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[57] Furthermore, on the question of merit I shall not shrink from saying this to you: I for one do not think that merit should be examined by the State in the same way as by an individual, because the examination is not concerned with the same questions. For in private life each of us tries to find who is worthy, say, to marry into our family, or something of that sort, and such questions are determined by convention and opinion; but in public affairs the State and the people try to find who is their benefactor and savior, and that question you will find is best decided by reference not to birth or opinion, but to plain fact. So, whenever we want to receive benefits, are we to allow anyone to confer them, but when we have received them, then shall we scrutinize the merits of the benefactor? That will be a topsy-turvy policy.

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