My colleague over at The Reaction, Infidel753 took his moniker from the fabled founding year of Rome, 753 BC. And today’s date — 21 April — is said to be the very day. It sounds a bit like the Sermon on the Mount in Life of Brian, “Judea AD 33. Saturday Afternoon. About Tea Time.” Of course, this is all myth. You see there were supposedly these twins, Romulus and Remus. It’s not a very interesting myth. The brothers decide to found a city but they disagree about the location. So Romulus goes ahead and starts to build his city and constructs a wall encircling it. Remus mocks the wall, jumping over it. He dies — in the more exciting of the versions because Romulus kills him. I guess the point is that nobody better infringe upon Rome or they will die — very true for many centuries.
I’m more interested in our own founding myths. Because that is what we have — among the vast majority of people. I’m very fond of this quote spoken by John Adams in 1776, “Franklin smote the ground and out sprang George Washington, fully grown and on his horse. Franklin then electrified him with his miraculous lightning rod and the three of them — Franklin, Washington, and the horse — conducted the entire revolution by themselves.” That isn’t quite how people think of the Revolutionary War, but it isn’t far off.
Of course, the worst are the Christian conservatives who have merged the Revolutionary War, the Constitution, and the Bible into one big myth about God’s will. Pretty much written out of our country’s founding is the radicalism. I really do wonder if the war would have been won without “Common Sense.” And now Thomas Paine is almost a non-person in American history. Of course, there is the other side. A lot of the southern aristocracy wanted to get away from England because they were afraid that if they stayed, their slaves would have been taken away from them. The founding of the United States was, shall we say, complicated.
Maybe we are better of with something simple like Romulus and Remus — or Franklin and Washington. But somehow, I think the genocide of native peoples and slavery ought to be included in the story. Since this was before Nietzsche and so God was still alive, let’s just say that He didn’t give a damn. But I have an idea for a song:
And the land of the slaves…
And the home once of braves!
Play ball! And happy mythical birthday to Rome!