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[701a] instead of silent, as though they knew the difference between good and bad music, and in place of an aristocracy in music there sprang up a kind of base theatrocracy.1 For if in music, and music only, there had arisen a democracy of free men, such a result would not have been so very alarming; but as it was, the universal conceit of universal wisdom and the contempt for law originated in the music, and on the heels of these came liberty. For, thinking themselves knowing, men became fearless; and audacity begat effrontery. For to be fearless [701b] of the opinion of a better man, owing to self-confidence, is nothing else than base effrontery; and it is brought about by a liberty that is audacious to excess.

Most true.

Next after this form of liberty would come that which refuses to be subject to the rulers;2 and, following on that, the shirking of submission to one's parents and elders and their admonitions; then, as the penultimate stage, comes the effort to disregard the laws; while the last stage of all is to lose all respect for oaths or pledges or divinities,—wherein men display and reproduce the character of the Titans of story, [701c] who are said to have reverted to their original state, dragging out a painful existence with never any rest from woe. What, again, is our object in saying all this? Evidently, I must, every time, rein in my discourse, like a horse, and not let it run away with me as though it had no bridle3 [701d] in its mouth, and so “get a toss off the donkey”4 (as the saying goes): consequently, I must once more repeat my question, and ask—“With what object has all this been said?”

Very good.

What has now been said bears on the objects previously stated.

What were they?

We said5 that the lawgiver must aim, in his legislation, at three objectives—to make the State he is legislating for free, and at unity with itself, and possessed of sense. That was so, was it not?

Certainly. [701e]

With these objects in view, we selected the most despotic of polities and the most absolutely free, and are now enquiring which of these is rightly constituted. When we took a moderate example of each—of despotic rule on the one hand, and liberty on the other,—we observed that there they enjoyed prosperity in the highest degree but when they advanced, the one to the extreme of slavery, the other to the extreme of liberty, then there was no gain to either the one or the other.

1 i.e., “rule of the audience”; as we might say, the pit and gallery sat in judgment. Cp. Aristot. Pol. 8.6.

2 Cp. Plat. Rep. 4.424e.

3 Cp. Eur. Ba. 385.

4 A play on ἀπ᾽ ὄνου=ἀπὸ νοῦ: “to show oneself a fool”: cr. Artist. Nubes 1274: τί δῆτα ληρεῖς, ὥσπερ ἀπ᾽ ὄνου καταπεσών.

5 Cp. Plat. Laws 693b.

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