2013-03-11 18:15

Unfortunate Phrases by Famous People

Like this one:

When your country is at risk, everything is allowed, except not defending it.

—José de San Martín

For non-argentinian readers, imagine if that was said by a combination Washington/Lincoln level figure famous for leading three countries to get rid of the spaniards and also for a list of advices for young ladies, whose biography is titled "The saint with a sword".

So, anyway, he said that. And that phrase is bad, bad, bad, unfortunate and horrible.

It's that bad because while a nice slogan to rally farmers into becoming soldiers in the army of a nation that doesn't quite exist yet, it's awful advice for people who live in an actual nation, with actual laws, an actual army, and people who worship whatever crap you happened to say, José.

It starts with the flaky premise "when your country is at risk" which means too little, or too much, depending on just how much you need an excuse to do something horrible.

If you really want to be a bad person, I am sure you can convince yourself that gays, immigrants, foreigners, muslims, jews, the young are all a danger to your country, somehow. You just need to stretch "danger" a little or maybe push "your country" somewhat.

And once you jumped that hurdle, and you are convinced your "country" is "at risk", why, then you can do anything. Unsurprisingly this stupid line is often framed in military offices, and is a tired trope in military speeches.

I quite like José de San Martín. This quote, however, is unfortunate.

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