Pericles: Last Speech
(Thucydides Book II, 59-64)
" I expected this outbreak of anger on your part against me, since I understand the reasons for it; and I have called an assembly with this object in view: to remind you of your previous resolutions and to put forward my own case against you, if we find that there is anything unreasonable in your anger against me and in your giving way to your misfortunes. My own opinion is that when the whole State is on the right course it is a better thing for each separate individual than when private interests are satisfied but the State as a whole is going down hill. However well off a man may be in his private life, he will still be involved in the general ruin if his country is destroyed. On the other hand, so long as the state itself is secure, individuals have a much greater chance of recovering from their personal misfortunes. Therefore, since a State can support individuals in their suffering, but no one person by himself can bear the load that rests upon the State, is it not right for us all to rally to her defense? Is it not wrong to act as you are doing now? For you have been so dismayed by disaster in your homes that you are losing your grip on the common safety; you are attacking me for having spoken in favor of war and yourselves for having voted for it.
"So far as I am concerned, if you are angry with me, you are angry with one who has, I think, at least as much ability as anyone to see what ought to be done, and to explain what he sees, one who loves his city and one who is above being influenced by money. A man who has the knowledge but lacks the power to express it clearly is no better off than if he never had any ideas at all. A man who has both these qualities, but lacks patriotism, could scarcely speak for his own people as he should. And even if he is patriotic as well, but not able to resist a bribe, then this one fault will expose everything to the risk of being bought and sold. So, if at the time when you took my advice and went to war you considered that my record with regard to these qualities was even slightly better than that of others, then now surely, it is quite unreasonable for me to be accused of having done wrong...."
John Paul Adams, CSUN