(Apology, 29c-d) Again, this seems to contradict what he says in the Crito about the supreme moral authority of the state and its laws and orders.
I believe, however, that it is possible to read the crucial passages about the authority of the state in the Crito in such a way as to render them consistent with Socrates' exhortation never to do wrong, and with his remarks about disobedience in the Apology.
Thus, Socrates was not obligated to capture Leon of Salamis, and would not be obligated to cease philosophizing if ordered to, since that would be doing something wrong (i.e.
something that is not within the bounds of justice); but he is obligated to accept and endure his punishment, as long as it was arrived at through proper judicial procedures.
51e, 52a), but again, the obvious problem is that it seems inconsistent with his fundamental principle that one should never do wrong (49a)--at least on the assumption, which Socrates clearly accepts in the Apology, that the state is not infallible as regards judgments of right and wrong.
Thus, a more charitable reading would interpret the passages about the moral authority of the state as referring implicitly to cases where the state does not require one to do anything unjust, but merely to endure something (or perhaps to do something that is not itself unjust, such as rendering some political service).I shall argue that although these claims seem to be in some tension with each other, the crucial claims about the authority of the state in the Crito can plausibly be interpreted in such a way as to remove any real inconsistency with the other claims.The first, rather striking claim about the moral authority of the state occurs at 51b of the Crito.Socrates argues that, because of the state's role as a provider of security, education, and various important social institutions (such as marriage), the citizens of the state are its "offspring and servants"; and from this he concludes that citizens are subordinate to the state and its laws to such an extent that if a citizen ever disagrees with the state's laws or orders, he "must either persuade it or obey its orders," even if the latter amounts to suffering death.The implication for his own case is clear: Socrates had tried to persuade the court of his innocence and of the injustice of his execution (as detailed in the Apology), but he had failed; therefore, he argues, he must now obey the court and accept his death sentence--even though he still thinks that he is in the right on this matter.Secondly, it might be objected that Socrates' view of the moral authority of the state is inconsistent both with what he did when ordered by the Thirty to capture Leon of Salamis for execution, and with what he says he'd do if ordered by the state to cease practicing philosophy (both from the Apology).When the Thirty ordered him to capture Leon, he refused, on the grounds that this would have been wrong (unjust and impious).To see this, it is necessary to distinguish first of all between two issues: (a) what the law might require you to do, and (b) what the law might require you to endure.With this distinction in mind, consider the following possible interpretations of Socrates' claim about the moral authority of the state in the Crito: () Citizens must obey any law or order of the state, whatever it asks them to do or to endure; (ii) Citizens must endure whatever any law or order of the state says they must--including the law that verdicts arrived at through proper procedures shall be carried out--but citizens need not and morally should not do what is prescribed by an unjust law.If the passages are read in this way, we can interpret Socrates' claim as ii above.When he says that one must obey the state's final laws and orders, what he means is that one must do anything it tells one to do within the bounds of justice, and that one must endure anything it tells one to endure.