So remarkably perverse is the nature of man, that he despises those that court him, and admires whoever will not bend before him.
We Greeks believe that a man who takes no part in public affairs is not merely lazy, but good for nothing.
The powerful exact what they can; the weak grant what they must.
Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave. Therefore do not take lightly the perils of war.
Our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others. We do not copy our neighbours, but are an example to them. It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But while the law secures equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognised; and when a citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit. Neither is poverty a bar, but a man may benefit his country whatever be the obscurity of his condition.
Men’s indignation, it seems, is more excited by legal wrong than by violent wrong; the first looks like being cheated by an equal, the second like being compelled by a superior.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Thales of Miletus Greek Philosopher, Mathematician
- Polybius Greek Historian
- David Hume Scottish Philosopher, Historian
- Henry Kissinger American Diplomat
- Thomas Hobbes English Political Philosopher
- Niccolo Machiavelli Florentine Political Philosopher
- Aristotle Ancient Greek Philosopher
- Plato Ancient Greek Philosopher
- Xenophon Ancient Greek Philosopher
- Aesop Greek Fabulist