"Statesman" - Plato
Str. Do you think that the multitude in a State can attain political science?
Y. Soc. Impossible.
Str. But, perhaps, in a city of a thousand men, there would be a hundred, or say fifty, who could?
Y. Soc. In that case political science would certainly be the easiest of all sciences; there could not be found in a city of that number as many really first-rate draught-players, if judged by the standard of the rest of Hellas, and there would certainly not be as many kings. For kings we may truly call those who possess royal science, whether they rule or not, as was shown in the previous argument.
Str. Thank you for reminding me; and the consequence is that any true form of government can only be supposed to be the government of one, two, or, at any rate, of a few.
Y. Soc. Certainly.
Str. And these, whether they rule with the will, or against the will of their subjects, with written laws or. without written laws, and whether they are poor or rich, and whatever be the nature of their rule, must be supposed, according to our present view, to rule on some scientific principle; just as the physician, whether he cures us against our will or with our will, and whatever be his mode of treatment-incision, burning, or the infliction of some other pain-whether he practises out of a book or not out of a book, and whether he be rich or poor, whether he purges or reduces in some other way, or even fattens his patients, is a physician all the same, so long as he exercises authority over them according to rules of art, if he only does them good and heals and saves them. And this we lay down to be the only proper test of the art of medicine, or of any other art of command.
Y. Soc. Quite true.
Str. Then that can be the only true form of government in which the governors are really found to possess science, and are not mere pretenders, whether they rule according to law or without law, over-willing or unwilling subjects, and are rich or poor themselves-none of these things can with any propriety be included in the notion of the ruler.
Y. Soc. True.
Str. And whether with a view to the public good they purge the State by killing some, or exiling some; whether they reduce the size of the body corporate by sending out from the hive swarms of citizens, or, by introducing persons from without, increase it; while they act according to the rules of wisdom and justice, and use their power with a view to the general security and improvement, the city over which they rule, and which has these characteristics, may be described as the only true State. All other governments are not genuine or real; but only imitations of this, and some of them are better and some of them are worse; the better are said to be well governed, but they are mere imitations like the others.