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June 19, 2004

That's So Damn Smart-Sounding I Wish I Understood What the Hell it Meant

Doug, commenting upon something I said over at Allah's Paradise, actually attacks honesty as a virtue.

I'm always a big fan of 1) contrarianism 2) cynicism and 3) interesting writing generally. I don't know if I agree with any of the following, but damn, it sure sounds pretty smooth as you go through it.

"Again: Anger is his right. Dishonesty about that anger is not."

Nietzsche called honesty "the youngest virtue," which was his deft way of pointing out that it hadn't been considered a virtue for very long. Right, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor," so the prohibition against lying in court has been around for thousands of years. But all that praise of "honesty," "sincerity," or "authenticity" is rather new.

So I'm going to sit here and speak honestly and say that if clever deceit--not Sullivan's kind, the clever kind--isn't a virtue, then it's at least virtuoso, which is better. On the other hand, my honesty may be a moral virtue, but it surely isn't virtuoso; it's a weakness born of my malicious enjoyment of wounding the weak-minded with the truth. And still I indulge my vice of honesty.

Really, I hope we win the "War on Terror" with every strategem of deceit (and violence) and I don't care whether we have a right to be dishonest. There are occasions when it's just lovely to be dishonest and we're in the middle of one.

In case it needs to be made clear, THIS post isn't about Sullivan. It's about the wussiness of going on about honesty as if it were just the greatest thing.

Praising honesty and sincerity a wussy value! Well! I'll give Doug one thing-- that position is, if nothing else, a novel one.

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posted by Ace at 02:40 AM

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