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You are perfectly right, Clinias. So then let the three of us together consider this next point.Clinias
What is that?Athenian
That all the regulations which we are now expounding are what are commonly termed “unwritten laws.” And these as a whole are just the same as [793b] what men call “ancestral customs.” Moreover, the view which was recently1 impressed upon us, that one should neither speak of these as “laws” nor yet leave them without mention, was a right view. For it is these that act as bonds in every constitution, forming a link between all its laws (both those already enacted in writing and those still to be enacted), exactly like ancestral customs of great antiquity, which, if well established and practiced, serve to wrap up securely the laws already written, whereas if they perversely [793c] go aside from the right way, like builders' props that collapse under the middle of a house, they bring everything else tumbling down along with them, one thing buried under another, first the props themselves and then the fair superstructure, once the ancient supports have fallen down. Bearing this in mind, Clinias, we must clamp together this State of yours, which is a new one, by every possible means, omitting nothing great or small [793d] in the way of laws, customs and institutions; for it is by all such means that a State is clamped together, and neither kind of law is permanent without the other. Consequently, we need not be surprised if the influx of a number of apparently trivial customs or usages should make our laws rather long.Clinias
What you say is quite true, and we will bear it in mind.Athenian
If one could carry out these regulations methodically, and not merely apply them casually, [793e] in the case of girls and boys up to the age of three, they would conduce greatly to the benefit of our infant nurslings. To form the character of the child over three and up to six years old there will be need of games: by then punishment must be used to prevent their getting pampered,—not, however, punishment of a degrading kind, but just as we said before,2 in the case of slaves, that one should avoid enraging the persons punished by using degrading punishments, or pampering them by leaving them unpunished,
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