivolities, because with his vote, and the valor of the Greeks in the face of fear, the myth of Persian invincibility was shattered forever.
Persian interference in Greek affairs was cut short by only a decade, but the genie was out of the bottle. The progress of Persian arms could be blunted and repulsed.
Stories such as this span the ages. In 1809, Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French, was master of Europe. Almost the entire continent was either occupied by or forcibly allied to France. It is also very likely that Napoleon could have negotiated a favorable peace settlement with Britain had he agreed to some demands such as removing his Continental System. Napoleon, in his arrogance, not only did not remove the system, he attempted to replace the Spanish king with his own brother and, when Russia defected, gathered a massive army to invade it.
The result was a “Spanish ulcer” and a “Russian hemorrhage.” Seeing that Napoleon was now vulnerable, almost all of Europe, inspired by their hatred of the French Emperor, and no longer pacified by fear, smelled blood and rose in revolt against their master. The result was the shattering Battles of Vitoria and Leipzig, the invasion of France itself, and the banishment of this swaggering pest. Waterloo was but an afterthought, an inevitable final defeat resulting from the making of too many enemies.
It took a generation to defeat Napoleon. Men and women from many nations cooperated together as never before in the undertaking – the sailor in the Royal Navy, the Russian infantryman, the Spanish guerrilla. Though distant and different, they were all connected, fighting for a common cause.
It took over a century and a half of intermittent hostilities to come, but Greece eventually did topple Persia under its champion, Alexander the Great. Throughout the process, the disparate city-states united as a nation, ceasing their own incessant warring for a grand undertaking that could only be accomplished together.
In both cases, the hegemon became the hunted.
Are there similarities relevant to GamerGate? While it may seem odd to compare military campaigns to a consumer uprising, the root they all share is the one constant in life – power. In GamerGate, we see a hegemon intruding into new territory and attempting to take it over. The hegemon today is not composed of kings or emperors or their states, but the ideological zeitgeist of Cultural Marxism and its enforcing institutions, namely in the media.
Like Napoleon, it wants to turn the territory of gaming into another dependency, another satellite state to act as a booster and buffer for the power and safety of the conqueror. It is an intrusion that seeks to destroy a territory’s way of life, like the Persians in Greece.
The casualties of Cultural Marxism and its bullhorns have been immense, the power it wields over society, unquestionable. Many have transgressed against its norms over the years, especially in recent ones as its vice has tightened. It has become harder not to run afoul of its inquisition. Its zealots are constantly watching.
They have gotten a talented programmer fired for a few tweets, a revolutionary software developer fired for a small donation he made six years ago, a group of firefighters fired for years-old tweets, and, in moves which question their supposed stance of championing women, they have harassed and attempted to ruin the livelihoods of two successful women—one for a joke about AIDS, and the other for a remark she made many years ago. These are only a few notable instances among an uncountable number.
Cultural Marxism’s victories have been numerous and varied. With such a fearsome reputation and maximum forward momentum, its adherents might not have been totally wrong to assume that they would be able to dictate to the gaming world (one of the few remaining holdouts that it hasn’t completely taken over) how it should operate.
But gamers, like the Greeks at Marathon, stood. They showed that they would not tolerate the corruption, the rampant proselytizing, the labeling, the attacks. They would not tolerate intolerant encroachments and appropriation of their community, their polis. Cultural Marxism doubled down, insulting them and inciting their ire even more. It might have been easy for gamers to be afraid, especially when mainstream news got involved, but they turned their fear to anger instead.
Like Napoleon’s enemies, gamers learned Cultural Marxism’s tactics and turned them on their creator. Many gamers in fact were probably sympathetic to Cultural Marxism, and have defected from their former allegiance, realizing its corruption and zealotry. They drew blood. Inspired by the gamers’ example, other factions hostile to Cultural Marxism have begun to join in. They smelled blood. A coalition is forming.
Julius Caesar noted that “in war, important events often result from trivial causes.” GamerGate proves the maxim true. If GamerGate teaches us one lesson, it is that hegemons, even when appearing invincible, always show cracks, and then fall. So it was with the Persian and French Empires, and we are seeing it unfolding before our eyes here. GamerGate will not destroy Cultural Marxism, but it has shown one thing – it is not invincible. Marathon has been repeated.
Hegemonies fall because power corrupts and corrodes itself through its own arrogance. It makes too many enemies, and at some point, those enemies are no longer pacified by fear. Once that element is removed, aggression is channeled by the hegemon’s many enemies to oppose and ultimately topple the regime.
The Persians thought they could conquer tiny Athens. They were wrong. Napoleon thought he could continuously maintain control of Europe. He was wrong. Cultural Marxists thought they would be unchallenged in their corruption of video games. They were wrong. All three cases are a violation of the 47th of Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power:
“Do not go past the mark you aimed for. In victory, know when to stop.”
Hegemons have always violated this law, and it has cut them down at their knees, time and again.
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