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[663a] For, apart from pleasure, what good could accrue to a just man? “Come, tell me, is fair fame and praise from the mouths of men and gods a noble and good thing, but unpleasant, while ill-fame is the opposite?” “By no means, my dear lawgiver,” we shall say. And is it unpleasant, but noble and good, neither to injure anyone nor be injured by anyone, while the opposite is pleasant, but ignoble and bad?

By no means.

So then the teaching which refuses to separate the pleasant from the just helps, [663b] if nothing else, to induce a man to live the holy and just life, so that any doctrine which denies this truth is, in the eyes of the lawgiver, most shameful and most hateful; for no one would voluntarily consent to be induced to commit an act, unless it involves as its consequence more pleasure than pain. Now distance has the effect of befogging the vision of nearly everybody, and of children especially; but our lawgiver will reverse the appearance by removing the fog,1 [663c] and by one means or another—habituation, commendation, or argument—will persuade people that their notions of justice and injustice are illusory pictures, unjust objects appearing pleasant and just objects most unpleasant to him who is opposed to justice, through being viewed from his own unjust and evil standpoint, but when seen from the standpoint of justice, both of them appear in all ways entirely the opposite.

So it appears.

In point of truth, which of the two judgements shall we say is the more authoritative,—that of the worse soul or that of the better.

That of the better, undoubtedly. [663d]

Undoubtedly, then, the unjust life is not only more base and ignoble, but also in very truth more unpleasant, than the just and holy life.

It would seem so, my friends, from our present argument.

And even if the state of the case were different from what it has now been proved to be by our argument, could a lawgiver who was worth his salt find any more useful fiction than this (if he dared to use any fiction at all in addressing the youths for their good), or one more effective in persuading all men to act justly in all things [663e] willingly and without constraint?

Truth is a noble thing, Stranger, and an enduring; yet to persuade men of it seems no easy matter.

Be it so; yet it proved easy to persuade men of the Sidonian fairy-tale,2 incredible though it was, and of numberless others.

What tales?

The tale of the teeth that were sown, and how armed men sprang out of them. Here, indeed, the lawgiver has a notable example

1 i.e. the lawgiver will make justice clear and distinct by bringing citizens close up to it: discipline in just actions will give them a near and true view of it, and correct the wrong impression due to distance.

2 About Cadmus; cp. Plat. Rep. 414c.

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