The sneers of Callicles can be effective only against men of his own ilk. They fall flat before a man who is ready to die. . .
The argument [between Socrates and Callicles] is not yet directed personally against Callicles, but we feel the tension increasing toward the point where Callicles [in his speech] is co-responsible, through his conniving conduct, for the murder of Socrates and perhaps of Plato himself. The social conventions, [FR protocol?] which Callicles despises, are wearing thin; and the advocate of nature is brought to realize that he is a murderer face to face with his victim. The situation is fascinating for those among us who find ourselves in the Platonic [Socratic?] position and who recognize in the men with whom we associate today the intellectual pimps for power who will connive our murder tomorrow. . .
Insofar as a dialogue is an attempt at existential communication, it is an attempt to liberate the soul form its passions, to denude it of its body. Socrates speaks to his interlocutors as if they were "dead" souls, or at least as if they were souls who are capable of death. On the part of Socrates, the dialogue is an attempt to submit the others, at least tentatively, to the catharsis of death. The judgment of the dead thus is enacted in part in the dialouge itself, concretely, in the attempt of Socrates to pierce through the "body" of his interlocutors to their naked souls. He tries to make die, and thereby to make live, those who threaten him with death.
Well did Voegelin understand this. Unlike Heidegger, who became a willing tool of the Nazis, Voegelin spoke out against them, and so was stripped of his teaching credentials. When he learned that the Gestapo was about to pull his passport, he and his wife, Lisse, fled -- just in time. Sneering, murderous rhetoric inevitably leads to just plain murder.
Thank you so much for writing, cornelis.