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Next after this form of liberty would come that which refuses to be subject to the rulers;2 and, following on that, the shirking of submission to one's parents and elders and their admonitions; then, as the penultimate stage, comes the effort to disregard the laws; while the last stage of all is to lose all respect for oaths or pledges or divinities,—wherein men display and reproduce the character of the Titans of story, [701c] who are said to have reverted to their original state, dragging out a painful existence with never any rest from woe. What, again, is our object in saying all this? Evidently, I must, every time, rein in my discourse, like a horse, and not let it run away with me as though it had no bridle3 [701d] in its mouth, and so “get a toss off the donkey”4 (as the saying goes): consequently, I must once more repeat my question, and ask—“With what object has all this been said?”Megillus
What has now been said bears on the objects previously stated.Megillus
What were they?Athenian
We said5 that the lawgiver must aim, in his legislation, at three objectives—to make the State he is legislating for free, and at unity with itself, and possessed of sense. That was so, was it not?Megillus
Certainly. [701e] Athenian
With these objects in view, we selected the most despotic of polities and the most absolutely free, and are now enquiring which of these is rightly constituted. When we took a moderate example of each—of despotic rule on the one hand, and liberty on the other,—we observed that there they enjoyed prosperity in the highest degree but when they advanced, the one to the extreme of slavery, the other to the extreme of liberty, then there was no gain to either the one or the other.
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