“Gorgias” by Plato

In this dialogue, Socrates argues that, just as the aim of a good man should not be to gratify his desires but to improve himself and strive toward goodness, so the prime object of the truly good statesman should not consist in gratifying the desires of the citizens, but in “transforming those desires and not allowing them to have their way, and using the powers which they had, whether of persuasion or of force, in the improvement of their fellow citizens”.

It’s ironic, if not tragic, that Socrates, who claimed “I am the only politician of my time”, was not able to transform the citizens of Athens but was accused, tried and put to death by them, as he himself had anticipated.

Quotes:

“He who removes injustice can be in no danger of being treated unjustly: he alone can safely leave the honorarium to his pupils [or fellow citizens], if he be really able to make them good.”

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