Sunday, December 23, 2007

Reading bits of H.L. Mencken's translation of The Antichrist to work up some more proper xmas spirit:

"The deaths of the martyrs, it may be said in passing, have been misfortunes of history: they have misled ... The conclusion that all idiots, women and plebeians come to, that there must be something in a cause for which any one goes to his death (or which, as under primitive Christianity, sets off epidemics of death-seeking) — this conclusion has been an unspeakable drag upon the testing of facts, upon the whole spirit of inquiry and investigation. The martyrs have damaged the truth.... Even to this day the crude fact of persecution is enough to give an honorable name to the most empty sort of sectarianism. — But why? Is the worth of a cause altered by the fact that some one had laid down his life for it? — An error that becomes honorable is simply an error that has acquired one seductive charm the more: do you suppose, Messrs. Theologians, that we shall give you the chance to be martyred for your lies? — One best disposes of a cause by respectfully putting it on ice — that is also the best way to dispose of theologians .... This was precisely the world-historical stupidity of all the persecutors: that they gave the appearance of honor to the cause they opposed — that they made it a present of the fascination of martyrdom .... Women are still on their knees before an error because they have been told that some one died on the cross for it. Is the cross, then, an argument?"

Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas!

Peretz is sleeping peacefully on the turquoise couch.

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