Simple Republic Book 8 (under construction)
- In the perfect State:
- wives and children are to be in common
- all education and war and peace are also to be common
- the best philosophers and the bravest warriors are to be their kings
- the governors, when appointed, will take their soldiers and place them in houses common to all, and contain nothing private
- About their property, no one was to have any of the ordinary possessions of mankind.
- they were to be warrior athletes and guardians, receiving from the other citizens, in lieu of annual payment, only their maintenance, and they were to take care of themselves and of the whole State.
- You said that:
- such a State was good
- the man was good who answered to it, although now you had more excellent things to relate both of State and man.
- if this was the true form, then the others were false.
- There were four false principal ones.
- Their defects, and the defects of the individuals corresponding to them, were worth examining.
- When we had seen all the individuals, we finally agreed as to who was the best and who was the worst.
- We then considered whether the best was not also the happiest, and the worst the most miserable.
- I asked you the four forms of government.
Then Polemarchus and Adeimantus put in their word. Glaucon: What are your 'four constitutions'?
- The four governments are:
- Those of Crete and Sparta.
- These are generally applauded
- Oligarchy comes next.
- This is not equally approved.
- It is a form of government which teems with evils
- Democracy, which naturally follows oligarchy, although very different
- Tyranny is fourth
- It is great and famous
- It differs from them all
- It is the worst disorder of a State.
- There are lordships and principalities which are bought and sold, and some other intermediate forms of government.
- But these are nondescripts and may be found equally among Hellenes and barbarians.
Yes, we hear of many curious forms of government among them.
- Governments vary as the dispositions of men vary
- There must be as many of the one as there are of the other.
- States are not made of 'oak and rock.'
- They are made out of the human natures which are in them, and which in a figure turn the scale and draw other things after them
Yes, the States grow out of human characters.
- If the constitutions of States are five, the dispositions of individual minds will also be five.
- We have already described he who answers to aristocracy, who is right and good
- Let us now describe the inferior sort of natures:
- The contentious and ambitious, who answer to the Spartan polity
- The oligarchical
- The democratical
- The tyrannical
- Let us place the most just by the side of the most unjust,
- When we see them we shall be able to compare the relative happiness or unhappiness of him who leads a life of pure justice or pure injustice.
- The enquiry will then be completed.
- And we shall know whether to:
- pursue injustice, as Thrasymachus advises, or
- in accordance with the conclusions of the argument to prefer justice.
- Shall we follow our old plan of taking the State first and then proceeding to the individual, and begin with the government of honour?
- I know of no name for such a government other than timocracy, or perhaps timarchy.
- We will:
- compare with this the like character in the individual;
- then consider oligarchy and the oligarchical man;
- then to democracy and the democratical man;
- and lastly, we will go and view the city of tyranny, and once more take a look into the tyrant's soul
- First, let us enquire how timocracy (the government of honour) arises out of aristocracy (the government of the best).
- All political changes originate in divisions of the actual governing power;
- a government which is united, however small, cannot be moved.
- How then, will our city be moved?
- How will the two classes of auxiliaries and rulers disagree among themselves or with one another?
- Shall we, after the manner of Homer, pray the Muses to tell us 'how discord first arose'?
- Shall we imagine them in solemn mockery, to play and jest with us as if we were children, and to address us in a lofty tragic vein, making believe to be in earnest?
How would they address us?
- A city which is thus constituted can hardly be shaken.
- But everything which has a beginning has also an end
- Even a constitution such as yours will not last for ever
- This is the dissolution:
- In plants and animals fertility and sterility of soul and body occur when the circumferences of the circles of each are completed.
- Short-lived existences pass over a short space, and in long-lived ones over a long space.
- But to the knowledge of human fecundity and sterility all the wisdom and education of your rulers will not attain;
- the laws which regulate them will not be discovered by an intelligence which is alloyed with sense.
- It but will escape them.
- They will bring children into the world when they should not.
- Divine birth has a period which is contained in a perfect number (i.e. a cyclical number, such as 6, which is equal to the sum of its divisors 1, 2, 3, so that when the circle or time represented by 6 is completed, the lesser times or rotations represented by 1, 2, 3 are also completed.),
- But the period of human birth is comprehended in a number in which first increments by involution and evolution (or squared and cubed) obtaining three intervals and four terms of like and unlike, waxing and waning numbers, make all the terms commensurable and agreeable to one another.
- (Probably the numbers 3, 4, 5, 6 of which the three first = the sides of the Pythagorean triangle.
- The terms will then be 3 cubed, 4 cubed, 5 cubed, which together = 6 cubed = 216.)
- The base of these (3) with a third added (4) when combined with five (20) and raised to the third power furnishes two harmonies;
- The first a square which is 100 times as great (400 = 4 x 100)
- (Or the first a square which is 100 x 100 = 10,000.
