Saturday, May 22, 2004

I am not going to speak to you at all about the justice or injustice of your conduct. I know very well that this word is nothing but noise, when it is a question of the general interest. I could speak to you about the means by which you could succeed, and ask you whether you are strong enough to play the role of oppressors; this would be closer to the heart of the matter. However I will not even do that, but I will confine myself to imploring you to cast your eyes on the nations who hate you: ask them; see what they think of you, and tell me to what extent you have resolved to make your enemies laugh at you.

Denis Diderot in June 1776 to John Wilkes in reference to British pursuit of war to suppress the American colonies, as quoted by Emma Rothschild in The New York Review (March 25, 2004).

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