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[640a] even if we did come across them, we would probably fail to see at once what was right in them and what wrong.

Athenian
That is very probable. Try, however, to learn from my description. This you understand—that in all gatherings and associations for any purpose whatsoever it is right that each group should always have a commander.

Clinias
Of course.

Athenian
Moreover, we have recently said that the commander of fighting men must be courageous.

Clinias
Of course.

Athenian
The courageous man is less perturbed by alarms than the coward. [640b]

Clinias
That is true, too.

Athenian
Now if there had existed any device for putting an army in charge of a general who was absolutely impervious to fear or perturbation, should we not have made every effort to do so?

Clinias
Most certainly.

Athenian
But what we are discussing now is not the man who is to command an army in time of war, in meetings of foe with foe, but the man who is to command friends in friendly association with friends in time of peace.

Clinias
Quite so. [640c]

Athenian
Such a gathering, if accompanied by drunkenness, is not free from disturbance, is it?

Clinias
Certainly not; quite the reverse, I imagine.

Athenian
So those people also need, in the first place, a commander?

Clinias
Undoubtedly—they above all.

Athenian
Should we, if possible, provide them with a commander who is imperturbable?

Clinias
Certainly.

Athenian
Naturally, also, he should be wise about social gatherings. For he has both to preserve [640d] the friendliness which already exists among the company and to see that the present gathering promotes it still further.

Clinias
Very true.

Athenian
Then the commander we set over drunken men should be sober and wise, rather than the opposite? For a commander of drunkards who was himself drunken, young, and foolish would be very lucky if he escaped doing some serious mischief.

Clinias
Uncommonly lucky.

Athenian
Suppose, then, that a man were to find fault with such institutions in States where they are managed in the best possible way, [640e] having an objection to the institution in itself, he might perhaps be right in doing so but if a man abuses an institution when he sees it managed in the worst way possible, it is plain that he is ignorant, first, of the fact that it is badly conducted, and secondly, that every institution will appear similarly bad when it is carried on without a sober ruler and commander. For surely you perceive

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