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[118] a course which all sensible men would prefer and desire for themselves,1 albeit a certain few of those who claim to be wise men, were the question put to them, would not accept this view. These, then, are the reasons—I have perhaps gone into them at undue length—but, in any case, these are the reasons why they adopted the polity which is criticized by some in place of the polity which is commended by all.

1 This cynicism accords ill with his plea for justice as a rule of conduct for states in Isoc. 8.28 ff., where he approaches the Platonic ideal that it is better to suffer than to do wrong (Plat. Gorg. 46c ff.). Here Isocrates inclines, for once, to the “practical” view of Demosthenes; that if all other states made justice the basis of their foreign policy it would be shameful for Athens not to observe it; but in a world where all other states are seeking the power to do injustice, for Athens alone to be governed by that ideal to her disadvantage would be “not justice but cowardice.” See Dem. 15.28-29.

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Demosthenes, On the Liberty of the Rhodians, 28
    • Isocrates, On the Peace, 28
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