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[421a] since, if we yield, the farmer will not be a farmer nor the potter a potter, nor will any other of the types that constitute state keep its form. However, for the others it matters less. For cobblers1 who deteriorate and are spoiled and pretend to be the workmen that they are not are no great danger to a state. But guardians of laws and of the city who are not what they pretend to be, but only seem, destroy utterly, I would have you note, the entire state, and on the other hand, they alone are decisive of its good government and happiness. If then we are forming true guardians [421b] and keepers of our liberties, men least likely to harm the commonwealth, but the proponent of the other ideal is thinking of farmers and 'happy' feasters as it were in a festival and not in a civic community, he would have something else in mind2 than a state. Consider, then, whether our aim in establishing the guardians is the greatest possible happiness among them or whether that is something we must look to see develop in the city as a whole, but these helpers and guardians [421c] are to be constrained and persuaded to do what will make them the best craftsmen in their own work, and similarly all the rest. And so, as the entire city develops and is ordered well, each class is to be left, to the share of happiness that its nature comports.

“Well,” he said, “I think you are right.” “And will you then,” I said, “also think me reasonable in another point akin to this?” “What pray?” “Consider whether [421d] these are the causes that corrupt other3 craftsmen too so as positively to spoil them.4” “What causes?” “Wealth and poverty,”5 said I. “How so?” “Thus! do you think a potter who grew rich would any longer be willing to give his mind to his craft?” “By no means,” said he. “But will he become more idle and negligent than he was?” “Far more.” “Then he becomes a worse potter?” “Far worse too.” “And yet again, if from poverty he is unable to provide himself with tools and other requirements of his art, [421e] the work that he turns out will be worse, and he will also make inferior workmen of his sons or any others whom he teaches.” “Of course.” “From both causes, then, poverty and wealth, the products of the arts deteriorate, and so do the artisans?” “So it appears.” “Here, then, is a second group of things it seems that our guardians must guard against and do all in their power to keep from slipping into the city without their knowledge.” “What are they?”

1 Note the “ab urbe condita” construction. For the thought cf. 374 B. Zeller and many who follow him are not justified in inferring that Plato would not educate the masses. (Cf. Newman, Introduction to Aristotle's Politics, i. p. 160.) It might as well be argued that the high schools of the United States are not intended for the masses because some people sometimes emphasize their function of “fitting for college.” In the RepublicPlato describes secondary education as a preparation for the higher training. The secondary education of the entire citizenry in the Laws marks no change of opinion (Laws 818 ff.). Cf. Introduction p. xxxiii.

2 The expression is loose, but the meaning is plain. The principle “one man, one task” makes the guardians real guardians. The assumption that their happiness is the end is incompatible with the very idea of a state. Cf. Introduction pp. xxix f.ἑστιάτορας recalls μέλλοντα ἑστιάσεσθαι345 C, but we are expected to think also of the farmers of 420 E.

3 The guardians are δημιουργοὶ ἐλευθερίας(395 C).

4 ὥστε καὶ κακούς, I think, means “so that they become actually bad,” not “so that they also become bad.” Cf. Lysis 217 B.

5 For the dangers of wealth cf. 550, 553 D, 555 B, 556 A, 562, Laws 831 C, 919 B, and for the praises of poverty cf. Aristophanes Plutus 510-591, Lucian, Nigrinus 12, Euripides fr. 55 N., Stobaeus, Flor. 94 (Meineke iii. 198), Class. Phil. vol. xxii. pp. 235-236.

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