- The whole number will then be 17,500 = a square of 100, and an oblong of 100 by 75.),
- and the other a figure having one side equal to the former, but oblong, consisting of a hundred numbers squared upon rational diameters of a square (i.e. omitting fractions), the side of which is five (7 x 7 = 49 x 100 = 4900), each of them being less by one (than the perfect square which includes the fractions, sc. 50) or less by (Or, 'consisting of two numbers squared upon irrational diameters,' etc. = 100. For other explanations of the passage see Introduction.) two perfect squares of irrational diameters (of a square the side of which is five = 50 + 50 = 100); and a hundred cubes of three (27 x 100 = 2700 + 4900 + 400 = 8000). Now this number represents a geometrical figure which has control over the good and evil of births.
- For when your guardians are ignorant of the law of births, and unite bride and bridegroom out of season, the children will not be goodly or fortunate.
- And though only the best of them will be appointed by their predecessors, still they will be unworthy to hold their fathers' places, and when they come into power as guardians, they will soon be found to fail in taking care of us, the Muses, first by under-valuing music; which neglect will soon extend to gymnastic; and hence the young men of your State will be less cultivated.
- In the succeeding generation rulers will be appointed who have lost the guardian power of testing the metal of your different races, which, like Hesiod's, are of gold and silver and brass and iron.
- And so iron will be mingled with silver, and brass with gold.
- Hence there will arise dissimilarity and inequality and irregularity.
- These always and everywhere are causes of hatred and war.
- This the Muses affirm to be the stock from which discord has sprung, wherever arising; and this is their answer to us.
Yes. What do the Muses say next?
- When discord arose, then the two races were drawn different ways:
- the iron and brass fell to acquiring money and land and houses and gold and silver;
- but the gold and silver races, not wanting money but having the true riches in their own nature, inclined towards virtue and the ancient order of things.
- There was a battle between them, and at last they agreed to distribute their land and houses among individual owners;
- They enslaved their friends and maintainers, whom they had formerly protected in the condition of freemen, and made of them subjects and servants;
- They themselves were engaged in war and in keeping a watch against them.
You have rightly conceived the origin of the change.
- The new government which arises will be in between oligarchy and aristocracy, the perfect State
- The new State will:
- partly follow one and partly the other, and
- also have some peculiarities.
- this State will resemble the aristocracy in:
- the honour given to rulers
- the abstinence of the warrior class from agriculture, handicrafts, and trade in general
- the institution of common meals
- the attention paid to gymnastics and military training
- this State will resemble the oligarchy in:
- the fear of admitting philosophers to power, because they are no longer to be had simple and earnest, but are made up of mixed elements.
- turning to passionate and less complex characters, who are by nature fitted for war rather than peace
- the value set by war-like people on military strategy
- the waging of everlasting wars
- Men of this stamp will be covetous of money, like those who live in oligarchies.
- They will have:
- a fierce secret longing after gold and silver.
- magazines and treasuries to hoard such things.
- castles as nests for their eggs
- wives or on any others whom they please to spend on.
- They are miserly because they cannot openly acquire the money which they prize.
- They will spend that which is another man's on:
- the gratification of their desires,
- stealing their pleasures and
- running away like children from their father
- They have been schooled by force because they:
- have neglected reason and philosophy, the true Muse, and
- have honoured gymnastic more than music.
The form of government which you describe is a mix of good and evil.
- Only one thing is predominant—the spirit of contention and ambition
- These are due to the prevalence of the passionate or spirited element.
- Such is the origin and character of this State.
- A sketch of it is enough to show the type of the most perfectly just and most perfectly unjust.
- It would be an interminable work to go through all the States and all the characters of men
- How did the person in this government come into being?
- What is he like?
Adeimantus: I think that in the spirit of contention which characterises him, he is like Glaucon.
- Perhaps he may be like him in that one point.
- But there are other respects in which he is very different.
- He should:
- have more of self-assertion
- be less cultivated,
- yet be a friend of culture;
- be a good listener, but no speaker.
- Such a person is apt to be rough with slaves, unlike the educated man, who is too proud for that;
- will also be courteous to freemen
- will be remarkably obedient to authority
- is a lover of power and honour
- will claim to be a ruler, not because he is eloquent but because he is a soldier and has performed feats of arms;
- he is also a lover of gymnastic exercises and of the chase.
Adeimantus: Yes, that is the type of character which answers to timocracy.
- Such an one will despise riches only when he is young;
- But as he gets older he will be more and more attracted to them, because he:
- has a piece of the avaricious nature in him
- is not single-minded towards virtue, having lost his best guardian--Philosophy, tempered with music.
