Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Socrates and Zionism

Sultan Knish and The Contentious Centrist seem at odds. I am with the latter. (Update: Snoopy too, I see. I am a dabbler, a babe in the woods on this, nevertheless...)
“Consider, then, Socrates,” the laws perhaps might say, “whether we say truly that in what you are now attempting you are attempting to do what is not just toward us. For we, having given you birth, nurtured, instructed you, and having imparted to you and all other citizens all the good in our power, still proclaim, by giving the power to every Athenian who pleases, when he has arrived at years of discretion, and become acquainted with the business of the state, and us, the laws, that any one who is not satisfied with us may take his property, and go wherever he pleases. And if any one of you wishes to go to a colony, if he is not satisfied with us and the city, or to migrate and settle in another country, none of us, the laws, hinder or forbid him going whithersoever he pleases, taking with him all his property.
“But whoever continues with us after he has seen the manner in which we administer justice, and in other respects govern the city, we now say that he has in fact entered into a compact with us to do what we order; and we affirm that he who does not obey is in three respects guilty of injustice—because he does not obey us who gave him being, and because he does not obey us who nurtured him, and because, having made a compact that he would obey us, he neither does so, nor does he persuade us if we do any thing wrongly; though we propose for his consideration, and do not rigidly command him to do what we order, but leave him the choice of one of two things, either to persuade us, or to do what we require, and yet he does neither of these.”
The words of Socrates in Plato’s Crito, arguing the case against evading his own death sentence. Socrates concludes the argument:
“Then, O Socrates! be persuaded by us who have nurtured you, and do not set a higher value on your children, or on life, or on any thing else than justice, that, when you arrive in Hades, you may have all this to say in your defense before those who have dominion there. For neither here in this life, if you do what is proposed, does it appear to be better, or more just, or more holy to yourself, or any of your friends; nor will it be better for you when you arrive there. But now you depart, if you do depart, unjustly treated, not by us, the laws, but by men; but should you escape, having thus disgracefully returned injury for injury, and evil for evil, having violated your own compacts and conventions which you made with us, and having done evil to those to whom you least of all should have done it—namely, yourself, your friends, your country, and us—both we shall be indignant with you as long as you live, and there our brothers, the laws in Hades, will not receive you favorably knowing that you attempted, so far as you were able, to destroy us. Let not Crito, then, persuade you to do what he advises, rather than we.”

These things, my dear friend Crito, be assured, I seem to hear as the votaries of Cybele seem to hear the flutes. And the sound of these words booms in my ear, and makes me incapable of hearing any thing else. Be sure, then, so long as I retain my present opinions, if you should say any thing contrary to these, you will speak in vain. If, however, you think that you can prevail at all, say on.

Critio: But, Socrates, I have nothing to say.

Socrates: Desist, then, Crito, and let us pursue this course, since this way the deity leads us.
Related: BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time on Socrates.

And I linked to it before, but here it is again: Uncle Eddie serves up Cicero.

UPDATE: Related, Radical Settlers Take On Israel, New York Times Sept. 25th 2008, also in the IHT.

‘Hundreds join’ settler violence, BBC News Oct. 2nd 2008.

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