28 Dec 14
“Arma Virumque Cano”
Translates to: “I sing of arms and of a man.”
Book 1, Line 1 from Virgil’s “Aeneid”
Two decades BC, Roman Poet, Publius Vergilius Maro (Virgil), used the above line to reintroduce the Roman world, in poetic form, to “Aeneas,” a wandering adventurer whose descendants, according to legend, founded Roman aristocracy.
Aeneas, first written about (again, in poetic form) by Homer eight-hundred years earlier in “Iliad,” was a familiar literary character to at least the educated of Roman society.
Virgil died in 19BC, at the age of fifty. His epic poem, “Aeneid,” was never finished.
In that age, and in Roman society, bearing arms was the badge of free citizenry. It was a right not extended to slaves, other “non-citizens,” criminals, et al.
In a “nation of equals,” bearing arms, then and now, conveys a special dignity and self-respect to the bearer, not achievable in any other way. When this right, for all good citizens, is confirmed and protected by a righteous government, it is tantamount to your nation saying to you:
“You’re an adult citizen, in good standing, within our country. You’re one of us! We, your fellow citizens, have full trust and confidence in your moral character and judgement. We trust you to bear arms competently and honorably for personal defense, and that you, thus armed, will gallantly stand with the rest of us when our nation is threatened.”
Rights and duties of citizenship are thus solemnly confirmed!
The term, “unarmed,” implies personal choice. Free citizens, then and now, can choose to be unarmed, under certain circumstances, or always, for reasons they need never reveal. They know the risks, either way, and have made their choice.
By contrast, “disarmed” implies that your weapons have been physically taken away by those who don’t trust you! The disarmed, then and now, can thus never actualize full citizenship, full personal freedom, nor full personal dignity. Whether they honestly confront the issue or not, they are second-class citizens. In less glamorous terms, they are slaves!
At Concord Bridge in 1775, British Marines were sent to forcibly collect all privately-owned guns from colonists. British subjects in the Colonies were to be disarmed. In other words, they were to be violently converted from royal subjects (citizens) to slaves!
The standard, deceitful rhetoric has remained unchanged during the succeeding 240 years!
Privately-owned arms are “… unnecessary, as the King’s soldiers will protect you.”
Privately-owned arms are “… dangerous, and you might hurt yourself.”
Privately-owned arms “… make us (the ‘ruling class’) nervous!”
In summery, “We contemptuously regard you as slaves, and always will. We can never trust you with guns!”
Our heroic ancestors drew the line there! The rest is, of course, history.
Machiavelli puts it nicely:
“There can be no proper relationship between one who is armed and one who is not; nor is it reasonable to expect that one who is armed will voluntarily obey one who is not, nor that the latter will ever feel secure among servants (slaves) who are armed.”
Unchanged since 19BC!