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[492a] as strong as possible and not chasten them, and should be able to minister to them when they are at their height by reason of his manliness and intelligence, and satisfy each appetite in turn with what it desires. But this, I suppose, is not possible for the many; whence it comes that they decry such persons out of shame, to disguise their own impotence, and are so good as to tell us that licentiousness is disgraceful, thus enslaving—as I remarked before—the better type of mankind; and being unable themselves to procure [492b] achievement of their pleasures they praise temperance and justice by reason of their own unmanliness. For to those who started with the advantage of being either kingsÕ sons or able by their own parts to procure some authority or monarchy or absolute power, what in truth could be fouler or worse than temperance and justice in such cases? Finding themselves free to enjoy good things, with no obstacle in the way, they would be merely imposing on themselves a master in the shape of the law, the talk and the rebuke of the multitude. Or how could they fail to be sunk in wretchedness [492c] by that “fairness” of justice and temperance, if they had no larger portion to give to their own friends than to their enemies, that too when they were rulers in their own cities? No, in good truth, Socrates—which you claim to be seeking—the fact is this: luxury and licentiousness and liberty, if they have the support of force, are virtue and happiness, and the rest of these embellishments—the unnatural covenants of mankind—are all mere stuff and nonsense. [492d]

Far from ignoble, at any rate, Callicles, is the frankness with which you develop your thesis: for you are now stating in clear terms what the rest of the world think indeed, but are loth to say. So I beg you not to give up on any account, that it may be made really evident how one ought to live. Now tell me: do you say the desires are not to be chastened if a man would be such as he ought to be, but he should let them be as great as possible and provide them with satisfaction from some source or other, and this is virtue? [492e]

Yes, I say that.

Then it is not correct to say, as people do, that those who want nothing are happy.

No, for at that rate stones and corpses would be extremely happy.

Well, well, as you say, life is strange. For I tell you I should not wonder if EuripidesÕ words were true, when he says:“Who knows if to live is to be dead,
And to be dead, to live?
Eur. Polydus1

1 Eur. fr. 638.

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