Home > Uncategorized > Plato: No true statesman looks only, or first of all, to external warfare

Plato: No true statesman looks only, or first of all, to external warfare

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Plato: Selections on war

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Plato
From Laws
Translated by Benjamin Jowett

Athenian Stranger: But war, whether external or civil, is not the best, and the need of either is to be deprecated; but peace with one another, and good will, are best. Nor is the victory of the state over itself to be regarded as a really good thing, but as a necessity; a man might as well say that the body was in the best state when sick and purged by medicine, forgetting that there is also a state of the body which needs no purge. And in like manner no one can be a true statesman, whether he aims at the happiness of the individual or state, who looks only, or first of all, to external warfare; nor will he ever be a sound legislator who orders peace for the sake of war, and not war for the sake of peace.

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