I am aware that the

I am aware that the Sophists have many brave words and fair conceits, but I am afraid that being wanderers and having no habitation in one city or another and having never had habitations of their own, they… may not know what they do and say in time of war, when they are fighting and holding parley with their enemies.

Spoken by Socrates

Timeaus 19e.

It is a very old observation that “experts” take their name from being “out of towners”. A second observation is that many of the experts are what Socrates would undoubtedly call “Sophists”, i.e. teachers of trendy sham wisdom. As Socrates points out here, the stumbling block for such trendy teachers is war, when they do not know what to do, or what to say. They experience things like patriotism and love of a community from the outside- and they no doubt believe this gives them a more objective or impartial view of things.

And so the sophist has a reason to despise all war- why bother to fight for a house or home or community life if you don’t have one? Without concern for any of these things, we can always believe that “war is not the answer”, since we don’t even have an ability to understand the problem. He doesn’t understand what is threatened.

The sophist also never gets the benefit of having to deal with people in all of their diverse corruptions and faults, since he merely teaches willing and obedient students. He has no family, and so has no pressing need to understand what it means to have to punish or endure the insults of people who you deeply love. He need not confront overmuch the mad irrationality of people- people who will only treat your attempts to reason with them as invitations to use you for whatever they want. War makes no sense to those who do nothing but teach at a college level- why not just have a seminar where al the sides can get together and work things out (i.e. listens to me and tells me what I want to hear?)


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