will show disrespect to superiors, and there has never been a man who is not disrespectful to
superiors, and there has never been a man who is not disrespectful to superiors and yet creates
disorder....Filial piety and brotherly respect are the root of humanity [ren].”
What does Confucius mean by "filial piety"?
Confucius said, “Lead the people with governmental measures and regulate them with laws and
punishment, and they will avoid wrongdoing but will have no sense of honor and shame. Lead
them with virtue and regulate them by the rules of propriety, and they will have a sense of
shame and, moreover, set themselves right.” [2:3]
Chi K’ang asked Confucius about government, saying, “What do you think of killing the wicked
and associating with the good?” Confucius replied, “In your government what is the need of
killing? If you desire what is good, the people will be good. The character of a ruler is like wind
and that of the people is like grass. In whatever direction the wind blows, the grass always
Confucius said, “If a ruler sets himself right, he will be followed without his command. If he does
not set himself right, even his commands will not be obeyed.”
According to Confucius, what are the characteristics of the ideal ruler?
Those who are ignorant about government insistently say: "Win the hearts of the people." If
order could be procured by winning the hearts of the people, then even the wise ministers Yi Yin
and Kuan Chung would be of no use. For all that the ruler would need to do would be to listen to
the people. Actually, the intelligence of the people is not to be relied upon any more than the
mind of a baby....
The reason for the ruler to look for wise and well-informed men is that the intelligence of the
people is not such as to be respected or relied upon. For instance, in ancient times, when Yu
opened the rivers and deepened them, the people gathered tiles and stones (to hit him); when
the prime minister of Cheng, Tzu Ch'an, cleared the fields and planted mulberry trees, the
people of Cheng slandered and reviled him. Yu benefited the whole empire and Tzu Ch'an
preserved the state of Cheng, but each incurred slander thereby. Clearly the intelligence of the
people is not to be relied upon. Therefore, to seek for the worthy and the wise in selecting
officials and to endeavor to suit the people in
administering the government are equally the cause of chaos and not the means for attaining order.
How should a ruler deal with his subjects, according to Han Fei?
moderation can there be an early return to the normal state of humankind. This early return
is the same as a great storage of virtue. With a great storage of virtue there is nothing that
may not be achieved. If there is nothing that may not be achieved, then no one will know to
what extent this power reaches. And if no one knows to what extent a man’s power reaches,
that man is fit to be the ruler of a state...; practice non-interference in order to win the
The greater the number of laws and enactments, the more thieves and robbers there
will be. Therefore the Sage [Laozi] says: “So long as I do nothing, the people will right
themselves. If only I keep from meddling, the people will grow rich. If only I am free from
desire, the people will come naturally back to simplicity....
According to Daoism, how should a ruler govern?