Saturday, January 23, 2016

Love of country is what I do not feel when I am wronged, but what I felt when secure in my rights as a citizen.... the true lover of his country is not he who consents to lose it unjustly rather than attack it, but he who longs for it so much that he will go all lengths to recover it.

Alcibiades, as quoted by Thucydides, (The History of the Peloponnesian War)

Friday, January 22, 2016

It will be said, perhaps, that democracy is neither wise nor equitable, but that the holders of property are also the best fitted to rule.  I say, on the contrary, first, that the word demos, or people, includes the whole state, oligarchy only a part; next, that if the best guardians of property are the rich, and the best counselors the wise, none can hear and decide so well as the many; and that all these talents, severally and collectively, have their just place in a democracy. But an oligarchy gives the many their share of the danger, and not content with the largest part takes and keeps the whole of the profit.

 Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How do you ever know for certain that you are doing the right thing?

Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Try to do what you do without mockery of our heartbroken little era. To mock is easy.

Anne Carson, 1=1, New Yorker of January 11, 2016

Friday, January 01, 2016

Athenians: Aim at what is feasible, holding in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must....

Melians: As we think, at any rate, it is expedient —we speak as we are obliged, since you enjoin us to let right alone and talk only of interest— that you should not destroy what is our common protection, the privilege of being allowed in danger to invoke what is fair and right, and even to profit by arguments not strictly valid if they can be got to pass current....

Athenians:  Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a necessary law of their nature they rule wherever they can.....  It is certain that those who do not yield to their equals, who keep terms with their superiors, and are moderate towards their inferiors, on the whole succeed best.

  Thucydides (Book Five), The History of the Peloponnesian War