The sinner ought, therefore, to be corrected both by warning and by force, both by gentle and harsh means, and may be made a better man both towards himself and others by chastisement, but not by anger: for who is angry with the patient whose wounds he is tending?
“But they cannot be corrected, and there is nothing in them that is gentle or that admits of good hope.”
Then let them be removed from mortal society, if they are likely to deprave everyone with whom they come in contact, and let them cease to be bad men in the only way in which they can: yet let this be done without hatred: for what reason have I for hating the man to whom I am doing the greatest good, since I am rescuing him from himself?
Does a man hate his own limbs when he cuts them off? That is not an act of anger, but a lamentable method of healing.
We knock mad dogs on the head, we slaughter fierce and savage bulls, and we doom scabby sheep to the knife, lest they should infect our flocks: we destroy monstrous births, and we also drown our children if they are born weakly or unnaturally formed; to separate what is useless from what is sound is an act, not of anger, but of reason.
Nothing becomes one who inflicts punishment less than anger, because the punishment has all the more power to work reformation if the sentence be pronounced with deliberate judgment.
This is why Socrates said to the slave, “I would strike you, were I not angry.”
He put off the correction of the slave to a calmer season; at the moment, he corrected himself.
Who can boast that he has his passions under control, when Socrates did not dare to trust himself to his anger?