r the state and their own, must lead to inner discord, disorganisation and misery. Thus the ideal which Plato sets before us, is that of a perfectly unified society, in which each individual, confining himself strictly to his own function, shall in that function be a pure organ and egression of the general will.
Plato has thus risen to the organic idea of the State, as a union of men which is based upon the division of labour according to capacity, and in which the citizen is united to the whole by the special office he discharges. But in working out this idea in the form of the Greek City-State, he lands himself in two great inconsistencies. On the r one hand, sharing, as he does, in the Greek view that the higher life is only for the few—for those who are capable of intellectual culture, and in proportion as they are capable of it—he is unable to conceive the lower classes, those engaged in agricultural or industrial labour, as organic members of the State; he is obliged to regard them as the instruments of a society in whose higher advantages they have no share. And, on the other hand, he is so solicitous to exclude all self-seeking, and directly to merge private in social good, that he deprives even the favoured citizens of personal rights, and destroys the family lest it should become the rival of the State. He thus seems to secure the unity of the State, not by subordinating the personal and
THE IDEA OF GOOD 143
private interests of its members, but rather by pre-
any consciousness of such interests from arising; and the result is that he reduces it to a mechanical, instead of raising it to a spiritual or organic unity. In the reaction against the individualistic tendencies represented by the Sophists, he finds no way to maintain order except by the absolute suppression of individual freedom.
At the same time, this is not the whole truth, and it could not be the whole truth for one taught t > • > , , in the school of Socrates. Plato, indeed, made a in the views of his master, when he
that virtue cannot rest primarily upon
scientific knowledge, but only upon what he calls
right opinion, that is to say, upon a moral senti ment which is in great part the resuit of social
The virtue of the mass of men at ail
i , * » ' ■, • m > . * • titnes, and of ail men in the earlier part of their lives, must be the product, not of philosophic
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