Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (March 20, 2019)

"The... value of names... was changed into arbitrary.... Inconsiderate boldness, was counted true–hearted manliness: provident deliberation, a handsome fear: modesty, the cloak of cowardice: to be wise in every thing, to be lazy in every thing. A furious suddenness was reputed a point of valour. To re–advise for the better security, was held for a fair pretext of tergiversation. He that was fierce, was always trusty; and he that contraried such a one, was suspected. He that did insidiate, if it took, was a wise man; but he that could smell out a trap laid, a more dangerous man than he. But he that had been so provident as not to need to do the one or the other, was said to be a dissolver of society, and one that stood in fear of his adversary.

"In brief, he that could outstrip another in the doing of an evil act, or that could persuade another thereto that never meant it, was commended.... To be revenged was in more request than never to have received injury. And for oaths (when any were) of reconcilement, being administered in the present for necessity, were of force to such as had otherwise no power; but upon opportunity, he that first durst thought his revenge sweeter by the trust, than if he had taken the open way. For they did not only put to account the safeness of that course, but having circumvented their adversary by fraud, assumed to themselves withal a mastery in point of wit. And dishonest men for the most part are sooner called able, than simple men honest: and men are ashamed of this title, but take a pride in the other...":

Neville Morley: Lawful Neutral?: "Victor Davis Hanson, and the use of ‘consensual’ to describe attempts at doing without the active consent of the governed is a neat trick.... Hanson['s]... first chapter explicitly presents The Two Americas as an echo of Athens v Sparta, sophisticated coastal elites versus rough unlettered rural folk, with the majority of Greek poleis rooting for the later. Hanson presents himself as the detached observer, who lives among the real people of the countryside on his ancestral estate but knows his way around the world of the city–and so his choice to side with the ‘Spartans’ is based on full knowledge and understanding of both sides, not the ignorance of knowing no other way of life (a fault of the clever Californian and Beltway elites as well).... His depiction of a divided America is Thucydidean not only in its chosen tropes but in authorial self-conception: he... recognises, even as he recoils from... the charisma and power of a Cleon, despising and desiring at the same time his rough anti-aristocratic manliness; Cleon’s methods are not those of Thucydides’ class, but they promise to have the desired effect on the corrupt status quo, simultaneously too democratic and anti-populist. This Thucydides is Chaotic Evil: dedicated (even if just as cheer-leader) to... the triumph of individualism and naked self-interest.... As Thucydides described and this modern Thucydides exemplifies, every action is praiseworthy insofar as it benefits one’s own faction and hurts the enemy, and reckless vulgarity and self-interest are redefined as the traits of an off-putting Homeric hero...