ZaphodBurner wrote:Second, Leonidas didn't just defend Greece, I said he defended DEMOCRACY.* The Spartans and associated Greeks that rallied under him at Thermopylae delayed the Persians, who were seeking to DESTROY ATHENS, THE VERY CRADLE OF DEMOCRACY.
They were seeking to control the states outside their empire that supported a revolt within it (I won't use modern standards to judge the validity of ancient concepts of empires because, honestly, they're all pretty immoral by 21st century American standards, Athens & Sparta included). Besides, Athenian democracy was
destroyed 100 years later by Philip II of Macedonia, and stayed destroyed. Nothing Leonidas did at Thermopylae changed the ultimate destruction of Athenian Democracy- it did, however, let the "Golden Age" of Pericles occur, so there's that. Of course, it also let the Athenians become an empire of their own that became so hated their client states formed a league against them, but that doesn't fit your neat little story.
The concept of Democracy survived the Persian invasion, but when the Persians sacked cities they destroyed everything in them, and so the world really has no idea what other great ideas were lost. It is believed that Athenian observers held astronomical calculations and a helio-centric model of the solar system, but these were destroyed by the Persians of Darius or Xerses.
Such an incredibly Euro-centric view of the world. The Persian Empire was much more advanced in many ways than the Greek states, and frankly Greece (specifically Epirus, Thessaly and everything south) was an irritating gnat on the left side of nowhere for it. Also, like I said above, Athenian Democracy was crushed 100 years later anyway.
Ergo, were it not for the most aggressively warlike and institutionally-violent civilization in the history of the human species--the human Klingons--Democracy would have vanished from the world consciousness entirely by 300 BC. Gandhi would not have been able to sit on a blanket and resist the Persians because they would have simply trampled him into the soil.
You are absolutely correct- Ghandi would be crushed by the Persians, just like Leonidas eventually was. However, if you want to play "yank them out of their context", Leonidas would have been crushed by the British- just look at the Sepoy Mutiny. Taking a figure out of their historical context and placing them in another is a frivolous game. Look at the actual effects in the actual time frame that come due to someones actions.
Leonidas- stopped the Persian invasion of "Southern Greece", gave Athens the breathing room to create a Golden Age for 80(ish) years until it's client states revolted, Athens shortly after falls to Macedonia, Athenian Democracy dies.
Ghandi- leads roughly 600,000,000 Indians (including what is currently Pakistan & Bangladesh) in a non-violent protest against the British Empire, one of the largest Empires the world has ever known, against tanks, guns, and brutal suppression with thousands dying for the cause, and wins. 600,000,000 people have democracy. His actions later inspire Martin Luther King Jr. to use non-violence to inspire the US civil rights movement, bringing democracy to African-Americans. Those non-violent methods are used in what is then Czechoslavakia to bring down Communist rule (the "Velvet Revolution") and, after they're used in the Soviet Union to stop a hardliner coup in 1991 (causing the fall of the USSR & the birth of pseudo-Democracy in Russia), it's later used to topple the Ukrainian communists (the "Orange Revolution"). The fall of the rulers of both Egypt & Algeria also come from mostly pacifistic protest (though the Arab Spring is a huge mixed bag, and way too large to try to mash into a simple analogy)
( I betcha they don't teach THAT shit at Berkeley. )
Didn't go to Berkeley.
Which shows more courage- standing with a gun to face your enemies knowing you probably can kill some; or being the lone man standing in front of a tank in Tienanmen Square, knowing at best
you'll be beaten & imprisoned. Which of those is going to inspire others the most? Hard to say- depending on the situation it could be either. I know from personal experience that it's a lot harder to stand unarmed in front of a screaming crowd than it is to do it thinking you have the safety of a gun.
As for the native American bit, not sure where you were going with that so I'm not touching it.