June 27, 2004

Demosthenes, On Disagreeable Patriots

The explanation is the same as at Athens, that the patriots, however much they desire it, cannot sometimes say anything agreeable, for they are obliged to consider the safety of the state; but the others by their very efforts to be agreeable are playing into Philip's hands.

The patriots demanded a war-subsidy, the others denied its necessity; the patriots bade them fight on and mistrust Philip, the others bade them keep the peace, until they fell into the snare. [64] 

Not to go into particulars, it is the same tale everywhere, one party speaking to please their audience, the other giving advice that would have ensured their safety. But at the last there were many things that the people were induced to concede, not as before for their own gratification nor through ignorance, but gradually yielding because they thought that their discomfiture was inevitable and complete.

A fine return the democrats of Eretria have gained for spurning your embassy and capitulating to Clitarchus! They are slaves, doomed to the whipping-post and the scaffold. A fine clemency he showed to the Olynthians, who voted Lasthenes their master of the horse and banished Apollonides! [67] It is folly and cowardice to cherish such hopes, to follow ill counsel and refuse to perform any fraction of your duties, to lend an ear to the advocates of your enemies and imagine that your city is so great that no conceivable danger can befall it.

 Ay, and a disgrace too it is to have to say, when all is over, “Why! who would have thought it? For of course we ought to have done this or that, and not so and so.” Many things could be named by the Olynthians today, which would have saved them from destruction if only they had then foreseen them. Many could be named by the Orites, many by the Phocians, many by every ruined city.

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

Posted by Vanderleun at June 27, 2004 5:24 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.

Ahh, I love the Greek allegory.

Posted by: athena at June 27, 2004 6:54 PM

(Donald sent me:)
The problem is humor ... the Left knows how to laugh at Reps (excluding rad-fems), and Reps get too angry/ defensive/ annoyed at liars calling honest truths lies.

I know the solution -- tell funnier jokes, with Leftists being the idiots.
(But I don't know the jokes.) Sort of the thing Reagan could do (and Bush can not).

The Left has the right to be useful idiots. I also suggest asking, over and over, for the "standard". How many can die in a "wildly successful" Iraq? What would one call an Iraq with 10 000 American casualties?

Will Kerry really stop Iran, and terrorists, from getting nukes? (whoops there goes another terror nuke, whoops there goes ...)

Posted by: Tom Grey at June 29, 2004 7:56 AM