The Meaning and History of ‘Molon Labe’

…the phrase has been used as a mark of defiance. Perhaps most famously was the English translation of the phrase and its appearance on a flag at the Battle of Gonzalez during the Texas Revolution.

by Tom Knighton at

Photo via Pixabay

A Handbook for Ranch Managers If there’s one phrase that’s ubiquitous throughout the firearm community, it may well be the words “Molon Labe.”

The phrase adorns stickers, rifles, and more than a few tattoos among the pro-gun crowd. However, it also seems that a number of people aren’t really familiar with the history of the phrase nor what it represents.

To get to the origins, we have to go a little ways back in history. In particular, back to 480 BC.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual  The origin of the phrase is intricately tied to the Battle of Thermopylae. There, the Persian king Xerxes wanted to invade Greece. Standing in his way was King Leonidas and 300 Spartans (and a number of Thespians and Thebans, though history often forgets them). Xerxes offered the Greeks their freedom and survival from the onslaught of his army which reportedly numbered in the millions.

When Xerxes ambassador told Leonidas this, the Spartan king is claimed to have answered, “Molon labe.”

The phrase means, “come and take them.”

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewWhen all was said and done, Leonidas was dead, as were his 300 Spartans, but tens of thousands of Xerxes troops were also slain. It was said to have been so bad that the Persians started to lose all taste for war.

Since then, the phrase has been used as a mark of defiance. Perhaps most famously was the English translation of the phrase and its appearance on a flag at the Battle of Gonzalez during the Texas Revolution.

Combat Shooter's Handbook Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits These days, it serves a similar function, though. It’s a more polite way to tell someone to “bring it on.”

You see, if someone like me says those two little words, we’re conveying a whole lot in a short period of time.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1) The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)  For one thing, we’re saying that we oppose any kind of gun control, that we won’t lay down our arms as a tyrant demanded of free people at Thermopylae. We’re saying that we’re committed to our cause, that we’re willing to die to protect our rights and the rights of our brothers and sisters.

More than that, though, it’s a warning.

When we say that, we’re warning lawmakers that if they push too far on gun control, they’re going to get a fight. It’s not a declaration of war, but it’s a warning that one will be coming if legislators decide they can take away our guns and ignore the Second Amendment. More than that, though, it’s a warning that the Second Amendment won’t go away quietly.

The truth of the matter is that gun owners tend to recognize that no people become enslaved unless they’re disarmed. No genocide happens unless people are disarmed. Atrocities which shock the world only happen to disarmed societies.

We Americans have decided that won’t be us.

The difference between some of us and other is that we recognize that America isn’t inherently immune to the thinking and hatred which causes these horrific events, so we stay armed to make damn sure it never happens.

Should such a tyrant come to power, we already know what will happen. He or she will demand our guns. They’ll give us all kinds of reasons why we should. They’ll likely get Congress to ban them all, and we’ll be told to turn them in.

In reply, all we’ll likely say are two words. “Molon labe.”

Tom Knighton is a Navy veteran, a former newspaperman, a novelist, and a blogger and lifetime shooter. He lives with his family in Southwest Georgia.


Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View

edited by

Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume

Is now available in both PAPERBACK and Kindle

BookCoverImageMurray N. Rothbard was the father of what some call Radical Libertarianism or Anarcho-Capitalism which Hans-Hermann Hoppe described as “Rothbard’s unique contribution to the rediscovery of property and property rights as the common foundation of both economics and political philosophy, and the systematic reconstruction and conceptual integration of modern, marginalist economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified moral science: libertarianism.”

This book applies the principles of this “unified moral science” to environmental and natural resource management issues.

The book started out life as an assigned reading list for a university level course entitled Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View.

As I began to prepare to teach the course, I quickly saw that there was a plethora of textbooks suitable for universal level courses dealing with environmental and natural resource economics. The only problem was that they were all based in mainstream neo-classical (or Keynesian) theory. I could find no single collection of material comprising a comprehensive treatment of environmental and natural resource economics based on Austrian Economic Theory.

However, I was able to find a large number of essays, monographs, papers delivered at professional meetings and published from a multitude of sources. This book is the result. It is composed of a collection of research reports and essays by reputable scientists, economists, and legal experts as well as private property and free market activists.

The book is organized into seven parts: I. Environmentalism: The New State Religion; II. The New State Religion Debunked; III. Introduction to Environmental and Natural Resource Economics; IV. Interventionism: Law and Regulation; V. Pollution and Recycling; VI. Property Rights: Planning, Zoning and Eminent Domain; and VII. Free Market Conservation. It also includes an elaborate Bibliography, References and Recommended Reading section including an extensive Annotated Bibliography of related and works on the subject.

The intellectual level of the individual works ranges from quite scholarly to informed editorial opinion.


Check out our WebSite

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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