- It comes and takes up her abode in a man
- It is the only saviour of his virtue throughout life.
- Such is the timocratical youth, and he is like the timocratical State.
- His origin is he is often the young son of a brave father, who dwells in an ill-governed city, of which he declines the honours and offices, and will not go to law, or exert himself in any way, but is ready to waive his rights in order that he may escape trouble.
And how does the son come into being?
- The character of the son begins to develop when he hears his mother complaining that her husband has no place in the government
- This will make her have no precedence among other women.
- She will see her husband:
- not very eager about money.
- battling in the law courts or assembly
- has thoughts always centred in himself, while he treats her with very considerable indifference.
- This will make her annoyed,
- She says to her son that his father is only half a man and far too easy-going.
- She will add all the other complaints about her own ill-treatment which women are so fond of rehearsing.
Yes, they give us plenty of them, and their complaints are so like themselves.
- The old servants also are attached to the family, from time to time talk privately in the same strain to the son;
- if they see any one who owes money to his father, or is wronging him in any way, and he fails to prosecute them, they tell the youth that when he grows up he must retaliate upon people of this sort, and be more of a man than his father.
- He has only to walk abroad and he hears and sees the same sort of thing: those who do their own business in the city are called simpletons, and held in no esteem, while the busy-bodies are honoured and applauded.
- The result is that the young man, hearing and seeing all these things, having a nearer view of his way of life, and making comparisons of him and others—is drawn opposite ways:
- while his father is watering and nourishing the rational principle in his soul, the others are encouraging the passionate and appetitive;
- He is not originally of a bad nature
- But having kept bad company, is at last brought by their joint influence to a middle point.
- He gives up the kingdom which is within him to the middle principle of contentiousness and passion.
- He becomes arrogant and ambitious.
- Oligarchy follows next in order.
What is an oligarchic government?
- A government resting on a valuation of property, in which the rich have power and the poor man is deprived of it.
- I shall explain the transition from timocracy to oligarchy.
- The accumulation of gold in private individuals is the ruin of timocracy.
- They invent illegal modes of expenditure because they don't care about the law.
- People see others growing rich and seek to rival them.
- Thus the great mass of the citizens become lovers of money.
- And so they grow richer and richer.
- The more they think of making a fortune the less they think of virtue; for when riches and virtue are placed together in the scales of the balance, the one always rises as the other falls.
- And in proportion as riches and rich men are honoured in the State, virtue and the virtuous are dishonoured.
- What is honoured is cultivated, and that which has no honour is neglected.
- And so, instead of loving contention and glory, men become lovers of trade and money.
- They honour and look up to the rich man, and make a ruler of him, and dishonour the poor man.
- They next make a law which fixes a sum of money as the qualification of citizenship.
- The sum is higher in one place and lower in another, as the oligarchy is more or less exclusive.
- They allow no one whose property falls below the amount fixed to have any share in the government.
- These changes in the constitution they effect by force of arms, if intimidation has not already done their work.
- This is generally how oligarchy is established.
Yes, but what are the characteristics of this government, and what are its defects?
- First, consider the nature of the qualification.
- What would happen if pilots were to be chosen according to their property?
- A poor man were refused permission to steer, even though he were a better pilot?
You mean that they would shipwreck? A city cannot be shipwrecked because the rule of a city is the greatest and most difficult of all
- This is the first great defect of oligarchy.
- It second defect is that it creates an inevitable division.
- Such a State is not one, but two States, the one of poor, the other of rich men.
- They are living on the same spot and always conspiring against one another.
- They will also be incapable of carrying on any war because if they arm the people, they will be more afraid of them than of the enemy.
- So there will be few to fight as the oligarchs are few to rule.
- Their fondness for money makes them unwilling to pay taxes.
- Under such a constitution the same persons have too many callings—they are husbandmen, tradesmen, warriors, all in one. Does that look well?
Anything but well.
- Its greatest evil is that it creates the extremes of great wealth and utter poverty.
- A man may sell all that he has, and another may acquire his property
- After the sale, he may dwell in the city of which he is no longer a part, being neither trader, nor artisan, nor horseman, nor hoplite, but only a poor, helpless creature.
Yes, that is an evil which also first begins in this State.
- But in his wealthy days, while he was spending his money, was a man of this sort a whit more good to the State for the purposes of citizenship?
- Or did he only seem to be a member of the ruling body, although in truth he was neither ruler nor subject, but just a spendthrift?
He seemed to be a ruler, but was only a spendthrift.
- May we not say that this is the drone in the house who is like the drone in the honeycomb, and that the one is the plague of the city as the other is of the hive?
Just so, Socrates.
- And God has made the flying drones, all without stings, whereas of the walking drones he has made some without stings but others have dreadful stings; of the stingless class are those who in their old age end as paupers; of the stingers come all the criminal class, as they are termed.
