Socrates would give any modern free thinker a run for their money in the contest of deliberation. Present-day people should celebrate the fact that the thoughts and arguments of this Greek feller have been preserved for over 2300 years.
Enjoy these highlights from a conviction-crimping, elderly text.
Integrity is another way to say retarded …
And you are so far off about the just and justice,
and the unjust and injustice, that you are unaware that justice and the just are really someone else’s good, the advantage of the man who is stronger and rules, and a personal harm to the man who obeys and
serves. Injustice is the opposite, and it rules the truly simple and just; and those who are ruled do what is advantageous for him who is stronger, and they make him whom they serve happy but themselves not at all. And this must be considered, most simple Socrates: the just man everywhere has less than the unjust man. First, in contracts, when the just man is a partner of the unjust man, you will always find that at the dissolution of the partnership the just man does not have more
than the unjust man, but less. Second, in matters pertaining to the city, when there are taxes, the just man pays more on the basis of equal property, the unjust man less; and when there are distributions, the one makes no profit, the other much. And, further, when each holds some ruling office, even if the just man suffers no other penalty, it is his lot to see his domestic affairs deteriorate from neglect, while he gets no advantage from the public store, thanks to his being just; in addition to this, he incurs the ill will of his relatives and his acquaintances when he is unwilling to serve them against what is just. The unjust man’s situation is the opposite in all of these respects. I am speaking of the man I just now spoke of, the one who is able to get the better in a big way.
Perfect Injustice tastes so sweet
You will learn most easily of all if you turn to the most perfect injustice, which makes the one who does injustice most happy, and those who suffer it and who would not be willing to do injustice, most wretched. And that is tyranny, which by stealth and force takes away what belongs to others, both what is sacred and profane, private and public, not bit by bit, but all at once. When someone does some part of this injustice and doesn’t get away with it, he is punished and endures the greatest reproaches—temple robbers, kidnappers, housebreakers, defrauders, and thieves are what they call those partially unjust men who do such evil deeds. But when someone, in addition to the money of the citizens, kidnaps and enslaves them too, instead of these shameful names, he gets called happy and blessed, not only by the citizens but also by whomever else hears that he has done injustice entire. For it is not because they fear doing unjust deeds, but because they fear suffering them, that those who blame injustice do so. So, Socrates, injustice, when it comes into being on a sufficient scale, is mightier, freer, and more masterful than justice; and,
as I have said from the beginning, the just is the advantage of the stronger, and the unjust is what is profitable and advantageous for
Glaucon’s Law = A man is as unjust as his options
“That even those who practice it do so unwillingly, from an incapacity to do injustice, we would best perceive if we should in thought do something like this: give each, the just man and the unjust, license to do whatever he wants, while we follow and watch where his desire will lead each. We would catch the just man red-handed going the same way as the unjust man out of a desire to get the better; this is what any nature naturally pursues as good, while it is law which by force perverts it to honor equality. The license of which I speak would best be realized if they should come into possession of the sort of power that it is said the ancestor of Gyges, the Lydian, once got. They say he was a shepherd toiling in the service of the man who was then ruling Lydia. There came to pass a great thunderstorm and an earthquake; the earth cracked and a chasm opened at the place where he was pasturing. He saw it, wondered at it, and went down. He saw, along with other quite wonderful things about which they tell tales, a hollow bronze horse. It had windows; peeping in, he saw there was a corpse inside that looked larger than human size. It had nothing on except a gold ring on its hand; he slipped it off and went out. When there was the usual gathering of the shepherds to make the monthly report to the king about the flocks, he too came, wearing the ring. Now, while he was sitting with the others, he chanced to turn the collet of the ring to himself, toward the inside of his hand; when he did this, he became invisible to those sitting by him, and they discussed him as though he were away. He wondered at this, and, fingering the ring again, he twisted the collet toward the outside; when he had twisted it, he became visible. Thinking this over, he tested whether the ring had this power, and that was exactly his result: when he turned the collet inward, he became invisible, when outward, visible. Aware of this, he immediately contrived to be one of the messengers to the king. When he arrived, he committed adultery with the king’s wife and, along with her, set upon the king and killed him. And so he took over the rule.
