June 27, 2004

Demosthenes, On Enemies Far and Near

Since, however, you all know this, you must take it into account and not let the war pass into your own country; you must not invite catastrophe through keeping your eyes fixed on the simple strategy of your old war with the Lacedaemonians, but arrange your political affairs and your military preparations so that your line of defence may be as far away from Athens as possible, give him no chance of stirring from his base, and never come to close grips with him.

 For so far as a campaign is concerned, provided, men of Athens, we are willing to do what is necessary, we have many natural advantages, such as the nature of his territory, much of which may be harried and devastated, and countless others; but for a pitched battle he is in better training than we are.

[53] But it is not enough to adopt these suggestions, nor even to oppose him with active military measures, but both from calculation and on principle you must show your hatred of those who speak publicly on his behalf; and you must reflect that it is impossible to defeat the enemies of our city until you have chastised those who within our very walls make themselves their servants.

And that, as all Heaven is my witness, you will never be able to do; but you have reached such a height of folly or of madness or--I know not what to call it, for this fear too has often haunted me, that some demon is driving you to your doom, that from love of calumny or envy or ribaldry, or whatever your motive may be, you clamor for a speech from these hirelings, some of whom would not even disclaim that title, and you derive amusement from their vituperations.

 This is serious enough, but there is worse to follow; for you have granted to these men more security for the pursuance of their policy than to your own defenders.

-- Demosthenes, Third Philippic, 341 B.C.

Posted by Vanderleun at June 27, 2004 5:13 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Whoa, dude! I'm tempted to drag out my KJ and look up references to "headiness" and "vanity" on the Old Testament. It occurs to me that there's an absence of shame. Ted Rall makes some reference that he hopes Ronald Reagan is in hell, and then figures he deserves to be responded to with reasonableness and nuanced logic. Michael Moore produces a movie that's a travesty of documentary traditions, and that even embarasses Gwen Ifel, yet he seems as proud to be the papa of the heap of steaming junk.

It's not that they don't deserve opinions, or even radical views. It's that they have to clutch or brakes. They can't modulate. They'll race their engines until the wretched metal screams, exploding like a bomb, with sound and fury and no momentum whatever.

Got rope?

Posted by: Scott at June 28, 2004 12:20 AM