cicero

Cicero

A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly against the city.

But the traitor moves among those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through all alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.

For the traitor appears no traitor; he speaks in the accents familiar to his victim, and he wears their face and their garments and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men.

He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared. The traitor is the plague. — Marcus Tullius Cicero, from a speech given to the Roman Senate, recorded in approximately 42 B.C. by Sallust.

Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.

We hope you will join us in The Imaginative Conservative community. The Imaginative Conservative is an on-line journal for those who seek the True, the Good and the Beautiful. We address culture, liberal learning, politics, political economy, literature, the arts and the American Republic in the tradition of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Edmund Burke, Irving Babbitt, Wilhelm Roepke, Robert Nisbet, Richard Weaver, M.E. Bradford, Eric Voegelin, Christopher Dawson, Paul Elmer More and other leaders of Imaginative Conservatism. Some conservatives may look at the state of Western culture and the American Republic and see a huge dark cloud which seems ready to unleash a storm that may well wash away what we most treasure of our inherited ways. Others focus on the silver lining which may be found in the next generation of traditional conservatives who have been inspired by Dr. Kirk and his like. We hope that The Imaginative Conservative answers T.S. Eliot’s call to “redeem the time, redeem the dream.” The Imaginative Conservative offers to our families, our communities, and the Republic, a conservatism of hope, grace, charity, gratitude and prayer.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email