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POLITICAL  CHANGES.         .                    605
that it will purify at once, or will even save from disintegra-
tion and ruin a corrupt society, nor that at any stage of human
progress it will effect a perfect conformity between even a
healthy society and its own idea. But I say that it is making
all things new, and if it can act constantly within a society to
raise and harmonize many of the members, a new order of
things in the state will sooner or later follow. Aside from the
assistance afforded to society and the state by this force, de-
cay must come. How can mere prudence or self-interest re-
press the excesses of those who believe nothing and have no
principle of right within them, especially if they imagine that
society has injured them, and if they hate it ?
There is a celebrated passage in Plato's republic (v., 18, 473
D.) where Socrates is made to say that unless philosophers
shall be kings in the cities, or kings and dynasts shall be well
acquainted with society, so that none but those who unite
both of these properties shall have rule in the state, there
will be no end of evils possible for states and for mankind. If
by these expressions he would have us understand that the
true philosopher—that is, the man of true wisdom and practical
insight—must rule if the people are to be well governed,
we may accept of them as true. And yet, like other opin-
ions of Plato, they only give us half the truth. The conceited
theorist in places of authority may do more harm than an
ignorant man who follows the guidance of wise counsellors.
And where is a corrupt state to find good rulers ? Certainly
they are not made such at home, for the corruption of society
acts on all classes, on ruler as well as people. Nor can such
a society be successful in discovering who will make good
rulers. Or if they are found, and are in character above the
men whom they govern, it is but.a very little that they can .
do to stem the tide of general corruption ; they retard the'
crisis of ruin rather than work reform. They are a very small <
force compared with the forces of evil in society and in con-
stitutions. They die, and if they leave heirs of their own
blood in their.places, these are not certain to walk in their
steps. The evils in society are likely to do more harm to a