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[736a] to follow their leaders in an attack on the property of the wealthy,—then the lawgiver, regarding all such as a plague inherent in the body politic, ships them abroad as gently as possible, giving the euphemistic title of “emigration” to their evacuation. By some means or other this must be done by every legislator at the beginning, but in our case the task is now even more simple; for we have no need to contrive for the present either a form of emigration or any other purgative selection; but just as [736b] when there is a confluence of floods from many sources—some from springs, some from torrents—into a single pool we have to take diligent precautions to ensure that the water may be of the utmost possible purity, by drawing it off in some cases, and in others by making channels to divert its course.1 Yet toil and risk, it would appear, are involved in every exercise of statecraft. Since, however, our present efforts are verbal rather than actual, let us assume that our collection of citizens is now completed, and its purity secured to our satisfaction; for we shall test thoroughly by every kind of test and by length of time the vicious among those [736c] who attempt to enter our present State as citizens, and so prevent their arrival, whereas we shall welcome the virtuous with all possible graciousness and goodwill. And let us not omit to notice this piece of good luck—that, just as we said2 that the colony of the Heraclidae was fortunate in avoiding fierce and dangerous strife concerning the distribution of land and money and the cancelling of debts (so we are similarly lucky) ; for when a State is obliged [736d] to settle such strife by law, it can neither leave vested interests unaltered nor yet can it in any wise alter them, and no way is left save what one might term that of “pious aspiration” and cautious change, little by little, extended over a long period, and that way is this:—there must already exist a supply of men to effect the change, who themselves, on each occasion, possess abundance of land and have many persons in their debt, and who are kind enough to wish to give a share of these things to those of them who are in want, [736e] partly by remissions and partly by distributions, making a kind of rule of moderation and believing that poverty consists, not in decreasing one's substance, but in increasing one's greed. For this is the main foundation of the security of a State, and on this as on a firm keel it is possible to build whatever kind of civic organization may be subsequently built suitable for the arrangement described;

1 The citizens who are to form the new Magnesian colony are to be drawn from various quarters, and they must be carefully tested (like streams flowing into a reservoir) before being admitted.

2 Plat. Laws 684e.

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