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Pages of republic (books 6 - 10)



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republic (books 6 - 10)   


dom and power; and this is the form of government in which
the magistrates are commonly elected by lot.

Yes, he said, that is the nature of democracy, whether the
revolution has been effected by arms, or whether fear has
caused the opposite party to withdraw.

And now what is their manner of life, and what sort of a
government have they? for as the government is, such will
be the man.

Clearly, he said.

In the first place, are they not free; and is not the city full
of freedom and frankness--a man may say and do what he
likes?

'Tis said so, he replied.

And where freedom is, the individual is clearly able to
order for himself his own life as he pleases?

Clearly.

Then in this kind of State there will be the greatest variety
of human natures?

There will.

This, then, seems likely to be the fairest of States, being
like an embroidered robe which is spangled with every sort
of flower. And just as women and children think a variety
of colors to be of all things most charming, so there are many
men to whom this State, which is spangled with the manners
and characters of mankind, will appear to be the fairest of
States.

Yes.

Yes, my good sir, and there will be no better in which to
look for a government.

Why?

Because of the liberty which reigns there--they have a com-
plete assortment of constitutions; and he who has a mind to
establish a State, as we have been doing, must go to a democ-
racy as he would to a bazaar at which they sell them, and
pick out the one that suits him; then, when he has made his
choice, he may found his State.

He will be sure to have patterns enough.

And there being no necessity, I said, for you to govern in
this State, even if you have the capacity, or to be governed,
unless you like, or to go to war when the rest go to war, or
to be at peace when others are at peace, unless you are so
disposed--there being no necessity also, because some law for-
bids you to hold office or be a dicast, that you should not hold
office or be a dicast, if you have a fancy--is not this a way
of life which for the moment is supremely delightful?

For the moment, yes.

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