A fable from Aesop. How true of individuals and states when they try to excuse their acts of aggression.
Αἴλουρος καὶ ἀλεκτρυών.
Αἴλουρος, συλλαβὼν ἀλεκτρυόνα, μετ’ εὐλόγου τοῦτον αἰτίας ἠβουλήθη καταφαγεῖν. Καὶ δὴ κατηγόρει αὐτοῦ ὡς ὀχληρὸς εἴη τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νύκτωρ κεκραγὼς καὶ μὴ συγχωρῶν ὕπνου τυγχάνειν. Τοῦ δ’ ἀπολογουμένου ἐπὶ τῇ ἐκείνων ὠφελείᾳ τοῦτο ποιεῖν, ὡς ἐπὶ τὰ συνήθη τῶν ἔργων ἐγείρεσθαι, πάλιν ὁ αἴλουρος αἰτίαν ἐπέφερεν ὡς ἀσεβὴς εἴη περὶ τὴν φύσιν, μητρὶ καὶ ἀδελφαῖς συμμιγνύμενος. Τοῦ δὲ καὶ τοῦτο πρὸς ὠφέλειαν τῶν δεσποτῶν πράττειν φήσαντος, πολλῶν αὐτοῖς ἐντεῦθεν ὠῶν τικτομένων, ὁ αἴλουρος εἰπών: ” Ἀλλ’ εἰ σύ γε πολλῶν εὐπορεῖς εὐπροσώπων ἀπολογιῶν, ἔγωγε μέντοι ἄτροφος οὐ μενῶ ,” τοῦτον κατεθοινήσατο.
Ὁ μῦθος δηλοῖ ὅτι ἡ πονηρὰ φύσις πλημμελεῖν αἱρουμένη, εἰ μὴ μετ’ εὐλόγου δυνηθείη προσχήματος, ἀπαρακαλύπτως γε μὴν πονηρεύεται.
The cat and the rooster
A cat, having caught a cockerel, wanted a reasonable excuse for eating it. So he accused it of being a nuisance to men by crowing in the night and not allowing them to sleep. When he defended himself that he was doing it for their benefit to wake them up for their daily work, the cat came back with the excuse that he was a pervert and had sex with his mother and sisters. When he said that he did this as well for the benefit of his owners as many eggs were laid by them, the cat said “Well you are full of fine sounding defences, but I am not going to go without my dinner.” and he gobbled him up.
This fable shows that when a bad nature wants to do wrong, if it can’t find a reasonable excuse, it goes ahead with its wrong without any pretext.