As edu­ca­tion in monar­chies aims only at uplif­ting the heart, in des­po­tic sta­tes it seeks only to demo­ra­lize it. There edu­ca­tion must be ser­vile ; it will be a good thing even in a posi­tion of com­mand to have had such a one, since no one is a tyrant without being at the same time a slave.

Extreme obe­dience assu­mes igno­rance in him who obeys ; it assu­mes igno­rance even in him who com­mands : he has no need to deli­be­rate, to doubt, or to rea­son, he has only to will.

In des­po­tic sta­tes, every hou­se­hold is a sepa­rate empire. The edu­ca­tion that consists prin­ci­pally in get­ting along with others is the­re­fore quite limi­ted ; it comes down to put­ting fear into the heart and fami­lia­ri­zing the mind with a few prin­ci­ples of very sim­ple reli­gion. Learning will be dan­ge­rous, emu­la­tion fatal ; and as for vir­tues, Aristotle can­not believe that there is one pro­per to sla­ves,1 which would cer­tainly limit edu­ca­tion in this govern­ment.

Thus edu­ca­tion there is in some sense empty : eve­ry­thing must be remo­ved in order to put some­thing in, and you must first make a poor sub­ject to make a good slave.

So why should edu­ca­tion strive to form a good citi­zen who would care about public mis­for­tune ? If he loved the state, he would be temp­ted to disa­ble the govern­ment’s resour­ces ; if he did not suc­ceed, he would doom him­self ; if he suc­cee­ded, he would run the risk of doo­ming him­self, the prince, and the empire.

Politics, book I.