Saturday, May 15, 2021

A Few (More) Words From...Demosthenes

"'Well', some you may say, 'why tell us this now?'  Because, men of Athens, I want you to know and realize two things:  first, what an expensive game it is to squander your interests one by one; and secondly, the restless activity which is ingrained in Philip's nature (Philip II of Macedon, 382-336 B.C.), and which makes it impossible for him ever to rest on his laurels.  But if Philip adopts the principle that he ought always to be improving his position, and you the principle of never facing your difficulties resolutely, just reflect what is likely to be the end of it all.  Seriously, is anyone here so foolish as not to see that our negligence will transfer the war for Chalcidice to Attica?  Yet, if that comes to pass, I am afraid, men of Athens, that just as men who borrow money recklessly at high interest enjoy a temporary accommodation only to forfeit their estates in the end, so we may find that we have paid a heavy price for indolence, and because we consult our own pleasure in everything, may hereafter come to be forced to do many of the difficult things for which we had no liking, and may finally endanger our possessions in Athens itself."  - First Olynthic

"You cannot, I suppose, have a proud and chivalrous spirit, if your conduct is mean and paltry, any more than your spirit can be mean and humble, if your conduct is honourable and glorious; for whatever a man's pursuits are, such must be his spirit." - On Organization

"For there would have been no changes for better or worse in the fortune of states, had it not been that a nation in peril is guided to safety by good policy, good laws, and good citizens and by the observance of order in all things, but in the case of a nation that seems established in perfect prosperity, all these things, being neglected, slip away little by little.  For most men achieve prosperity by planning soundly and by despising nothing; but they do not take the trouble to guard it by the same means.  Let not this mistake be yours today, and do not think that you ought to ratify a law which will taint the reputation of our city in the time of her prosperity and, if ever a crisis comes, will leave her destitute of those who would be willing to do her service." - Against Leptines

"It is not right, Athenians, to cite the laws of the Lacedaemonians or of the Thebans in order to undermine the laws established here; it is not right that you should want to put a man to death for transplanting to Athens any of the institutions that have made those nations great, and yet lend a willing ear to those who propose to destroy the institutions under which our democracy has flourished."              - Against Leptines

6 comments:

  1. There is nothing new under the sun. We have been here before, and we will be here again. We can do nothing else.

    Freedom is not the natural state of man.

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    1. History is indeed one long repeat, Glen. And freedom is more often the exception than the rule.

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  2. Grammar leads to rhetoric leads to dialectic. There is a reason that our overlords seek to destroy the language, for without it, we have no way of forming a defense against their magic and lying fictions. Free people use reason like a sword. Slaves do not, and are forbidden from knowledge. But even a slave is allowed to sing.

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    1. Oddly enough, those who are most against freedom are the ones that preach it most boldly - only it is the freedom of the enclosure and cage, not true freedom.

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  3. Even though America is not a democracy; I like the last one best.

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    1. It is very relevant Linda, and since it is almost 2300 years old, all the more relevant because it demonstrates that the struggle for freedom is a continuous battle, not a one time event.

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