Confucius on the foundations of the state

I saved this quotation in my journal many, many years ago. Every year that passes only proves the more how true it is.

Fear guiding what passes for policy in our national political circles leads us to put ever more reliance on the military, ever more resources into wars and the means of making wars, until we have become the danger, rather than the guardian against danger.

It is as if we have deliberately set out to reverse Confucius’ priorities.

“Tsze-kung asked about government. The Master said, “The requisites of government are that there be sufficiency of food, sufficiency of military equipment, and the confidence of the people in their ruler.”

Tsze-kung again asked, “If it cannot be helped, and one of these must be dispensed with, which of the three should be foregone first?” “The military equipment,” said the Master.

Tsze-kung again asked, “if it cannot be helped, and one of the remaining two must be dispensed with, which of these should be foregone?” The Master answered, “Part with the food. From of old, death has been the lot of all men; but if the people have no faith in their rulers, there is no standing for the state.”

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