Un sofista / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

A Sophist

     Mister Leopoldo Lugones continues to annoy us with his newspaper and instruction manual erudition.
     Lately he enunciates his political ideas, adopting the arrogance of one who publishes predictions. He limits himself to reproducing the impertinent and antiquated deliriums of Nietzsche. He maliciously confuses democracy with the fold, and he treats it with the arrogant and unintelligent disdain of a patrician from Greco-Roman antiquity. He remembers the improprieties of Theognis, the ferocious oligarch of Megara, and the autocratic thesis of Guizot, the odious freedman, ungrateful to the French Revolution. He is unaware that democracy is directed at suppressing artificial inequality, and is the only regime capable of provoking the coming of an individual aristocracy, as a term for plain and frank competition.
     He resoundingly denies the efficacy of ideas, and affirms that man’s intelligence only serves for passive adaptation and doesn’t go beyond being a mechanism that registers, inept for guiding the course of life. Herbert Spencer wouldn’t have expressed himself with more naivete in 1860.
     Lugones sees in man the vicious and egotistical beast. He omits the innate feeling of solidarity, and takes warrior metaphors of Darwin literally. He professes a refuted biology.
     By this same road he identifies the law with its observance or with force, forgetting the primitive notion of justice is born from sympathy. We feel ourselves threatened when we witness the grievance inferred by our brother.
     The political ideas of mister Lugones can only be measured with his opinions as a close reader of Homer. He affirms that knight errantry is the imitation of the heroes of the Trojan cycle and, starting from such a premise, he doesn’t hesitate to boldly rectify the humanist Alfredo Croisset, regarding Diomedes.
     He fights in a puerile manner with Christianity, and refers to it as Nazarene barbarism, usurping the famous adjective of Heinrich Heine. He rejects the notion that the knightly ideal is sustained by devotion to the Mother of Jesus, professed in a unanimous manner by superhuman paladins. The Middle Ages perfectly ignored Homer. Dante himself was removed from the speech and civilization of the Greeks, and he knew them through Virgil.

Originally published in the newspaper El Nuevo Diario in Caracas, 27 January 1926.

{ José Antonio Ramos Sucre, Obra completa, Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1989 }

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