The painting "The Death of Socrates" with a stamp reading "cancelled" superimposed on it

Florida Republican Who Claimed Socrates Would Be “Cancelled Real Quick” Today Is Getting a History Lesson on Twitter

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Florida State Rep. Anthony Sabatini is currently running for U.S. Congress, and it appears he’s taken up the increasingly popular Republican platform of “owning libs.” Looking at his Twitter account, he doesn’t seem to like talking about actual issues affecting his constituents, but he does love tweeting things like “WOKE IDIOTS EVERYWHERE” and “END THE MASK CULT NOW!!!”

He also tweeted his concerns about “cancel culture” and its hypothetical impact on centuries-dead philosophers. “If Socrates was out philosophizing in American society today, he would be cancelled real quick,” Sabatini tweeted Thursday.

A lot of people were quick to point out that Sabatini very clearly doesn’t know anything at all about Socrates.

If Sabatini had done a little research before very obviously just naming the first philosopher he could think of, he might have learned that Socrates was, in fact, cancelled in his own time. And by cancelled, I don’t mean he lost a book deal or voluntarily chose to quit his job at a major publication or any of the other things conservatives love to call cancellation.

No, Socrates was actually cancelled, by which I mean he was put on trial for his political beliefs and executed.

This is like, very much a thing he should know.

In some ways, Socrates is the perfect philosopher for Sabatini, given he never actually wrote down any of his teachings so we only have them secondhand, and obstinate, dogma-driven conservatives like him love to twist the legacies of long-dead public figures to suit their agendas.

There’s also that famous quote attributed to Socrates: “I know that I know nothing,” or perhaps “The only true wisdom is to know that you know nothing.” Ancient quotes tend to get corrupted over the years, but as for the general sentiment (or a twisted version of it), yeah, I’d say knowing nothing and being proud of it is right up Sabatini’s alley.

(image: The Met Museum, Wikicommons)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.