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Han Fei`s immediate response is that the ruler should protect himself by carefully applying the techniques of government described above. It should review the reports of its ministers, review their performance, promote them or demote them according to the correspondence between “performance” and “name”; He must remain calm and mysterious, and let them be exposed; He should encourage mutual spying and whistleblowing between his ministers. But this supposedly clean solution is problematic. First, it sometimes requires superhuman intellectual abilities of the ruler, in direct contradiction to Han Fei`s insistence that his system is suitable for an “average” (i.e. mediocre) ruler (Han Feizi 40:392). Second, it is still unclear how the ruler has access to reliable information if each of his close associates – as Han Fei reminds him – is a potential fraudster (Han Feizi 6:36-37). And third, a system that requires constant surveillance of all can easily fall into the trap of totalitarian regimes in which “each agent in charge of inspection and control must logically be inspected and controlled himself” (Graziani 2015: 175). Han Fei`s foresight regarding ministerial machinations is remarkable, but it ultimately involves the ruler in the nightmarish situation of widespread distrust and distrust. This seems to be a rare glimpse into the fundamental inability of the administrative system to monitor itself in the long run; However, the discovery does not lead to radical alternatives to the system of control over officials. The chapter merely asserts the superiority of techniques and rules over personal interference by the leader in policy-making, and does not explain how these would prevent the machinations of supervisors. To the extent that techniques and rules are implemented by selfish – or simply erroneous – people, the question remains: to what extent can the impersonal mode of government cure the diseases inherent in the bureaucratic system (cf.

Van Norden 2013)? This question remains one of the greatest challenges to the legacy of legalists. The last sentence presents the reasons for the construction model of Shang Yang State. If a radical restructuring of society was legitimate in the past, it is also legitimate in the present. In the current situation where people “know”, a powerful state capable of forcing its subjects is the only viable solution. Lord Shang`s book (but not Han Feizi) has raised the possibility that in the future the need for excessive coercion will end and a softer, morally motivated political structure will develop, but these utopian digressions are of secondary importance in the text (Pines 2013a). What matters is the bottom line: radical reforms were inevitable in the past; And they are inevitable in the present. The sovereign does not reveal his desires; If he does, the minister will carve and decorate them. He does not reveal his point of view; If he does, the Minister will use it to express his other [opinion].

The way of the enlightened ruler is to let the connoisseurs completely exhaust their contemplations – then the ruler relies on them to decide things and is not exhausted by knowledge; To let the worthy use their talents – then the leader relies on them, assigns tasks and is not exhausted by abilities. If there is success, the leader has a worthy [name]; If it fails, the minister takes responsibility. (Han Feizi 5:27) Legalism in ancient China was a philosophical belief that people were more inclined to do evil than good because they are motivated solely by self-interest and need strict laws to control their impulses. It was developed by the philosopher Han Feizi (l. c. 280 – 233 BC) of the State of Qin. What the world calls a “worthy” is that which is defined as right; But those who define him as good and sincere are his clique (dang 黨). When you hear his words, you think he is capable; If you ask his supporters, they agree. Therefore, one is ennobled before having merits; You are punished before you commit a crime. (Shang jun shu 25:136–137; Book of Lord Shang 25:1) When world affairs change, a different path must be taken. That is why it is said: “If the people are ignorant, one can become monarch by knowledge; if the generation is taught, one can become a monarch by force” (Shang jun shu 7:53; Book of Lord Shang 7:1-7:2). The Yellow Emperor said, “A hundred battles a day are fought between the superior and his subordinates.” Subordinates hide their private [interests] and try to test their superior; The supervisor applies standards and measures to restrict subordinates.

Therefore, when norms and standards are established, they are the treasure of the leader; When cliques and cabals are formed, they are the minister`s treasure. If the minister does not assassinate his leader, it is because the cliques and the cabal are not formed. (Han Feizi 8:51) The brilliant leader is undifferentiated and calm in waiting, where names (roles) are defined and things fix themselves. If he is undifferentiated, then he can understand when reality is pure, and if he is calm, then he can understand when the movement is right. [243] [244] [245] [246] [132]: 186-187 [247] Movement between social classes is permitted. The old hierarchy and aristocratic inheritance had to be abolished. Performance and title refer to instructions and tasks. The Minister presents his statement; The sovereign assigns tasks to him according to his declaration and evaluates his merits exclusively according to the task.

If merit coincides with the task and the task coincides with the declaration, [the Minister] is rewarded; If the merit does not match the task and the task does not match the statement, he will be punished. (Han Feizi 7:40–41) What is called “unification of doctrine” is that. Fathers and older brothers, minor brothers, acquaintances, step-parents and colleagues all say, “What we should consecrate is a just war, and that is all.” This is what I, your preacher, call “the union of doctrine.” People`s desire for wealth and nobility does not cease until their coffin is sealed. And entering the gates of wealth and nobility must be done through military service. So when they hear about war, people congratulate each other; Whenever they move or rest, drink or eat, they are just singing and singing about war. (Shang jun shu 17:105; Lord Shang`s Book 17.4) During the Qin Dynasty, all books that did not support legalistic philosophy were burned, and writers, philosophers, and teachers of other philosophies were executed.


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