The philosophy that inspired this design comes from various historical writings and events. Regarding ancient historical influences, Thucydides (pictured), the Athenian general and historian who authored History of the Peloponnesian War wrote, “And yet, Lacedaemonians, you fail to see that peace stays longest with those, who are not more careful to use their power justly than to show their determination not to submit to injustice.” Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, a writer of the Later Roman Empire, phrased this concept more simply in De re militari (“Concerning Military Matters”) by stating, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” This concept was so integral to Roman military philosophy that Mars, the god of war, was depicted on the Ara Pacis Augustae (“Altar of Augustan Peace,”) an elaborate alter commemorating a period of peace. (Ancient Roman society had many problems, but Rome clearly had effective military philosophy.)

The founders of the greatest temporarily-free nation in the history of the world also believed in this principle. George Washington expressed it thusly: “There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet an enemy.” And these timeless and eloquent words from the divinely-inspired Declaration of Independence, “We must hold our Brittish brethren, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends,” remind us that under the influence of a tyrannical government the more reprobate of our fellow countrymen may turn against the peaceful among us as enemies in war even though we would prefer to maintain a civil relationship.

All this wisdom and experience of great wars and warriors, of victory and defeat, of nations and tragedies, has been condensed into the watered-down adage, “The best defense is a good offense,” a casual remark that brings nothing to mind of greatness, of courage, or valor, or patriotism. I know that these attributes are still alive in the hearts of many Americans who will never submit to tyrants or their minions.

Just as there are different types of warfare (war on freedom, war on morality, war on Christianity, et cetera), there are different ways to resist aggression. I have chosen the medium of art. My goal is to offer good men and women a united message to send to the world that we desire peace but we will not back down to the foreign and domestic enemies of freedom.

Possibly the most consistent theme in human history is that any group of people who can’t or won’t defend themselves will be conquered and either enslaved or slaughtered by tyrants or barbarians, both of which still pollute humanity in great numbers. I know of no exception to this rule in all of recorded history. In fact, the past century was one of history’s bloodiest due to the mass murder of untold millions of “lawfully” disarmed political dissidents by socialist/communist governments (also known as “democrats” today). So don’t be a Lacedaemonian! For as Plato wrote, “Only the dead have seen the end of war,” and even Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew chapter ten verse thirty-four.)

Notes:

• The design objects are not meant to spell a word, but to represent the acronym “COEXIST,” which is formed from the words “COunter EXtremist ISlamic Terror.” However, there are innumerable threats to freedom and peace and this design concept has expanded to represent opposition to evil and aggression in all their hideous forms.

• Although most of the objects in the design are common household items, the third object is more easily recognizable to some people than others. For clarification purposes it’s a set of handgun sights turned sideways.

• The AK magazine contains thirty mathematical bullets, even in California.