Most true, he said.
- Whenever you see paupers in a State, somewhere in that neighborhood there are hidden away thieves, and cut-purses and robbers of temples, and all sorts of malefactors.
- In oligarchical States do you not find paupers?
Yes, he said; nearly everybody is a pauper who is not a ruler.
- There are also many criminals to be found in them, rogues who have stings, and whom the authorities are careful to restrain by force.
- The existence of such persons is due to the lack of education, ill-training, and an evil constitution of the State.
- Such, then, is the form and such are the evils of oligarchy.
- There may be many other evils.
- Then oligarchy, or the form of government in which the rulers are elected for their wealth, may now be dismissed.
- Let us next consider the nature and origin of the person who answers to this State.
- The timocratical man change into the oligarchical.
- The representative of timocracy has a son.
- At first, he begins by emulating his father and walking in his footsteps.
- But presently he sees him of a sudden foundering against the State as upon a sunken reef, and he and all that he has is lost.
- He may have been a general or some other high officer who is brought to trial under a prejudice raised by informers.
- He is either put to death, or exiled, or deprived of the privileges of a citizen, and all his property taken from him.
- The son has seen and known all this.
- He is a ruined man.
- His fear has taught him to knock ambition and passion headforemost from his bosom's throne.
- Humbled by poverty he takes to money-making and by mean and miserly savings and hard work gets a fortune together.
- He sits obediently on either side of their sovereign.
- He teaches them to know their place.
- He compels the one to think only of how lesser sums may be turned into larger ones.
- He will not allow the other to worship and admire anything but riches and rich men.
Of all changes, the conversion of the ambitious youth into the avaricious one is the fastest and most sure.
- The avaricious is the oligarchical youth.
Yes the individual out of whom he came is like the State out of which oligarchy came.
- There is a similarity between them
- First, they resemble each other in the value that they set on wealth.
- In their penurious, laborious character; the individual only satisfies his necessary appetites, and confines his expenditure to them;
- his other desires he subdues, under the idea that they are unprofitable.
- He is a shabby fellow, who saves something out of everything and makes a purse for himself;
- This is the sort of man whom the vulgar applaud.
- Is he not a true image of the State which he represents?
Yes, money is highly valued by him as well as by the State.
- He is not a man of cultivation.
Correct. Had he been educated he would never have made a blind god director of his chorus, or given him chief honour.
- Must we not further admit that owing to this lack of cultivation there will be found in him dronelike desires as of pauper and rogue, which are forcibly kept down by his general habit of life?
- You will find his rogueries where he has some great opportunity of acting dishonestly, as in the guardianship of an orphan.
- It will be clear enough then that in his ordinary dealings which give him a reputation for honesty he coerces his bad passions by an enforced virtue;
- not making them see that they are wrong, or taming them by reason, but by necessity and fear constraining them, and because he trembles for his possessions.
- But you will find that the natural desires of the drone commonly exist in him all the same whenever he has to spend what is not his own.
Yes, and they will be strong in him too.
- The man, then, will be at war with himself; he will be two men, and not one; but, in general, his better desires will be found to prevail over his inferior ones.
- For these reasons such an one will be more respectable than most people; yet the true virtue of a unanimous and harmonious soul will flee far away and never come near him.
- Surely, the miser individually will be an ignoble competitor in a State for any prize of victory, or other object of honourable ambition;
- He will not spend his money in the contest for glory.
- He is so afraid of awakening his expensive appetites and inviting them to help and join in the struggle.
- In true oligarchical fashion, he fights with a small part only of his resources
- The result commonly is that he loses the prize and saves his money.
Can we any longer doubt, then, that the miser and money-maker answers to the oligarchical State?
There can be no doubt.
Next comes democracy.
- We will enquire into the ways of the democratic man, and bring him up for judgment.
- How does oligarchy change into democracy?
- Is it wise or not?
- The good at which such a State aims is to become as rich as possible.
- Is this desire insatiable?
- The rulers are aware that their power rests on their wealth.
- They will refuse to curtail by law the extravagance of the spendthrift youth because they gain by their ruin.
- They take interest from them.
- They buy up their estates and increase their own wealth and importance.
- The love of wealth and the spirit of moderation cannot exist together in citizens of the same state.
- One or the other will be disregarded.
- In Oligarchical States, from the general spread of carelessness and extravagance, men of good family often are reduced to beggary.
- And still they remain in the city, ready to sting and fully armed.
- Some of them owe money, some have forfeited their citizenship.
- A third class are in both predicaments.
- They hate and conspire against those who have got their property, and against everybody else, and are eager for revolution.
- On the other hand, the men of business stoop as they walk.
- They pretend not to see those whom they have already ruined.
