“And another distinct part always emerges from the general population as follows.”

“In what way?”

“Presumably, if everyone is involved in making money, those who are by nature most orderly generally become wealthier than everyone else.”

“Quite likely.”

“Well, that is where the drones find most honey, and it is easiest to extract from there.”

“Yes,” said he. “How could someone extract it from the others who have so little? “

“Then, I imagine, wealthy people like this are called ‘the drones’ feeding-ground’.”

“Pretty much,” said he.

“The ‘People’ would be the third class, consisting of easy-going types, those who work their own land and do not own a lot. They constitute the most numerous and most powerful group in a democracy when they gather in an assembly.”

“That is right,” said he, “but they are not inclined to do this very often unless they get a share of the honey.”

“Do they not always get a share,” said I, “as much as the people in charge are able to spare, since they confiscate property from those who have it, distribute some to the people, but hold on to most of it themselves?”

“Yes,” said he, “that is indeed how they get a share.”

“In that case, I imagine, those whose property is being confiscated are compelled to put up a defence by speaking in the assembly, and by taking whatever action they can.”


“Then an accusation against them is made by those on the other side, and even though they have no desire for revolution, they are accused of conspiring against the people and acting like oligarchs.”


“Finally, they see that the people are trying to do them an injustice, not intentionally but out of ignorance, because they have been deceived by various slanderers. And at this stage they really do become oligarchs, whether they wish to do so or not. They are acting against their will, but the drone is stinging them and that is what produces this evil too.”

“Yes, exactly.”

“Then the two sides launch impeachments, lawsuits, and court cases against one another.”

“Very much so.”

“And in such a situation are not the people always inclined to put forward one person in particular as their own protector, whom they nurture and turn into a great man?”

“That is what they are inclined to do.”

“So this much is obvious,” said I. “Whenever a tyrant springs up, the root from which he springs is a protectorate, and nothing else.”

Plato, Republic VIII, 564e – 565d

Translation: David Horan