Giacomo Girolamo Casanova de Seingalt 1725 – 1798
From the introduction to Casanova’s Memoirs:
"You will be amused when you see that I’ve deceived, more than once, and without the slightest qualm of conscience, nitwits and scoundrels and fools. As to the deceit perpetrated upon women, let it pass, for, when love’s in the way, men and women as a general rule dupe each other. But fools are a very different matter. I always feel the greatest bliss when I remember those I’ve caught in my snares, for they’re generally insolent, and so self-conceited that they challenge intelligence. We avenge intelligence when we deceive a fool, and it’s a victory not to be despised, for a fool’s covered with steel armor and it’s often very hard to find his vulnerable part. In fact, deceiving a fool seems to me an exploit worthy of an intelligent man. I have felt in my very blood, ever since I was born, a most unconquerable hatred of the whole tribe of fools, and it arises from the fact that I become a fool whenever I’m in their company. They’re not in the same class with men we call stupid, for stupid men are stupid only from a lack of education, and I rather like them. I’ve known some of them – very honest fellows – who, with all their stupidity, had a kind of intelligence and an upright good sense, which are not the characteristics of fools. They are like eyes veiled with cataracts, which, if the cataract could be removed, would be extremely beautiful."