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[426d] “And what again of those who are willing and eager to serve1 such states? Don't you admire their valiance and light-hearted irresponsibility2?” “I do,” he said, “except those who are actually deluded and suppose themselves to be in truth statesmen3 because they are praised by the many.” “What do you mean? “Can't you make allowances4 for the men? Do you think it possible for a man who does not know how to measure when a multitude of others equally ignorant assure him that he is four cubits tall

1 Here “serve,” not “flatter.”

2 This word εὐχέρεια is often misunderstood by lexicons and commentators. It is of course not “dexterity” (L. and S.) nor yet probably “complaisance,” nor yet “humanitas” or “Gutmütigkeit” as Adam and Schneider think. It expresses rather the light-heartedness with which such politicians rush in where wiser men fear to tread, which is akin to the lightness with which men plunge into crime. Cf. Laws 690 Dτῶν ἐπὶ νόμων θέσιν ἰόντων ῥᾳδίως and 969ἀνδρειότατος. Plato's political physician makes “come out of that” a precondition of his treatment. Cf. Laws 736-737, Politicus 299 A-B, 501 A, 540 E, Epistle vii. 330 C-D, and the story in Aelian. V.H. ii. 42. of Plato's refusal to legislate for the Arcadians because they would not accept an equalization of property.

3 Cf. Euthyphro 2 C-D, Gorgias 513 B, Politicus 275 C and 292 D.

4 Plato often condescendingly and half ironically pardons psychologically inevitable errors. Cf. 366 C, Phaedrus 269 B, Euthydemus 306 C.

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