Teach your children well

“The nurture and pursuits of the young should be regulated by laws, for when they become habitual they are not painful. Getting the right nurture and care while young, however, is perhaps not sufficient; but since young men should pursue and be habituated to these also when they have become adults, laws would be needed for these too, and, in general, laws would be needed for man’s entire life, for most people obey necessity rather than argument, and penalties rather than what is noble. In view of this, some think that legislators (a) should urge men to pursue virtue and should exhort them to act for the sake of what is noble, expecting those who are well on their way in their habits of acting well to follow their advice, (b) should impose punishments and penalties on those who disobey and are of inferior nature, and (c) should banish permanently those who are incurable; for they think that a man who is good and lives with a view to what is noble will obey reason, while a bad man who desires pleasures should be punished by pain like a beast of burden. And this is the reason they also say that the pains inflicted should be those which are most contrary to the pleasures these men love. So if, as already noted, the man who is to be good should be well nurtured and acquire the proper habits so that he may live in good pursuits and neither willingly nor unwillingly do what is bad, these would be attained by those who live according to intellect and an order which is right and has effective strength.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book X (trans. Apostle and Gerson)

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