This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
” Nor do men do wrong for the sake of the bare necessities only, the sort of wrongdoing for which Phaleas thinks that equality of substance is a cure—preventing highway robbery by removing the motive of cold or hunger; men also do wrong to gain pleasure and to satisfy desire. For if they have a desire above the bare necessities of existence, they will transgress to cure this desire; and moreover not because of desire only, but in order that they may enjoy the pleasures that are not associated with pains. What remedy then is there for these three classes of offenders? For the first class, a modest competence and work; for the second, temperance; and as for the third sort, any people who desire pleasures that depend on themselves would require no cure for their desires save that which is derived from philosophy, for the other pleasures require the aid of fellow-creatures. Since clearly the greatest transgressions spring from a desire for superfluities, not for bare necessaries （for example, men do not become tyrants in order to avoid shivering with cold, and accordingly high honors are awarded to one who kills a tyrant, but not to one who kills a thief）; so that the method of the constitution of Phaleas is efficacious only against the minor social disorders. Again, Phaleas desires to frame institutions for the most part which will lead to a right state of affairs in the internal relations of the citizens, but the legislator should also have regard to relations with the neighboring peoples and with all foreign nations.  It is essential therefore for the constitution to be framed with a view to military strength, about which Phaleas has said nothing. And the same is true also about property; for the citizens should not only possess enough to meet their requirements in civic life, but also to encounter the perils that face them from outside; hence they should possess neither so large an amount of wealth that it will be coveted by their neighbors and by stronger states while its possessors will be unable to repel their assailants, nor yet so small an amount as not to be capable of sustaining a war even against equal and similar states. Phaleas, it is true, has laid down no rule at all, but the question must not be overlooked, what amount of wealth is advantageous. Perhaps therefore the best limit to prescribe is that it must not profit a stronger people to make war upon the state because of its excessive wealth, but only just as it might do even if the citizens had not got so much property. For example, when Autophradates was about to lay siege to Atarneus,2 Eubulus bade him consider how long it would take him to capture the place, and then calculate what his expenditure would be for that period, for he himself was willing for the payment of a smaller sum than that to evacuate Atarneus at once; these words caused Autophradates to ponder and led him to abandon the siege. Now equality of property among the citizens is certainly one of the factors that contribute to the avoidance of party faction; it is not however a particularly important one. For the upper classes may resent it on the ground that their merits are not equal, owing to which we actually see them often attacking the government and rebelling;
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.