The Tyrant’s Go-To Insults (Summer in the Republic 36)

Eidos | 7/12/2018 | Staff
abbycraig (Posted by) Level 3
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Some things change. Abraham Lincoln never sent a text to the Tsar of all the Russias. Some things do not change: tyrants losing an argument have some “go to” insults. These can vary, but a core of insults exist and they do not change for a reason. The tyrant believes he deserves to rule.

As a result, he is rarely crude in his put-downs. Instead, he will write or talk as if he obviously is right, ethical, or on the side of history and then be shocked when people are offended. He is not crude. He calls nobody bad names. He merely argues for the truth, the rational truth, the truth that every educated thinking person knows.

People

Why are people so upset?

This continues until power is challenged and then the gloves are slipped off the hands and the openly violent attacks begin. Of course, the excuse will be that “they” (those uneducated, uncouth them) started the tough talk. We were merely being reasonable and “their” ideas did not even rise to the level of being wrong and so we did not discuss them. Why then are they so mad? We had ignored and patronized them, not called them bad names! We said nothing about their ideas, for good or bad, at the institutions they paid to build, yet they crudely resisted us, their betters.

Socrates - Cutter - Parody - Go - Aristophanes

Socrates, ugly stone cutter, was easy to parody. Go read Aristophanes The Clouds, though of course when he got too uppity about corruption in education, we had to kill him. Why couldn’t he be more reasonable? Before breaking out the hemlock, intellectual tyrants, the sophists who run things for money, will go negative.

Plato shows this when the educator for tyrants, Thrasymachus, gets irritated with Socrates’ refusal to lose like a gentleman. Instead, Socrates keeps looking for the truth...
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