- They insert their sting—that is, their money—into some one else who is not on his guard against them.
- They recover the parent sum many times over multiplied into a family of children.
- And so they make drone and pauper to abound in the State.
- The evil blazes up like a fire.
- They will not extinguish it, either:
- by restricting a man's use of his own property, or
- by letting every one enter into voluntary contracts at his own risk.
- This will compel the citizens to look to their characters
- There will be less of this scandalous money-making.
- The evils of which we were speaking will be greatly lessened in the State.
- At present the governors, treat their subjects badly; while they and their adherents, especially the young men of the governing class, live in luxury and idleness of body and mind.
- They do nothing, and are incapable of resisting either pleasure or pain.
- They themselves care only for making money.
- They are as indifferent as the pauper to the cultivation of virtue.
- Often, rulers and their subjects may come in one another's way.
- They may observe the behaviour of each other in the very moment of danger.
- Wherever there is danger, the wiry sunburnt poor man may be placed in battle at the side of a wealthy man.
- The poor will think that rich men are only rich because no one has the courage to despoil them.
- People in private will say to one another 'Our warriors are not good for much'?
Yes, he said, I am quite aware that this is their way of talking.
- In a body which is diseased, an external touch may bring an illness.
- Even when there is no external provocation, a commotion may arise within.
- In the same way, wherever there is weakness in the State there is also likely to be illness.
- One party introducing from outside their oligarchical or democratical allies.
- Then the State falls sick, and is at war with herself even when there is no external cause.
- And then democracy comes into being after the poor have conquered their opponents.
- To the remainder they give an equal share of freedom and power.
- This is the form of government in which the magistrates are commonly elected by lot.
Yes, that is the nature of democracy, whether the revolution has been effected by arms, or whether fear has caused the opposite party to withdraw.
- How would they live?
- What government have they? for as the government is, such will be the man.
- In the first place, are they not free?
- Is not the city full of freedom and frankness—a man may say and do what he likes?
'Tis said so
- And where freedom is, the individual is clearly able to order for himself his own life as he pleases?
- Then in this kind of State there will be the greatest variety of human natures?
- This, then, seems likely to be the fairest of States.
- It is like an embroidered robe which is spangled with every sort of flower.
- This is the best State to look for a government because of the liberty which reigns there.
- They have a complete assortment of constitutions.
- A person who establishes a government in a democracy is like a person going to a bazaar to pick out the one that suits him.
He will be sure to have patterns enough.
- And there being no necessity for you to govern in this State unless you want to do so. No law forbids you to hold office. Isn't this supremely delightful?
For the moment, yes.
- And is not their humanity quite charming?
- Have you not observed how, in a democracy, many persons, although they have been sentenced to death or exile, just stay where they are and walk and nobody sees or cares?
- She grandly tramples on the fine principles which we laid down at the foundation of the city, through her:
- forgiving spirit
- the 'don't care' about trifles
- She never makes the pursuits which make a statesman
- She gives honor to anyone who is friendly.
- These and other kindred characteristics are proper to democracy.
- It is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder.
- It dispenses a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.
We know her well.
- Let us consider how a man in this State comes into being.
- The son of the miserly and oligarchical father is trained in the habits of oligarchs.
- He keeps under by force, the unnecessary pleasures.
- Necessary pleasures are those that we cannot get rid of.
- Unnecessary pleasures are those that we get rid of.
- The desire of eating simple food is a necessary pleasure as it is needed for life.
- The desire of eating more delicate food is hurtful to the body and soul in the pursuit of wisdom and virtue are are unnecessary
- The drone of whom we spoke, was the slave of the unnecessary desires, whereas the one who only had necessary desires was miserly and oligarchical?
- Let us see how the democratical man grows out of the oligarchical.
- When a young man who has been brought up in a vulgar and miserly way, has tasted drones' honey and has come to associate with fierce and crafty natures who are able to provide for him all sorts of refinements and varieties of pleasure—then the change will begin of the oligarchical principle within him into the democratical?
- Like helps like.
- The change was effected by an alliance from without assisting one division of the citizens, so too the young man is changed by a class of desires coming from without to assist the desires within him, that which is akin and alike again helping that which is akin and alike?
- Socrates: And if there be any ally which aids the oligarchical principle within him, whether the influence of a father or of kindred, advising or rebuking him, then there arises in his soul a faction and an opposite faction, and he goes to war with himself.
- It must be so.
- Socrates: There are times when the democratical principle gives way to the oligarchical, and some of his desires die, and others are banished; a spirit of reverence enters into the young man's soul and order is restored.
- Yes, that sometimes happens.
- After the old desires have been driven out, fresh ones spring up, which are akin to them
- Because he their father does not know how to educate them, wax fierce and numerous.
