This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Well then, after all that has now been said, you will next come, I suppose, to the task of appointing magistrates for your State.Clinias
That is so.Athenian
In this there are two branches of civic organization involved,— first, the appointment of magistracies and magistrates, with the fixing of the right number required and the proper method of appointment; and next the assignment to each magistracy of [751b] such and so many laws as are in each case appropriate.1 But before we make our selection, let us pause for a moment, and make a statement concerning it of a pertinent kind.Clinias
What statement is that?Athenian
It is this:— It is a fact clear to everyone that, the work of legislation being a great one, the placing of unfit officers in charge of well-framed laws in a well-equipped State not only robs those laws of all their value and gives rise to widespread ridicule, [751c] but is likely also to prove the most fertile source of damage and danger in such States.Clinias
Let us then, my friend, mark this result in dealing now with your polity and State. You see that it is necessary, in the first place, that those who rightly undertake official functions should in every case have been fully tested— both themselves and their families— from their earliest years up to the time of their selection; and, secondly, that those who are to be the selectors should have been reared in law-abiding habits, [751d] and be well trained for the task of rightly rejecting or accepting those candidates who deserve their approval or disapproval. Yet as regards this point, can we suppose that men who have but recently come together, with no knowledge of one another and with no training, could ever possibly select their officials in a faultless manner?Clinias
It is practically impossible.Athenian
Yet, “with the hand on the plough,” as they say, “there is no looking back.”2 And so it must be now with you and me; for you, as you tell me,3 have given your pledge [751e] to the Cretan nation that you, with your nine colleagues, will devote yourself to the founding of that State; and I, for my part, have promised
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.