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Philosopher - Councilors
More is very impressed by Hythloday's account of his dinner at the Cardinal's, but he tells the mariner that it is only further proof that he (Hythloday) should enter the service of the state. Plato, the ancient philosopher, had said that kings would rule best when they were philosophers, and he wonders what the world had come to when philosophers would not even give king's advice.
Hythloday laughs and maintains that no king will listen to good advice. Every king, sure in his own right, would only do what he desires. He then gives a contemporary example. The King of France wishes to increase his territory and conquer Italy. His councilors, instead of dissuading him, abet and encourage him. They help the king in all that he needs to do to conquer Italy. They do not tell him to rule his own kingdom properly and not meddle with other countries. War, Hythloday says, is abominable as it kills a large number of people, destroys lands and makes kings paupers. Yet kings revel in it. He gives an example of a situation in a country called Nolandia where the king had to decide between the one of two kingdoms that were in his jurisdiction. His people complained because he was not giving enough attention to either one and they both suffered from his divided attention. Yet for most kings, war is considered glorious and if Hythloday were to advise the French king against it, he would be only laughed at.
More agrees with Hythloday, who then gives another example of how a wise man's council will fall on deaf ears. A king in need of money will do anything to raise it. His councilors, to please him, devise various methods to make the king's schemes legal. In effect, the king illegally taxes his subjects and his councilors help him to make it legal. No minister would dare tell the king that he is wrong and if he does so he would be considered a traitor. Right advice is often unpalatable to kings who want only flatterers around them. Any man who tells the king a few harsh truths or advises him to change his life will become very unpopular. This, Hythloday says, is very unfortunate. Kings forget that they are the shepherds who should feed their flocks before they themselves eat.
In Happiland, a place not far from Utopia, the king is bound by law not to increase his wealth. He could only have a certain fixed amount of money. After discussing the reasons for this limited income, Hythloday concludes if he were to discuss these issues in a king's court it would fall on deaf ears. Philosophy, in reality, has no place among kings.
Though somewhat convinced, More still feels that moral philosophy is important to kings. If all men behaved as they should, the world would be a better place. It is not possible for the world to be good unless men are good. Hythloday agrees in theory, but in practice he knows it cannot be accomplished. Men naturally head more towards evil than good. Certainly nobody will listen to him and he may end up becoming senile.