republic (books 6 - 10)
of some newly found blooming youth who is the reverse of
Yes, indeed, he said; I believe that he would.
Truly, then, I said, a tyrannical son is a blessing to his
father and mother.
He is indeed, he replied.
He first takes their property, and when that fails, and
pleasures are beginning to swarm in the hive of his soul, then
he breaks into a house, or steals the garments of some nightly
wayfarer; next he proceeds to clear a temple. Meanwhile
the old opinions which he had when a child, and which gave
judgment about good and evil, are overthrown by those others
which have just been emancipated, and are now the body-
guard of love and share his empire. These in his democratic
days, when he was still subject to the laws and to his father,
were only let loose in the dreams of sleep. But now that
he is under the dominion of Love, he becomes always and in
waking reality what he was then very rarely and in a dream
only; he will commit the foulest murder, or eat forbidden
food, or be guilty of any other horrid act. Love is his tyrant,
and lives lordly in him and lawlessly, and being himself a
king, leads him on, as a tyrant leads a State, to the per-
formance of any reckless deed by which he can maintain him-
self and the rabble of his associates, whether those whom evil
communications have brought in from without, or those whom
he himself has allowed to break loose within him by reason
of a similar evil nature in himself. Have we not here a pict-
ure of his way of life?
Yes, indeed, he said.
And if there are only a few of them in the State, and the
rest of the people are well disposed, they go away and be-
come the body-guard of mercenary soldiers of some other
tyrant who may probably want them for a war; and if there
is no war, they stay at home and do many little pieces of mis-
chief in the city.
What sort of mischief?
For example, they are the thieves, burglars, cut-purses, foot-
pads, robbers of temples, man-stealers of the community; or
if they are able to speak, they turn informers and bear false
witness and take bribes.
A small catalogue of evils, even if the perpetrators of them
are few in number.
Yes, I said; but small and great are comparative terms,
and all these things, in the misery and evil which they inflict
upon a State, do not come within a thousand miles of the
tyrant; when this noxious class and their followers grow
numerous and become conscious of their strength, assisted by
the infatuation of the people, they choose from among them-
selves the one who has most of the tyrant in his own soul,
and him they create their tyrant.
Yes, he said, and he will be the most fit to be a tyrant.
If the people yield, well and good; but if they resist him,