THE PLATONIC PRIME MINISTER
[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.]
Sm,—Mr. Baldwin's call to men of the Universities to apply themselves to the task of politics and the duties of government is full of the spirit of Plato. Socrates in describing his ideal Republic is the speaker :—
" There is one change," I said, " which I think we could certainly prove would bring about the revolution. It is certainly neither a small nor an easy change but it is possible."
" What is it 1" he said.
" Now," I said, " I am at the very topic which we likened to the greatest wave. Spoken, however, it shall be, even though it is likely to deluge one with laughter and ridicule . . . Consider, then, what I am about to say."
" Say on," ho said.
" Unless," I said, lovers of wisdom bear sovereign rule in states, or those who are now called sovereigns and governors become sincere and capable lovers of wisdom, and government and love of wisdom be brought together, and unless the numerous natures who at present pursue either government or wisdom, the one to the exclusion of the other, be forcibly debarred from this behaviour there will be ;to respite from evil, my dear Glaucon, for states, nor I fancy. for humanity ; nor will this constitution which we have just described in our argument come to that realisation which is possible for it and see the light of day. It is this which has made me so long hesitate to speak. I saw how paradoxical it would sound. For it is given to few to perceive that no other constitution could ever bring happiness eithet to states or individuals."--( Republic, Book V. Translated by Zimmern in The Legacy of Greece.)
We have a Prime Minister who is one of these few.—I am,