L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 914, March 19, 2017
The Editor Speaks (Types ?
by Ken Holder
Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
The Master said: In ruling a country of a thousand chariots there should be scrupulous attention to business, honesty, economy, charity, and employment of the people at the proper season.
A virtuous ruler is like the Pole-star, which keeps its place, while all the other stars do homage to it. People despotically governed and kept in order by punishments may avoid infraction of the law, but they will lose their moral sense. People virtuously governed and kept in order by the inner law of self-control will retain their moral sense, and moreover become good.
Duke Ai asked, saying: What must I do that my people may be contented?—Confucius replied: Promote the upright and dismiss all evil-doers, and the people will be contented. Promote the evil- doers and dismiss the upright, and the people will be discontented.
Chi K‘ang Tzu asked by what means he might cause his people to be respectful and loyal, and encourage them in the path of virtue. The Master replied: Conduct yourself towards them with dignity, and you will earn their respect; be a good son and a kind prince, and you will find them loyal; promote the deserving and instruct those who fall short, and they will be encouraged to follow the path of virtue.
Some one, addressing Confucius, said: Why, Sir, do you take no part in the government?—The Master replied: What does the Book of History say about filial piety?—Do your duty as a son and as a brother, and these qualities will make themselves felt in the government. This, then, really amounts to taking part in the government. Holding office need not be considered essential. The people can be made to follow a certain path, but they cannot be made to know the reason why.
Tzu Kung asked for a definition of good government. The Master replied: It consists in providing enough food to eat, in keeping enough soldiers to guard the State, and in winning the confidence of the people.—And if one of these three things had to be sacrificed, which should go first?—The Master replied: Sacrifice the soldiers.—And if of the two remaining things one had to be sacrificed, which should it be?—The Master said: Let it be the food. From the beginning, men have always had to die. But without the confidence of the people no government can stand at all.
Ching, Duke of the Ch‘i State, questioned Confucius on the art of government. Confucius replied: Let the sovereign do his duty as a sovereign, the subject his duty as a subject, the father his duty as a father, and the son his duty as a son.—A good answer! said the Duke; for unless sovereign and subject, father and son do their respective duties, however much grain there may be in the land, I could obtain none to eat.
Tzu Chang put a question about the art of governing. The Master said: Devote yourself patiently to the theory, and conscientiously to the practice, of government.
Chi K‘ang Tzu asked Confucius for advice on the subject of government. Confucius replied: To govern is to keep straight. If you, Sir, lead the people straight, which of your subjects will venture to fall out of line?
Chi K‘ang Tzu, being vexed by robbers, asked Confucius for his advice. Confucius replied, saying: If you, sir, can check your own cupidity, there will be no stealing, even though rewards should be offered for theft.
Chi K‘ang Tzu questioned Confucius on a point of government, saying: Ought not I to cut off the lawless in order to establish law and order? What do you think?—Confucius replied: Sir, what need is there of the death penalty in your system of government? If you showed a sincere desire to be good, your people would likewise be good. The virtue of the prince is like unto wind; that of the people, like unto grass. For it is the nature of grass to bend when the wind blows upon it.
Tzu Lu asked for a hint on the art of governing. The Master replied: Take the lead and set the example of diligent toil.—Asked for a further hint, he said: Be patient and untiring.
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