I revert to what I was saying when you interrupted me. And
first, answer me, did you beat me in my childhood?
Why, assuredly, for your good and in your own best interest.
Tell me, is it not right, that in turn I should beat you for
your good, since it is for a man's own best interest to be beaten?
What! must your body be free of blows, and not mine? am I not
free-born too? the children are to weep and the fathers go free? You
will tell me, that according to the law, it is the lot of children
to be beaten. But I reply that the old men are children twice over and
that it is far more fitting to chastise them than the young, for there
is less excuse for their faults.
But the law nowhere admits that fathers should be treated thus.
Was not the legislator who carried this law a man like you and me?
In those days be got men to believe him; then why should not I too
have the right to establish for the future a new law, allowing
children to beat their fathers in turn? We make you a present of all
the blows which were received before his law, and admit that you
thrashed us with impunity. But look how the cocks and other animals
fight with their fathers; and yet what difference is there betwixt
them and ourselves, unless it be that they do not propose decrees?
But if you imitate the cocks in all things, why don't you
scratch up the dunghill, why don't you sleep on a perch?
That has no bearing on the case, good sir; Socrates would find
no connection, I assure you.
Then do not beat at all, for otherwise you have only yourself to
I have the right to chastise you, and you to chastise your son, if
you have one.
And if I have not, I shall have cried in vain, and you will die
laughing in my face.
What say you, all here present? It seems to me that he is right,
and I am of opinion that they should be accorded their right. If we
think wrongly, it is but just we should be beaten.
Again, consider this other point.
It will be the death of me.
But you will certainly feel no more anger because of the blows I
have given you.
Come, show me what profit I shall gain from it.
I shall beat my mother just as I have you.
What do you say? what's that you say? Hah! this is far worse
And what if I prove to you by our school reasoning, that one ought
to beat one's mother?