Lao Tzu Individualism

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Civilization has come to be synonymous with the idea of mankind. It is what brings us together, what defines us, and what we strive for, but what separates us is how these civilizations should be run. In the time period of the Warring Kingdoms, two great Chinese philosophers, Lao Tzu and Confucius with works of Tao te Ching and Analects would set the debate for individualism versus civic duty. The political systems presented by Lao Tzu and Confucius represent two separate paths, but the ideal political system is one that is capable of fusing them together. A good government needs to have a balanced philosophy. Balance in Tao te Ching is found in almost every other phrase as Lao Tzu consistently warns of the dangers of the extremes,…show more content…
A direct distinction to the idea of governance drawn by Lao Tzu, Confucius stresses that the first course of action if he was in office was to rectify names. This rectification would set the stage for a solid distinction of ranks, responsibilities, and institutions in governance. This not just an expansion of centralized power, it is also a consolidation. A government that lacks clarity in operations is a government incapable of managing the people, because “In the matter of language, a gentleman leaves nothing to chance”. However, this signifies a duality. While government rests on a concrete bureaucracy, it draws its power from virtue. Confucius describes the concept as, “He who rules by virtue is like the polestar, which remains unmoving in its mansion while all the other stars revolve respectfully around it.” Government is not to be run by oppression or by force, but rather it is led by people of “virtue”. What Confucius actively recognizes that Lao Tzu forgets is people make up the government. A virtuous populace cannot exist without a virtuous government. For at the highest level of government, the king is an exemplar and his example will diffuse amongst the ranks. “Lead them by virtue, restrain them with ritual: they will develop a sense of shame and a sense of participation.” If virtue is lost, then the government can no longer function

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