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[1263b] [1] Selfishness on the other hand is justly blamed; but this is not to love oneself but to love oneself more than one ought, just as covetousness means loving money to excess—since some love of self, money and so on is practically universal. Moreover, to bestow favors and assistance on friends or visitors or comrades is a great pleasure, and a condition of this is the private ownership of property. These advantages therefore do not come to those who carry the unification of the state too far; and in addition to this they manifestly do away with the practice of two virtues, temperance in relation to women (for it is a noble deed to refrain from one through temperance when she belongs to another) and liberality in relation to possessions (for one will not be able to display liberality nor perform a single liberal action, since the active exercise of liberality takes place in the use of possessions).

Such legislation therefore has an attractive appearance, and might be thought to be humane; for he who is told about it welcomes it with gladness, thinking that it will result in a marvellous friendliness of everybody towards everybody, especially when somebody denounces the evils at present existing in states as due to the fact that [20] wealth is not owned in common— I mean lawsuits between citizens about breach of contract, and trials for perjury, and the flattery of the rich. But the real cause of all these evils is not the absence of communism, but wickedness, since we see far more quarrels occurring among those who own or use property in common than among those who have their estates separate; but we notice that those who quarrel as a result of their partnerships are few when compared with the total number of private owners. And again it is just to state not only all the evils that men will lose by adopting communism, but also all the good things; and life in such circumstances is seen to be utterly impossible. The cause of Socrates' error must be deemed to be that his fundamental assumption was incorrect. It is certain that in a way both the household and the state should be a unit, but they should not be so in every way. For in one way the state as its unification proceeds will cease to be a state, and in another way, though it continues a state, yet by coming near to ceasing to be one it will be a worse state, just as if one turned a harmony into unison or a rhythm into a single foot. The proper thing is for the state, while being a multitude, to be made a partnership and a unity by means of education, as has been said before and it is strange that the very philosopher who intends to introduce a system of education and thinks that this will make the city morally good should fancy that he can regulate society by such measures as have been mentioned instead of by manners and culture and laws, just as the legislator introduced community of property in Sparta and Crete by the institution of public messes.

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