What Are the Principles of Legalism

This passage explains the general principles of Shen Buhai`s „techniques” but does not describe how they worked. „Techniques” and „rules” are described in legalistic texts as the best way to maintain control of the ruler: the enlightened ruler relies on them, while the reckless ruler throws them away and is then misled by the misleading words of his ministers and the inducements of persuaders (shui 說). But amid the emphasis on the power of techniques, rules, laws and regulations, we can discover the sober realization that even these are not always enough and that a perfect administrative system simply cannot emerge. Thus, in one of the last chapters of the book Lord Shang, it is said: People have likes and dislikes; Therefore, the people can be governed. The leader must examine likes and dislikes. Likes and dislikes are the basis of rewards and punishments. The disposition of the people is to love ranks and references and not to love punishments and punishments. The ruler uses both to guide the will of the people and determine what they want. (Shang jun shu 9:65; Book of Lord Shang 9.3) Guided by legalistic thought, the first Qin Qin emperor Shi Huang conquered and united the belligerent states of China into thirty-six administrative provinces under what is commonly regarded as the first Chinese empire, the Qin Dynasty. Qin`s document „On the Road to Becoming a Official” proclaims the ideal official as a reactive channel that conveys the facts of his place to the court and his orders without interrupting his own will or ideas.

He ordered the officer to obey his superiors, limit his wishes, and build roads to facilitate the transmission of instructions from the center without modification. He praises loyalty, lack of bias, reverence and evaluation of facts. [81] The founder of the legalistic school was Hsün Tzu or Hsün-tzu. The most important principle in his thinking was that humans are inherently evil and prone to criminal and selfish behavior. So if people are allowed to engage with their natural inclinations, the result will be conflict and social disorder. As a solution to this problem, the ancient wise kings invented morality. Since morality does not exist in nature, the only way to behave morally is through habituation and severe punishment (Lau 120). Like the Italian political philosopher Machiavelli, Hsün Tzu clearly distinguishes between what belongs to heaven and what belongs to man.

Later legalistic thought influenced Chinese political theorists such as Tung Chung-shu, who believed in a rigid mathematical relationship in social arrangements. He must be anything but an arbitrary despot, if by despot one understands a tyrant who follows all his impulses, whims, and passions. Once the systems that hold the entire structure are in place, it should not interfere with their operation. It can use the whole system as a means to achieve its national and international ambitions, but it must not interfere with its impersonal functioning. He must always be able to maintain an iron wall between his private life and his public role. Concubines, friends, flatterers and charismatic saints must have no influence on the course of politics, and he must never relax his distrust of the motives of those around him. [260] [261] Guan Zhong and later Mozi (470-391 BC). A.D.) recommended objective, reliable, easily enforceable standards,[94][14]:348–349 [95] publicly available standards or models that resist what sinologist Chad Hansen calls „the cultivated intuition of societies of self-admiration,” experts in singing ancient texts. [14]: 348–349 [77] For Guan Zhong, Fa could complement any traditional scheme, and he uses Fa alongside the Confucian Li (the unique principles or norms of things that determine and distinguish them) that he always cherished. Some aspects of the legalistic agenda – a powerful state crushing society, rigid control over the population and administrative apparatus, harsh laws, etc.

– seem to support this equation. But when we enter the realm of mind control – a sine qua non of genuine totalitarian politics – the results are somewhat ambiguous. Although Shang Yang and Han Fei have a lot to say on issues of culture and learning, their message is extremely negative: they eagerly expose the errors of their opponents` views, but do not necessarily offer their own ideological alternative. Another example of Shu is Chuan-shu, or „political maneuver.” The concept of ch`uan or „weighing” numbers in the legalistic writings of the earliest times. It also appears in Confucian writings as the centerpiece of moral action, including in the Mencius and the doctrine of the center. Weighing is compared to the „norm”. Life and history often require adjustments in human behavior that must match what is required at any given time. It is always a matter of human judgment.

A judge who must rely on his subjective wisdom in the form of reasonable consideration relies on Ch`uan. The Confucian Zhu Xi, who was remarkably not a restorer, emphasized AIDS as compensation for incomplete norms or methods. [184] 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) The strong adherence of legalists to the principles of monarchism is evident; But it is not free of multiple tensions and contradictions. These are fully embodied in Han Fei`s thought.

Han Fei shared his predecessors` view of the ruler as the pivot of the socio-political order, as the sole guarantor of stability and prosperity for his subjects; But he was also bitterly aware of the sovereign`s inadequacy. The very fact that the monarch – unlike his officials – owed his position solely to the pedigree meant that this position was in most cases occupied by mediocrity. Several historical examples scattered around Han Feizi clearly show how devastating the incompetence of the leader can be (Graziani 2015). The intrinsic contradiction between an institutionally infallible and humanly misguided ruler is the main source of tension in Han Feizi (Pines 2013b). Of the ten „legalistic” texts in the Han Emperor`s catalogue, six ceased circulation more than a millennium ago; Two have arrived relatively unscathed, and of two others, only a few fragments have survived the vicissitudes of time. The oldest text (in terms of composition) is the Book of Lord Shang (Shang jun shu 商君書), attributed to Shang Yang (aka Gongsun Yang 公孫鞅 or Lord Shang / Lord of Shang 商君), a major reformer who orchestrated the rise of the state of Qin 秦 to position himself as a leading power in the Chinese world. During the transfer, the book lost at least five chapters; Others had been severely damaged and barely legible.