when a man goes out to fight for the truth..never wear his best pants.


Senior Member
Source: News Brief: Immigration Negotiations, False Missile Warning

HORSLEY: So we'll see if it comes to pass this time. Jeff Flake the Arizona Republican is criticizing the president for using the term fake news and for calling the press the enemy of the people. That reminds me of the Ibsen play by that title with my favorite line - when a man goes out to fight for the truth, he should never wear his best pants.
Hi everyone! How should I understand the bold part? Thanks in advance.
  • As Horsley says, he is referring to a line in the play An Enemy of the People, by Ibsen.

    You will find the dialogue in Act V:
    Dr. Stockmann. Are you suggesting that I should stay here, where they have pilloried me as an enemy of the people—branded me—broken my windows! And just look here, Katherine—they have torn a great rent in my black trousers too!

    Mrs. Stockmann. Oh, dear!—and they are the best pair you have got!

    Dr. Stockmann. You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth. It is not that I care so much about the trousers, you know; you can always sew them up again for me. But that the common herd should dare to make this attack on me, as if they were my equals—that is what I cannot, for the life of me, swallow!

    The Project Gutenberg E-text of An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen

    Minnesota Guy

    Senior Member
    American English - USA
    The implication is that when you go out to fight on behalf of the truth, you will be treated roughly by your opponents. If you wear nice clothing, it will get damaged.