Suppose we accept everything that has been said so far. Now let us ask ourselves this question: What sort of city would I most like to have been brought up in? Surely the answer would be something like this: I would like to be brought up in a city that would so educate me that I would come as close as possible to being ruled by the rational part of my soul, by my rational desires, for that way I’d have the best chance of achieving true happiness.


[So] we have a reason to want to have been brought up in the city Plato describes in the Republic, for it now looks as if he designed that city to be one in which every one of us would receive the kind of education that would bring us as close to being ruled by reason as our nature … allows. As we read the Republic, we are likely to be disturbed by this conclusion. Anyone’s initial reaction to Plato’s ideal city is likely to be one of repugnance. Almost anyone nowadays will think that it is a repressive, even totalitarian place and that the freedoms we prize would be restricted there. This is a natural reaction, but it is one we ought to submit to the most careful scrutiny, for, if Plato is right, we may value these freedoms simply because of our enslavement to desires that distort our perception of the good and cause us to chase after things that will never make us really happy. (C.D.C. Reeve’s introduction to his revision of G.M.A. Grube’s translation of the <em>Republic</em>)