Now if there is any gift of the gods to men, it is reasonable that happiness should be god-given, and most surely god-given of all human things inasmuch as it is the best. But this question would perhaps be more appropriate to another inquiry; happiness seems, however, even if it is not god-sent but comes as a result of virtue and some process of learning and training, to be among the most god-like things; for that which is the prize and end of virtue seems to be the best thing in the world, and something god-like and blessed.
The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view to the common interest; but governments which rule with a view to the private interest, whether of the one or of the few, or of the many, are perversions. For the members of a state, if they are truly citizens, ought to participate in its advantages.
If thinking is like perceiving, it must be either a process in which the soul is acted upon by what is capable of being thought, or a process different from but analogous to that. The thinking part of the soul must therefore be, while impassable, capable of receiving the form of an object; that is, must be potentially identical in character with its object without being the object. Mind must be related to what is thinkable, as sense is to what is sensible.
We ought to be able to persuade on opposite sides of a question; as also we ought in the case of arguing by syllogism: not that we should practice both, for it is not right to persuade to what is bad; but in order that the bearing of the case may not escape us, and that when another makes an unfair use of these reasonings, we may be able to solve them.
These, then, are the four kinds of royalty. First the monarchy of the heroic ages; this was exercised over voluntary subjects, but limited to certain functions; the king was a general and a judge, and had the control of religion The second is that of the barbarians, which is a hereditary despotic government in accordance with law. A third is the power of the so-called Aesynmete or Dictator; this is an elective tyranny. The fourth is the Lacedaemonian, which is in fact a generalship, hereditary and perpetual.
In a word, acts of any kind produce habits or characters of the same kind. Hence we ought to make sure that our acts are of a certain kind; for the resulting character varies as they vary. It makes no small difference, therefore, whether a man be trained in his youth up in this way or that, but a great difference, or rather all the difference.
We must speak first about the division of land and about those who cultivate it: who should they be and what kind of person? We do not agree with those who have said that property should be communally owned, but we do believe that there should be a friendly arrangement for its common use, and that none of the citizens should be without means of support.
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