We still have dangerous Zealots among us today. Here’s how to spot them.
I remember when I first read the Bible long ago and came across the disciple called Simon Zelotes. (Acts 1:13) That’s odd, I thought, he has a last name, the other guys have a first name like Peter or James, the son of Alphaeus. But then our last names, such as Smith, often means we are the “sons” of a metalworker. Lots of Smiths, prolific guys, those metalworkers.
But I found out Zelotes was a title and it meant Zealot or “Revolutionary Hothead,” Jesus’ disciple was Simon the Revolutionary Hothead. The history of revolutionary hotheads is covered beautifully in J.H. Billington’s book Fire in the Minds of Men. The results of revolutionary hotheads is pretty much death, destruction and chaos.
We do not know what became of Simon the Revolutionary Hothead; perhaps he calmed down, got married and raised a family. He probably did not join the other Zealots in 66 AD, when they tried to overthrow the Roman Empire in Judea. “To arms! Give me liberty or give me death!” The Romans, predictably, gave them death.
But their revolt went on for three years, quickly shifting from fighting the Romans to fighting the Jews who were not hotheads. More Jews died from attacks and deliberate starvation meted out by the Zealots than from the Roman army. This sort of suicidal self-destruction is typical of Zealots, who, by the way, were not wiped out in 70 AD and who, today, are often guests on Fox News.
We still have Zealots, who are always a subset of any population. Usually young men, for kind of obvious reasons, they show up again and again down through history. The Bolsheviks, the Tamil Tigers, ISIS, the Taliban, the NeoCons…the fire of certainty burns so brightly in their brains, they want to kill anyone who disagrees with them, even-(no, especially!)-the enemy within; i.e. anyone who thinks they are insane.
“Their most basic belief was that all means were justified to attain political and religious liberty…The Romans vanquished the Galilee, and an estimated 100,000 Jews were killed or sold into slavery. The highly embittered refugees who succeeded in escaping the Galilean massacres fled to Jerusalem. There, they killed anyone in the Jewish leadership who was not as radical as they…and not one died at the hands of a Roman. All were killed by fellow Jews.
Jews had stockpiled a supply of dry food that could have fed the city for many years. But one of the warring Zealot factions burned the entire supply, apparently hoping that destroying this “security blanket” would compel everyone to participate in the revolt. The starvation resulting from this mad act caused suffering as great as any the Romans inflicted.”
So beware the Zealots among us. Their enemy is anyone whose brain does not blaze like their own and “Their most basic belief is that all means are justified…”
Note: I was cussed out for writing this by a Revolutionary Hothead who said I was…lots of filthy things, because where would we be without “Give me liberty or give me death?” But no, our founding fathers did not think everybody who disagreed with them should be killed AND Patrick Henry later apologized for that statement. Suck it up, Hothead.