A sad case of idiocy said in Latin
I think Latin is a glorious language. I once tried to learn it but my active disinterest in and aversion to grammar stopped me.
However, Latin also conveys an automatic aura of profundity to words. Which means that nonsense can get away with being nonsense.
“Si vis pacem, para bellum.” If you want peace, prepare for war. This sentence has a nice paradoxical ring to it and people love to quote it. The paradox and the Latin makes it a hip meme; your mouth kind of feels intelligent when saying it.
But what is actually being said? That if you want peace, prepare for its opposite. In some instances where values need to be defended, it is relevant. But it’s a lousy truth.
For if you want war, you will of course prepare for war, too. Whatever your goal, you will prepare for war. Gosh, how the military-industrial complex loves that logic!
So prepare for war in all cases, and what do you get? WAR!
“Prepare” is an interesting word. When we prepare a dinner we are going to eat what we prepared.
We don’t think that we can prepare tomato soup and then eat Wienerschnitzel. But that’s exactly what we imagine when we prepare for war and expect peace.
Let’s rewrite this. If you want peace, prepare to think hard. Cause the war impulse is so ingrained with us, so sneaky, so manipulative, that it will find all kinds of excuses for itself.
Some of them in fancy Latin.