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And Adeimantus broke in and said, “What will be your defence, Socrates, if anyone objects that you are not making these men very happy,1 and that through their own fault? For the city really belongs to them and yet they get no enjoyment out of it as ordinary men do by owning lands and building fine big houses and providing them with suitable furniture and winning the favor of the gods by private sacrifices2 and entertaining guests and enjoying too those possessions which you just now spoke of, gold and silver and all that is customary for those who are expecting to be happy? But they seem, one might say, to be established in idleness in the city,
1 Adeimantus's criticism is made from the point of view of a Thrasymachus (343 A, 345 B) or a Callicles (Gorgias 492 B-C or of Solon's critics (cf. my note on Solon's Trochaics to Phokos, Class. Phil. vol. vi. pp. 216 ff.). The captious objection is repeated by Aristotle, Politics 1264 b 15 ff., though he later (1325 a 9-10) himself uses Plato's answer to it, and by moderns, as Herbert Spencer, Grote, Newman to some extent (Introduction to Aristotle's Politics, p. 69.), and Zeller (Aristotle, ii. p. 224) who has the audacity to say that “Plato demanded the abolition of all private possession and the suppression of all individual interests because it is only in the Idea or Universal that he acknowledges any title to true reality.” Leslie Stephen does not diverge so far from Plato when he says (Science of Ethics, p. 397): “The virtuous men may be the very salt of the earth, and yet the discharge of a function socially necessary may involve their own misery.” By the happiness of the whole Plato obviously maens not an abstraction but the concrete whole of which Leslie Stephen is thinking. But from a higher point of view Plato eloquently argues (465 B-C) that duty fulfilled will yield truer happinress to the guardians than seeking their own advantage in the lower sense of the word.
2 Cf. 362 C, and Laws 909 D ff. where they are forbidden.
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