The Real Meaning Of One Of The NRA’s Favorite Slogans….’Molon Labe’


Molon Labe has become one of the favorite phrases of hard-core 2nd Amendment people who are paranoid that the government is coming to take their guns.

So what in the world is Molon Labe? Don’t feel bad if you don’t know. Unless you are a paranoid gun lover you’ve likely never heard the phrase.

Molon Labe is a classical Greek phrase meaning “Come and take [them].” And 2nd Amendment enthusiasts have adopted the phrase as a way to stand up to their imagined threat of the government coming to take away their guns.

Retired Army officer Allen West is a former Republican Congressman. He’s also one of those paranoid gun lovers. And he loves talking about Molon Labe.

In October West gave a speech in Florida where he explained just where the phrase came from. He told the story “of the 300 Spartans who fought to the death against an army of 10,000 Persians at the battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C.” And then he asked the audience, “What is your Thermopylae? Where will you take a stand?”

The obvious implication is that gun lovers must stand up to the government.

Molon Labe is attributed to Spartan King Leonidas who defiantly stood up to an order by the Persian King requiring his Greek army to give up their weapons. He was trying to defend the Greek cities against an invasion by the Persians at a place called Thermopylae. And even though the Greek army was massively outnumbered they still stood firm and responded with Molon Labe.

So now, all these years later, gun lovers have adopted the phrase as their own. They are determined to never give up their guns and are challenging the government to just dare and try to confiscate their beloved weapons. Never mind that the government is not coming for their guns. They remain defiant and paranoid just the same.

The irony here is that gun lovers recite Molon Labe as some kind of motto representing freedom….freedom to stand up to authority….freedom to bear arms. But this motto was taken from a King who allowed virtually no freedoms for his people. The King of the Spartans believed in enslaving huge numbers of men and ruled over one of the most rigidly controlled military states of ancient times.

Basically this motto adopted by the NRA and hard-core gun nuts represents anything but freedom. But then gun nuts have never let things like facts get in the way of their imagined fears.

Robert Bateman, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who writes for Esquire wrote about the irony of Molon Labe. Bateman pointed out how ironic and absurd it is that gun lovers who are always crying about their freedom have adopted a motto that actually glorifies “the absolute ruler of the most rigidly controlled military state in the ancient world … in which the individual had almost no rights [and] all able-bodied men were completely subject to the will of the leaders.”


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