Thucydides. Now there’s a mouthful! As usual, one of my linkers is doing a better job of citing the classics than I. In this case, Tim Sandefur is is at it again — first pleading guilty to the crime of pretentiousness for blogging about the ancients:

a charge of which I?m awfully guilty. Anyone who refers to Aristotle, Thrasymachus, Thucydides, Locke, Hobbes, Holmes? Lochner dissent, and the sarcastic wit of Homer J. Simpson in a single week?in a single post, even!?is certainly pretentious.

NOTE: these blogspot links are problematic; so you might have to scroll down.
Reviewing Donald Kagan’s new book on the Peloponnesian War, Sandefur notes with approval the author’s skepticism of Thucydides’ portrayal of the war, because

there are two views of the war, which have caused it to become something of a trophy in the ideological contests of the twentieth century. The Spartans claimed that they were freeing the Greek cities from the yoke of Athenian hegemony, and that the Athenians were creating an empire which was forcing its views on the people of Greece. The Athenians, of course, didn?t see it that way at all?they were out to help democracies, and to protect them against the growing influence of oligarchy, as supported by Sparta. Historians, however, have routinely taken the Spartan view of things, seeing Athens as the aggressor in the war, and more or less rooting for the Spartans. This parallels the twentieth century?s conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States, of course, in which the Soviets claimed to be pushing back American hegemony by arming the communist troops of various third-world countries. Americans, they said, were out there imposing democracy and capitalism on people. Americans, on the other hand, believed (and wouldn?t it be nice if they still believed?) that democracy and capitalism?that is to say, freedom?was the entitlement of all humanity, and that it is oppression, not liberty, that is imposed. But, of course, much of the academy takes the Soviet view of things, seeing America as the aggressor in the cold war, and more or less rooting for the Soviets.

Absolutely right, and you’d better read the whole thing yourself, as I am on the road in Des Moines Iowa, and without time to do justice to the whole Sandefur piece.
One thing is certain: Thucydides is often relied on by antiwar activists, as if he is the only ancient worthy of attention, which itself is suspicious. I was recently disgusted to watch a performance of “Trojan Women” updated for “today” — the Greek soldiers wearing American uniforms, and King Agamemnon wearing a suit and a hard hat — the spitting image of Dubya.
Years ago, when reading a prepared speech late after a very long day, the first President Bush stopped cold at the name “Thucydides,” and all he could do was stammer “THU-THU-THU-THU” (The speechwriter was in BIG trouble!)
That’s about the way I feel. Long day today! Tomorrow is THU- THU- THU-
READ THE WHOLE SANDEFUR PIECE ALL THE WAY THU, OK?
But what I had not expected was Tim Sandefur’s difficulty in, er, swallowing my KASS ICE CREAM quote. It is absolutely genuine, and I hand-copied it myself. If you don’t like it, I suggest taking it up with the guy who hates cones as much as he hates clones.
By the way, the famous Sandefur-Baude debate (which Baude has lost miserably) prominently featured ice cream as a central example.
That’s my dish for tonight!