We're really beginning to look like an Art History seminar, aren't we? From the Thinker to the Wanderer, now to the courageously and cheerfully dying Questioner.
Alain de Botton found Socrates at the Met not long before me. Jacques-Louis David's 1786 "Death of Socrates" is an impressive, imposing piece, well worth postponing a Nesquick for. In Consolations of Philosophy he attests to another philosopher steeped in self-confidence against the onslaught of hysterical opposition, a rational confidence "grounded in philosophy," extending to us all "an invitation to intelligent skepticism."
Socrates was unpopular with the unreflective crowd, still a majority of his peers (and judges). But that didn't faze him, and it shouldn't faze us (though of course it often does). "Errors in our thought and way of life can [never] be proven simply by the fact that we have run into opposition. What should worry us is not the number of people who oppose us, but how good their reasons are for doing so." (That's an observation that should buoy the President's resolve on reforming health care, btw... but I hope he reads Michael Pollan on the subject too.)
This unwashed gadfly was prepared to hear (and evaluate) everyone's arguments. But he did not think that everyone's opinions were equally respectable. A bad argument is a bad argument, from whatever source. "One should respect the good ones..."
His accusers prosecuted him with atrocious arguments, yet he acceeded to the will of the majority and drank his hemlock. Bad choice, if you ask me. "We should not look to Socrates for advice on escaping a death sentence; we should look to him as an extreme example of how to maintain confidence in an intelligent position which has met with illogical opposition."