“Now if there were two such rings, and the just man would put one on, and the unjust man the other, no one, as it would seem, would be so adamant as to stick by justice and bring himself to keep away from what belongs to others and not lay hold of it, although he had license to take what he wanted from the market without fear, and to go into houses and have intercourse with whomever he wanted, and to slay or release from bonds whomever he wanted, and to do other things as an equal to a god among humans. And in so doing, one would act no differently from the other, but both would go the same way. And yet, someone could say that this is a great proof that no one is willingly just but only when compelled to be so. Men do not take it to be a good for them in private, since wherever each supposes he can do injustice, he does it. Indeed, all men suppose injustice is far more to their private profit than justice. And what they suppose is true, as the man who makes this kind of an argument will say, since if a man were to get hold of such license and- were never willing to do any injustice and didn’t lay his hands on what belongs to others, he would seem most wretched to those who were aware of it, and most foolish too, although they would praise him to each others’ faces, deceiving each other for fear of suffering injustice. So much for that.
Appear just. But, for goodness sake, don’t be just.
But if I’m unjust, but have provided myself with a reputation for justice, a divine life is promised.
Belief in Hell turns men spineless
“And I,” he said, “suppose our impression is right.” “And what if they are to be courageous? Mustn’t they also be told things that will make them fear death least? Or do you believe that anyone who has this terror in him would ever become courageous?”
“By Zeus, I don’t,” he said. “What about this? Do you suppose anyone who believes Hades’ domain exists and is full of terror will be fearless in the face of death and choose death in battles above defeat and slavery?”
“Not at all.” “Then, concerning these tales too, it seems we must supervise those who undertake to tell them and ask them not simply to disparage Hades’ domain in this way but rather to praise it, because what they say is neither true nor beneficial for men who are to be fighters.” c “Indeed, we must,” he said.
“Then, we’ll expunge all such things,” I said, “beginning with
I would rather be on the soil, a serf to another, To a man without lot whose means of life are not great. Than rule over all the dead who have perished’
All aspects of the just city must assist the citizen in his goal of becoming a great person
“Must we, then, supervise only the poets and compel them to impress the image of the good disposition on their poems or not to make them among us? Or must we also supervise the other craftsmen and prevent them from impressing this bad disposition, a licentious, illiberal, and graceless one, either on images of animals or on houses or on anything else that their craft produces? And the incapable craftsman we mustn’t permit to practice his craft among us, so that our guardians won’t be reared on images of vice, as it were on bad grass, every day cropping and grazing on a great deal little by little from many places, and unawares put together some one big bad thing in their soul? Mustn’t we, rather, look for those craftsmen whose good natural endowments make them able to track down the nature of what is fine and graceful, so that the young, dwelling as it were in a healthy place, will be benefited by everything; and from that place something of the fine works will strike their vision or their hearing, like a breeze bringing d health from good places; and beginning in childhood, it will, without their awareness, with the fair speech lead them to likeness and friendship as well as accord?”
Free resources = insanity
But tell me this: does excessive pleasure have anything in common with moderation?” “How could it,” he said, “since it puts men out of their minds no
less than pain?
Broken homes = Big government
“Will you be able to produce a greater sign of a bad and base education in a city than its needing eminent doctors and judges not only for the common folk and the manual artisans but also for those who pretend to have been reared in a free fashion? Or doesn’t it seem base, and a great sign of lack of education, to be compelled— because of a shortage at home—to use a justice imported from others who are thus masters and umpires?”
Petty = unenlightened
“In your opinion, is this really baser,” I said, “than when someone not only wastes most of his life in courtrooms defending and accusing, but, from inexperience in fair things, is also persuaded to pride himself on this very thing, because he is clever at doing injustice and competent at practicing every dodge, escaping through every loophole by writhing and twisting and thereby not paying the penalty, and all this for the sake of little and worthless things; ignorant of how much
finer and better it is to arrange his life so as to have no need of a dozing
Sick societies just make up diseases
“And,” I said, “needing medicine, not because one has met with wounds or some of the seasonal maladies, but as a result of idleness and d a way of life such as we described, full of humors and winds like a marsh, compelling the subtle Asclepiads to give names like ‘flatulences’ and ‘catarrhs’ to diseases, doesn’t that seem base?”
Middle class = productivity
“Take the other craftsmen again and consider whether these things d corrupt them so as to make them bad.” “What are they?”
“Wealth and poverty,” I said. “How?”
“Like this: in your opinion, will a potter who’s gotten rich still be
willing to attend to his art?”
“Not at all,” he said. “And will he become idler and more careless than he was?”
“By far.” “Doesn’t he become a worse potter then?”
