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THE SELECTION OF RULERS (412b-414b)
The rulers of the city, Socrates says, will be chosen from the guardians. How will they be chosen?
Until the age of twenty (as you will see in Book VII), all guardians will receive the education Socrates has just described. Further, they will be observed from earliest childhood and, from time to time, given tests to determine their susceptibility to corruption and to measure their interest in the well being of the state. The best guardians-those who are intelligent, prudent in political matters, and morally excellent- will be trained to be rulers. They are the "true guardians"; the other guardians can be better described as "auxiliaries," helpers of the rulers. The ultimate ruler, then, will be an older, highly intelligent warrior whose primary characteristic is zealous, unflagging interest in promoting the good of the state. This ruler will be the statesman whom the lower order of guardians, the auxiliaries, will obey.
Socrates' just city is a "class society." He has now introduced all three classes of citizens: producers, warriors, and rulers. Producers (doctors, farmers, builders, and so on) provide for the citizens' physical needs; warriors protect the citizens; and rulers govern. Of the three groups, the ruling class is considered the most noble, and its members must be showered with great honors, in life and after, to ensure their continual love for the city.