Teacher Tang Yuling will accompany you to read The Analects 36
36.Book 2 Wei Zheng (Of Governance), Chapter 19
The Duke Ai asked, saying, “What should be done in order to secure the submission of the people?“ Confucius replied, “Advance the upright and set aside the crooked, then the people will submit. Advance the crooked and set aside the upright, then the people will not submit.”
Highlights of this lecture include
1. Historical background of this chapter
Duke Ai of Lu, was the head of the state of Lu. “Ai” was the transliteration of the Chinese word “哀” the posthumous name or Temple name given to the Duke of Lu, Duke Ai means “Duke with grief.” Temple name was given in recognition of one’s lifetime contributions and errors. Being forced to flee abroad in an internal strife in Lu, making Duke Ai an absentee head of State Lu in exile. During his 27-year so-called reign had marked the beginning of a weak state of Lu. This chapter needs to be considered in the context of a weak Lu court dominated by three aristocratic clans. And Duke Ai, as head of Lu State didn’t have the support of his subjects.
2. The key task of the head of state is to recruit talents
The head of state does not have to do everything himself, his main task is to know his officials well enough to assign them jobs commensurate with their abilities. An example is the Ancient Chinese Emperor Shun, who was very strict to himself, always tried to learn and improve. He was excelled in putting the right man in the right position under his leadership. After he ascended the throne, he had created a time of peace and great prosperity of China. Confucius told Duke Ai of Lu that appointing the upright and selfless people in higher official positions than those subordinates of petty virtues or crooked in character. Even if the capable subordinates were xiaoren of lesser virtues or selfish, they can still contribute their efforts properly under the auspices of the virtuously superior gentlemen. Xiaorens dared not to do evil deeds under supervision of the upright gentlemen. Then, as a leader, with the assistance of the talents he recruited, the government is well-led and gratefully supported. The Duke, by the right employment of his officers may secure and render the real submission of his subjects.
3. Promote the crooked and reject the upright, and the effect will be the reverse
A prince, the head of state cannot win people's support once the xiaoren or the crooked is promoted and placed above junzi. Once a junzi, having a heart to benefit the general public, is placed under the crooked and cannot display his talent, people of lesser virtues will chase after their own interests, the subjects would neither give their support nor submissive to a misled government.