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Esto bonus miles, tutor bonus, arbiter idem
integer; ambiguæ si quando citabere testis
incertæque rei, Phalaris licet imperet ut sis
falsus et admoto dictet perjuria tauro,
summum crede nefas animam præferre pudori
et propter vitam vivendi perdere causas.
Be a good soldier, or upright trustee,
An arbitrator from corruption free;
And if a witness in a doubtful cause,
Where a bribed judge means to elude the laws,
Though Phalaris’ brazen bull were there,
And he would dictate what he’d have you swear,
Be not so profligate, but rather choose
To guard your honour, and your life to lose,
Rather than let your virtue be betray’d;
Virtue, the noblest cause for which you’re made.
–Decimus Junius Juvenalis (Juvenal), Satura viii, 79-84 (ca. 100 CE)(J. Dryden transl. 1692)(the key phrase here, “propter vitam vivendi perdere causas,” might be rendered more accurately, though less poetically, as “do not forsake the reasons for living in the interest of staying alive.”)
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Hours for which New Orleans’s airport was partly evacuated in February over a package later found to contain gumbo:
Researchers suggested that Abraham Lincoln suffered from a genetic mutation that destroys nerve cells in the cerebellum rather than Marfan disease, which makes people grow tall and thin, with long tapering fingers.
Greece evacuated 72,000 people from the town of Thessaloniki while an undetonated World War II–era bomb was excavated from beneath a gas station.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."