Many familiar with Greek mythology and the story of Athena would have a hard time seeing where it fits with our current economy or political landscape. Not only was Athena considered the goddess of wisdom but there were a few other things under her domain:
o (Just) Warfare
o the Arts
Athena was conceived from an encounter between Zeus and Metis, goddess of craft, thought, and wisdom, despite his swallowing Metis (taken from the playbook of his father Cronus).
Zeus was trying to avoid a prediction of siring children that would possess more power than him.
It was too late, as soon thereafter during a violent headache someone grabs a Minoan axe (the axe-wielder could have been Prometheus, Hephaestus, Hermes, Ares, or Palaemon) and whack!!! Out of Zeus' brain pops Athena-in full body armor. Despite his initial fear, Zeus comes to view Athena as his favorite and even allows her the use of his lightning bolts.
Athena gains a reputation as a fierce and brave warrior who only fights to protect her home from outside enemies. In her efforts to assist mankind in noble victories, she also invents numerous items.
Athena was all about justice; her goal was the triumph of civilization over the barbarians.
In 1482 Lorenzo the Magnificent of the Medici family commissioned a painting by Sandro Botticelli as a wedding gift for his young cousin Lorenzo di Pierfranceso de Medici. The younger cousin and his brother orphaned early and their wealth was borrowed to help run the family empire during difficult times, yet they still recouped enough fortune to live very decadent lifestyles. In fact, he was described as a medieval lord who actually killed servants (sent Ad patre) and was said to have had no less than six children with each servant's wife.
He was known to be brutal, sensual, debauched and violent.
His marriage to Seminamide Appiano, it was thought, would calm him and his antics. Hence, the painting of Athena and the captured Centaur-a symbol of lust and aggression.
Born Fully Armored
Fast forward to today in America. There is certainly a war afoot that some think just in its efforts to curtail the lust of wealth and the barbaric treatment of those that fail under capitalism. The media would have us believe President Obama and the economic rebound are both current visions of Athena-one ready to civilize a nation clinging to guns and religion and the other born overnight fully armored.
With the right press coverage there could be triumph over the barbarians of Wall Street and Main Street. Anyone lusting after outsized wealth could be struck with Zeus' lightning bolts.
Of course, there are many differences between the Greek myth and the American myth. Athena fought foreign enemies (barbarians were anyone that didn't speak Greek) not homegrown successes. Athena displayed courage, the kind it will take politicians on both sides of the aisle to discover one day so hard choices can be made now rather than later. Those choices will lead to political ruin, only to lead to grand statues and paintings of glory in later years.
Athena empowered men, especially single individuals, with tools to become great while current wisdom is to take away power from great individuals and give it to the collective.
Oddly, those men not willing to pick up the bridle, rake, plow, or yoke or man a ship and drive a chariot as well as take care of their children, are given a free pass and even protected with an umbrella of excuses in today's America. These men are not required to learn math or cultivate skills if they live in bad neighborhoods but can share in the gains of those that power ahead to acquire such knowledge and put it to work.
My greatest fear is America's future will be sent Ad parte before our progeny gets a chance to enjoy the wonders of hard work and its rewards.
Economy in Full Bloom
I must say it's almost comical to listen to economists and others opine on the greatness of this economy. Pointing to mergers of also-rans like Office Max OMX, Office Depot ODP and Dell DELL as evidence that rich people are putting money to work as a sign of confidence is disingenuous. Saying Warren Buffet bought Heinz because of the administration's miraculous turnaround of the economy is silly and misses the point. Buffett's partners probably were lured by the amazing growth of the product in Brazil and eventually the rest of the world not adopting socialist policies.
The interesting thing is there has been a "mission accomplished" banner hanging over the economy from the start as if somehow the economy was reborn in full bloom. Lower unemployment as a byproduct of an exodus out of the jobs market has been presented as sign of this economy's greatness. The Federal Reserve is pumping in $85 billion a month on top of a couple of trillion dollars and still the economy is wobbly, and not from the weight of its armor. Still, we are being told to believe in the myth of the surging economy.
Of course, if you believe the economy was reborn on inauguration day 2009 then you must be ready to blame the GOP when the numbers get worse and harder to spin. This perhaps worries me most when it comes to the economy - it might get bad enough that even the media can't cover it up anymore. The truth is the economy is an afterthought in this world of social justice. In order for the Athena of the Left to win the economy will have to stumble, oil prices would necessarily go higher and the poor would escape criticism and accountability as everyone else is made to pay.
It's the current notion of fairness. I don't think there is any virtue in actions that have resulted in the worst post-recession recovery in history. For those that support the ideology then simply say that's the case, but it's dishonest to lie to the public while attempting to create a myth of the man and the economy.