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[427a] “Indeed,” he said, “that is exactly what they are doing.” “I, then,” said I, “should not have supposed1 that the true lawgiver ought to work out matters of that kind2 in the laws and the constitution either of an ill-governed or a well-governed state—in the one because they are useless and accomplish nothing, in the other because some of them anybody could discover and others will result spontaneously from the pursuits already described.”

1 Ironically, “I should not have supposed, but for the practice of our politicians.”

2 εἶδος νόμων πέρι is here a mere periphrasis, though the true classification of laws was a topic of the day. Cf. Laws 630 E, Aristotle Politics 1267 b 37. Plato is not always careful to mark the distinction between the legislation which he rejects altogether and that which he leaves to the discretion of the citizens.

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