- They draw him to his old associates and breed and multiply in him.
- Very true.
- They seize upon the citadel of the young man's soul
- They perceive it to be void of all accomplishments and fair pursuits and true words, which make their abode in the minds of men who are dear to the gods, and are their best guardians and sentinels.
- False and boastful conceits and phrases mount upwards and take their place.
- And so the young man returns into the country of the lotus-eaters, and takes up his dwelling there in the face of all men;
- If any help be sent by his friends to the oligarchical part of him, the aforesaid vain conceits shut the gate of the king's fastness; and they will neither allow the embassy itself to enter, nor if private advisers offer the fatherly counsel of the aged will they listen to them or receive them.
- There is a battle and they win.
- They call modesty as silliness and exile it.
- They call temperance as unmanliness and trample it.
- They persuade men that moderation and orderly expenditure are vulgarity and meanness.
- By a rabble of evil appetites, they drive them beyond the border.
- And when they have emptied and swept clean the soul of him who is now in their power and who is being initiated by them in great mysteries, they then bring back to their house the following with garlands:
- They give them sweet names:
- insolence they call breeding
- anarchy they call liberty
- waste they call magnificence
- impudence they call courage.
- And so the young man passes out of his original nature, which was trained in the school of necessity, into the freedom and libertinism of useless and unnecessary pleasures.
Yes, the change in him is visible enough.
- After this he lives on, spending his money and labour and time on unnecessary pleasures.
- But if he is fortunate when heydays are over, he balances his pleasures and lives in an equilibrium.
- He puts the government of himself into someone and then another sequentially;
- He despises none of them but encourages them all equally.
- Neither does he receive or let pass into the fortress any true word of advice.
- If anyone says to him that some pleasures are the satisfactions of good and noble desires, and others of evil desires, and that he should use and honour some and chastise and master the others—whenever this is repeated to him he shakes his head and says that they are all alike, and that one is as good as another.
Yes that is the way with him.
- Yes, he lives from day to day indulging the appetite of the hour.
- Sometimes he is lapped in drink and strains of the flute.
- Then he becomes a water-drinker, and tries to get thin.
- Then he tries gymnastics.
- Then once more living the life of a philosopher.
- Often he is busy with politics.
- He starts to his feet and says and does whatever comes into his head.
- If he is emulous of any one who is a warrior, off he is in that direction, or of men of business, once more in that.
- His life has neither law nor order.
- This distracted existence he terms joy and bliss and freedom; and so he goes on.
Yes, he is all liberty and equality.
- Yes. His life is motley and manifold and an epitome of the lives of many.
- He answers to the State as fair and spangled.
- And many will take him for their pattern.
- Many a constitution and many an example of manners is contained in him.
- Let him then be set over against democracy.
- He may truly be called the democratic man.
- Last of all comes the most beautiful of all, man and State alike, tyranny and the tyrant.
- Say then, my friend, how does tyranny arise?
- Does tyranny spring from democracy in the same way as democracy from oligarchy?
- The good which oligarchy proposed to itself and the means by which it was maintained was excess of wealth.
- The insatiable desire of wealth and the neglect of all other things for the sake of money-getting was also the ruin of oligarchy.
- Does Democracy have her own good, of which the insatiable desire brings her to dissolution?
- Freedom, which, as they tell you in a democracy, is the glory of the State.
- Therefore in a democracy alone will the freeman of nature deign to dwell.
Yes; the saying is in every body's mouth.
- The insatiable desire of this and the neglect of other things introduces the change in democracy, which creates a demand for tyranny.
- When a democracy which is thirsting for freedom, has evil cup-bearers presiding over the feast, and has drunk too deeply of the strong wine of freedom, then, unless her rulers are very amenable and give more wine, she calls them to account and punishes them, and says that they are cursed oligarchs.
Yes, a very common occurrence.
- Loyal citizens are insultingly termed by her slaves who hug their chains.
- She would have subjects who are like rulers, and rulers who are like subjects.
- These are men after her own heart, whom she praises
- Now, in such a State, can liberty have any limit?
- By degrees the anarchy finds a way into private houses, and ends by getting among the animals and infecting them.
- The father grows accustomed to descend to the level of his sons and to fear them.
- The son is on a level with his father.
- He has no respect or reverence for his parents.
- This is his freedom.
- The foreigner is equal with the citizen and the citizen with the foreigner .
- The stranger is quite as good as either.
- These are not the only evils.
- There are several lesser ones.
- In such a state of society, the master fears and flatters his scholars.
- The scholars despise their masters and tutors.
- Young and old are all alike.
- The young man is on a level with the old, and is ready to compete with him in word or deed.
- Old men condescend to the young and are full of pleasantry and gaiety.
