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[506a] in a matter of this quality and moment, can we, I ask you, allow a like blindness and obscurity in those best citizens1 to whose hands we are to entrust all things?” “Least of all,” he said. “I fancy, at any rate,” said I, “that the just and the honorable, if their relation and reference to the good is not known,2 will not have secured a guardian3 of much worth in the man thus ignorant, and my surmise is that no one will understand them adequately before he knows this.” “You surmise well,” he said. “Then our constitution

1 As in the “longer way” Plato is careful not to commit himself to a definition of the ideal or the sanction, but postulates it for his guardians.

2 The personal or ab urbe condita construction. Cf. Theaet. 169 E.

3 the guardians must be able to give a reason, which they can do only by reference to the sanction. For the idea that the statesman must know better than other men. Cf. Laws 968 A, 964 C, 858 C-E, 817 C, Xen Mem. iii. 6. 8.

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