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[50a] from here without the consent of the state, we are doing harm to the very ones to whom we least ought to do harm, or not, and whether we are abiding by what we agreed was right, or not.

Crito
I cannot answer your question, Socrates, for I do not understand.

Socrates
Consider it in this way. If, as I was on the point of running away (or whatever it should be called), the laws and the commonwealth should come to me and ask, “Tell me, Socrates, what have you in mind to do? Are you not intending by this thing you are trying to do, to destroy us, [50b] the laws, and the entire state, so far as in you lies? Or do you think that state can exist and not be overturned, in which the decisions reached by the courts have no force but are made invalid and annulled by private persons?” What shall we say, Crito, in reply to this question and others of the same kind? For one might say many things, especially if one were an orator, about the destruction of that law which provides that the decisions reached by the courts shall be valid. Or shall we say to them, [50c] “The state wronged me and did not judge the case rightly”? Shall we say that, or what?

Crito
That is what we shall say, by Zeus, Socrates.

Socrates
What then if the laws should say, “Socrates, is this the agreement you made with us, or did you agree to abide by the verdicts pronounced by the state?” Now if I were surprised by what they said, perhaps they would continue, “Don't be surprised at what we say, Socrates, but answer, since you are in the habit of employing the method of question and answer. Come, [50d] what fault do you find with us and the state, that you are trying to destroy us? In the first place, did we not bring you forth? Is it not through us that your father married your mother and begat you? Now tell us, have you any fault to find with those of us who are the laws of marriage?” “I find no fault,” I should say. “Or with those that have to do with the nurture of the child after he is born and with his education which you, like others, received? Did those of us who are assigned to these matters not give good directions when we told your father to educate you in music and gymnastics?” [50e] “You did,” I should say. “Well then, when you were born and nurtured and educated, could you say to begin with that you were not our offspring and our slave, you yourself and your ancestors? And if this is so, do you think right as between you and us rests on a basis of equality, so that whatever we undertake to do to you it is right for you to retaliate? There was no such equality of right between you and your father or your master, if you had one, so that whatever treatment you received you might return it, answering them if you were reviled,


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