“That, too, by far,” he said. “And further, if from poverty he’s not even able to provide himself with tools or anything else for his art, he’ll produce shoddier works, and he’ll make worse craftsmen of his sons or any others he teaches.” e
“Then from both poverty and wealth the products of the arts are worse and the men themselves are worse.”
“On the basis of what has been agreed,” I said, “there is a need for the best men to have intercourse as often as possible with the best women, and the reverse for the most ordinary men with the most ordinary women; and the offspring of the former must be reared but not that e of the others, if the flock is going to be of the most eminent quality. And all this must come to pass without being noticed by anyone except the rulers themselves if the guardians’ herd is to be as free as possible from ;
Normal people don’t like to think
“Well, then, keep all this in mind and recall this question: Can a multitude accept or believe that the fair itself, rather than the many fair things, or that anything itself, is, rather than the many particular 494
“Not in the least,” he said.
“Then it’s impossible,” I said, “that a multitude be philosophic.”
“Yes, it is impossible.” “And so, those who do philosophize are necessarily blamed by
There are more weak minds in this world than weak bodies
“Keenness at studies, you blessed man,” I said, “is a prerequisite
for them, and learning without difficulty. For souls, you know, are far more likely to be cowardly in severe studies than in gymnastic. The labor is closer to home in that it is the soul’s privately and not shared in common with the body.
Women despise men who are not petty and litigious
“And this is how he comes into being,” I said. “Sometimes he is the young son of a good father who lives in a city that is not under a good regime, a father who flees the honors, the ruling offices, the law suits, and everything of the sort that’s to the busybody’s taste, and who is wiling to be gotten the better of so as not to be bothered.” “In what way, then, does he come into being?” he said.
“When,” I said, “in the first place, he listens to his mother complaining. Her husband is not one of the rulers and as a result she is at a disadvantage among the other women. Moreover, she sees that he isn’t d very serious about money and doesn’t fight and insult people for its sake in private actions in courts and in public but takes everything of the sort in an easygoing way; and she becomes aware that he always turns his mind to himself and neither honors nor dishonors her very much. She complains about all this and says that his father is lacking in
courage and too slack, and, of course, chants all the other refrains such as women are likely to do in cases of this sort.” e “Yes, indeed,” said Adeimantus, “it’s just like them to have many complaints.” “And you know,” I said, “that the domestics of such men—those domestics who seem well-disposed—^sometimes also secretly say similar things to the sons, and if they see someone who owes him money or does some other injustice and whom the father doesn’t prosecute, they urge the son to punish all such men when he becomes a man, and thus to be more of a man than his father. And when the son 550 a goes out, he hears and sees other similar things—those in the city who mind their own business called simpletons and held in small account, and those who don’t, honored and praised. Now when the young man hears and sees all this, and, on the other hand, hears his father’s arguments and sees his practices at close hand contrasted with those of the others, he is drawn by both of these influences. His father waters the calculating part of his soul, and causes it to grow; the others, the desiring and spirited parts. Because he doesn’t have a bad man’s nature, but has kept bad company with others, drawn by both of these influences, he came to the middle, and turned over the rule in himself to the middle part, the part that loves victory and is spirited; he became a haughty-minded man who loves honor.”
How an oligarchy comes into being
Therefore, don’t they then set down a law defining an oligarchy regime by fixing an assessment of a sum of money—where it’s more of an oligarchy, the sum is greater, where less of an oligarchy, less? Prescribing that the man whose substance is not up to the level of the fixed assessment shall not participate in the ruling offices, don’t they either put this into effect by force of arms or, before it comes to that, they arouse fear and so establishment this regime? Or isn’t it that way?”
The fatal flaw of an oligarchy
“Yes,” he said. “But what is the character of the regime? And what are the mistakes which we were saying it contains?”
“First,” I said, “the very thing that defines the regime is one. Reflect: if a man were to choose pilots of ships in that way—on the basis of property assessments—and wouldn’t entrust one to a poor man, even if he were a more skilled pilot —
“They would make a poor sailing, ” he said.
“Isn’t this also so for any other kind of rule watsoever?”
“So I suppose, at least.”
“Except for a city?” I said. “Or does it also apply to a city?”
“Certainly,” he said, “most of all, insofar as it is the hardest and
greatest kind of rule.” “Then oligarchy would contain this one mistake that is of such
This is a great book to read to relearn all of the timeless wisdom and fundamental truths of the human condition that the females leading your college and high school class rooms washed from your brain because they’re prejudiced and mean.