Am I a man or a mouse? Er, I’m not entirely sure I remember which is the socially acceptable answer and which is the funny one in the old Three Stooges routine with which I associate the question. Back in those days, everyone would have been familiar with that proverbial disjunction, along with the presumptive answer, without which the joke wouldn’t have worked. Even now I seem to recall those vague stirrings of indignation the question was meant to evoke. If you don’t stand up for yourself, if you don’t demand respect from the disrespectful, if you don’t, to take a random example, rebuke those who presume to tell you what you are allowed to think and for whom you are allowed to vote, then you will get no respect, not even from yourself. And you will have such feelings of demoralization and depression even if you agree with those who...

 

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