Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Wednesday, April 07, 2004
And now she knows how Joan of Arc felt...

Thanks to the generosity of one Ilario Vige, I have just received Oriana's latest by priority mail from Italy. It looks like this book is even longer than Rabbia. Here's what the quote on the back cover says:
This time I do not appeal to rage, to pride, to passion. I appeal to Reason. And together with Mastro Cecco who is once again burned at the stake lit by irrationality I tell you: we must regain the Force of Reason.
I had never heard of Mastro Cecco before. According to the two seconds of research I've found time for, this is apparently a reference to Francesco Stabili, called Cecco d' Ascoli. He was a priest who was burnt alive for saying, with regard to the temptations of Christ, that it is not possible to see all the Earth from a mountaintop as described in the gospels.

I have mixed feelings about the analogy. Yes, Oriana has been figuratively burned at the stake by the European liberal establishment. She's been sued and excoriated and dismissed and ridiculed. But she's also been lionized and feted and sold over a million books. So presumably she has a much easier time than poor Cecco did laughing all the way to the pyre. More importantly, I'm inclined to worry about an appeal to Reason that begins with the announcement that one is a martyr. It makes me wonder whether she's the kind of martyr who is so dispassionately focused on truth that the fact of her martyrdom is irrelevant, or the kind who courts and glories in her martyrdom. Is she Socrates, or Antigone?

We shall see.

Update: Bad choice of words. I should have said "singlemindedly," not "dispassionately." Socrates was quite passionate about truth.

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