- They are loth to be thought morose and authoritative, and therefore they adopt the manners of the young.
- The last extreme of popular liberty is when:
- the slave is just as free as his or her owner.
- there is liberty and equality of the two sexes.
Why not, as Aeschylus says, utter the word which rises to our lips?
- That is what I am doing.
- No one who does not know would believe, how much greater is the liberty which the animals who are under the dominion of man have in a democracy than in any other State.
- The she-dogs, as the proverb says, are as good as their she-mistresses.
- The horses and asses have a way of marching along with all the rights and dignities of freemen.
- They will run at any body who comes in their way if he does not leave the road clear for them.
- All things are just ready to burst with liberty.
When I take a country walk, I often experience what you describe.
- And above all, see how sensitive the citizens become.
- They chafe impatiently at the least touch of authority.
- They cease to care even for the laws, written or unwritten
- They will have no one over them.
- Such is the fair and glorious beginning out of which springs tyranny.
But what is the next step?
- The ruin of oligarchy is the ruin of democracy.
- The same disease magnified and intensified by liberty overmasters democracy
- The excessive increase of anything often causes a reaction in the opposite direction.
- This is the case not only in the seasons and in vegetable and animal life, but above all in forms of government.
- The excess of liberty, whether in States or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery.
Yes, the natural order.
- And so tyranny naturally arises out of democracy
- The most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme form of liberty
As we might expect.
- That, however, was not your question.
- You wanted to know the disorder generated alike in oligarchy and democracy, and is the ruin of both?
- The class of idle spendthrifts, of whom the more courageous are the leaders and the more timid the followers, the same whom we were comparing to drones, some stingless, and others having stings.
A very just comparison.
- These two classes are the plagues of every city in which they are generated, being what phlegm and bile are to the body.
- The good physician and lawgiver of the State should like the wise bee-master, keep them far and prevent their ever coming in.
- If they have anyhow found a way in, then he should have them and their cells cut out as speedily as possible.
Yes, by all means
- Let us imagine democracy to be divided into three classes.
- Freedom creates more drones in the democratic than there were in the oligarchical State.
- And in the democracy they are certainly more intensified.
- In the oligarchical State, they are disqualified and driven from office.
- They cannot train or gather strength.
- Whereas in a democracy they are almost the entire ruling power.
- While the keener sort speak and act, the rest keep buzzing about the bema and do not suffer a word to be said on the other side.
- Hence in democracies, almost everything is managed by the drones.
- Then there is another class which is always being severed from the mass.
- They are the orderly class, which in a nation of traders is sure to be the richest.
- They are the most squeezable persons and yield the largest amount of honey to the drones.
Why, there is little to be squeezed out of people who have little.
- This is called the wealthy class, and the drones feed upon them.
- The people are a third class, consisting of those who work with their own hands.
- They are not politicians, and have not much to live on.
- This, when assembled, is the largest and most powerful class in a democracy.
True, but then the multitude is seldom willing to congregate unless they get a little honey.
- And do they not share?
- Do not their leaders deprive the rich of their estates and distribute them among the people; at the same time taking care to reserve the larger part for themselves?
Yes, to that extent the people do share.
- And the persons whose property is taken from them are compelled to defend themselves before the people as they best can?
What else can they do?
- And then, although they may have no desire of change, the others charge them with plotting against the people and being friends of oligarchy?
- The end is that when they see the people, not of their own accord, but through ignorance, and because they are deceived by informers, seeking to do them wrong, then at last they are forced to become oligarchs in reality;
- They do not wish to be, but the sting of the drones torments them and breeds revolution in them.
- Then come impeachments and judgments and trials of one another.
- The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness.
- This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs.
- When he first appears above ground he is a protector.
Yes, that is quite clear.
- A protector begin to changes into a tyrant when he does what the man is said to do in the tale of the Arcadian temple of Lycaean Zeus.
- The tale is that he who has tasted the entrails of a single human victim minced up with the entrails of other victims is destined to become a wolf.
- And the protector of the people is like him;
- having a mob entirely at his disposal, he is not restrained from shedding the blood of kinsmen;
- by the favourite method of false accusation he brings them into court and murders them, making the life of man to disappear, and with unholy tongue and lips tasting the blood of his fellow citizens; some he kills and others he banishes, at the same time hinting at the abolition of debts and partition of lands: and after this, what will be his destiny?
- Must he not either perish at the hands of his enemies, or from being a man become a wolf—that is, a tyrant?
- This is the same as he who begins to make a party against the rich.
- After a while he is driven out, but comes back, in spite of his enemies, a tyrant full grown.
- And if they are unable to expel him, or to get him condemned to death by a public accusation, they conspire to assassinate him.
- Then comes the famous request for a body-guard.
