Mr. Trump, this old dude Plato would like to have a word with you.
A tyrant is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader. The people always have some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness; this and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs, for when he first appears he is a protector. Cunning is but the low mimic of wisdom. Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men. The community suffers nothing very terrible if its cobblers are bad and become degenerate and pretentious; but if the Guardians of its laws and constitution, who alone have the opportunity to bring it good government and prosperity become a mere sham, then clearly it is completely ruined. Money-makers are tiresome company, as they have no standard but cash value. The measure of a man is what he does with power. One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools. False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.
Knowledge becomes evil if the aim be not virtuous. Laws are partly formed for the sake of good men, in order to instruct them how they may live on friendly terms with one another, and partly for the sake of those who refuse to be instructed, whose spirit cannot be subdued or softened or hindered from plunging into evil. Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws. Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood let alone believed by the masses. But surely “blind” is just how you would describe men who have no true knowledge of reality, and no clear standard in their mind to refer to, as a painter refers to his model, and which they can study closely before they start laying down rules about what is fair or right or good where they are needed, or maintaining, as Guardians, any rules that already exist. Yes, blind is just about what they are.
Our object in the construction of the state is the greatest happiness of the whole, and not that of any one class. Is there anything worse for a state than to be split and disunited, or anything better than cohesion and unity? Wherever it has been established that it is shameful to be involved with sexual relationships with men, that is due to evil on the part of the rulers, and to cowardice on the part of the governed. Homosexuality is regarded as shameful by barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments, just as philosophy is regarded as shameful by them because it is apparently not in the interest of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or passionate love – all of which homosexuality is particularly apt to produce. It is right to give every man his due. Societies aren’t made of sticks and stones, but of men whose individual characters, by turning the scale one way or another, determine the direction of the whole.
Truth is the beginning of every good thing, both in heaven and on earth; and he who would be blessed and happy should be from the first a partaker of truth, for then he can be trusted. Let every man remind their descendants that they also are soldiers who must not desert the ranks of their ancestors, or from cowardice fall behind. Integrity is your destiny – it is the light that guides your way. ~ Plato