- This is the device of all those who have got thus far in their tyrannical career—'Let not the people's friend,' as they say, 'be lost to them.'
- The people readily assent; all their fears are for him—they have none for themselves.
- And when a man who is wealthy and is also accused of being an enemy of the people sees this, then, my friend, as the oracle said to Croesus,
- 'By pebbly Hermus' shore he flees and rests not, and is not ashamed to be a coward.'
- And quite right too, said he, for if he were, he would never be ashamed again.
- The protector is seen not 'larding the plain' with his bulk, but himself the overthrower of many.
- He stands up in the chariot of State with the reins in his hand, no longer protector, but tyrant absolute.
- What is the happiness of the man, and the State under Tyranny?
Yes, let us consider that.
- In the early days of his power, he is full of smiles.
- He salutes every one whom he meets.
- He makes promises in public and in private!
- He liberates debtors, and distributes land to the people and his followers, and wanting to be so kind and good to every one!
- But when he has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.
- He aims that the people be impoverished by payment of taxes so that they could be compelled to devote themselves to their daily wants and less likely to conspire against him.
- If any of them are suspected by him of having notions of freedom, and of resistance to his authority, he will have a good pretext for destroying them by placing them at the mercy of the enemy.
- For all these reasons, the tyrant must be always getting up a war.
- Now he begins to grow unpopular.
- Then some of those who joined in setting him up, and who are in power, speak their minds to him and to one another
- The more courageous of them cast in his teeth what is being done.
- The tyrant, if he means to rule, must get rid of them.
- He cannot stop while he has a friend or an enemy who is good for anything.
- Therefore he must look about him and see:
- who is valiant
- who is high-minded
- who is wise
- who is wealthy
- He is the enemy of them all and must purge the State.
Yes, he said, and a rare purgation.
- Yes, not the sort of purgation which the physicians make of the body; for they take away the worse and leave the better part, but he does the reverse.
If he is to rule, I suppose that he cannot help himself.
- What a blessed alternative, I said:—to be compelled to dwell only with the many bad, and to be by them hated, or not to live at all!
Yes, that is the alternative.
- The more detestable his actions are to the citizens, the more satellites and the greater devotion he will require.
- Who are the devoted band, and where will he procure them?
They will flock to him, of their own accord, if he pays them.
- By the dog! I said, here are more drones, of every sort and from every land.
- But will he not desire to get them on the spot?
- He will rob the citizens of their slaves; he will then set them free and enroll them in his body-guard.
- What a blessed creature, must this tyrant be.
- He has killed the others and has these for his trusted friends.
- These are the new citizens whom he has called into existence, who admire him and are his companions, while the good hate and avoid him.
- Verily, then, tragedy is a wise thing and Euripides a great tragedian because he is the author of the pregnant saying: 'Tyrants are wise by living with the wise;'
- He clearly meant that they are the wise whom the tyrant makes his companions.
Yes, and he also praises tyranny as godlike; and many other things of the same kind are said by him and by the other poets.
- The tragic poets being wise men will forgive us and any others who live after our manner if we do not receive them into our State, because they are the eulogists of tyranny.
- But they will continue to go to other cities to:
- attract mobs,
- hire voices fair and loud and persuasive, and draw the cities over to tyrannies and democracies.
- Moreover, they are paid for this and receive honour from tyrants, and the next greatest from democracies.
- But the higher they ascend our constitution hill, the more their reputation fails, and seems unable from shortness of breath to proceed further.
- How will the tyrant maintain his fair and numerous ever-changing army?
If there are sacred treasures in the city, he will confiscate and spend them and reduce the taxes which he would otherwise have to impose upon the people.
Then he and his boon companions, will be maintained out of his father's estate.
- You mean to say that the people, from whom he has derived his being, will maintain him and his companions?
Yes, he said; they cannot help themselves.
- But what if the people aver that a grown-up son should not be supported by his father, but that the father should be supported by the son?
- The father did not raise him so that when his son became a man he should himself be the servant of his own servants and support him and his slaves.
- He raised his son to protect him and be free from the government of the rich and aristocratic.
- And so he bids him and his companions depart, just as any other father might drive out of the house a riotous son and his undesirable associates.
By heaven, then the parent will discover what a monster he has been fostering in his bosom; and, when he wants to drive him out, he will find that he is weak and his son strong.
- Why, you do not mean to say that the tyrant will use violence?
- What! beat his father if he opposes him?
Yes, he will, having first disarmed him.
- Then he is a parricide, and a cruel guardian of an aged parent.
- This is real tyranny.
- As the saying goes, the people who would escape the smoke which is the slavery of freemen, has fallen into the fire which is the tyranny of slaves.
- Thus liberty, getting out of all order and reason, passes into the harshest and bitterest form of slavery.