Getting into this box is what's best for both of us. During your time in the box, you will learn so much, and yet experience so little. It's a wild ride, my friend, one well worth the time spent...and let's face it, you don't have much to do these days anyway.

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Confucius - a smart guy.

Been reading through the Analects again, and noticing all the parallels that can be drawn. 

Confucius and reactionary thought

As a recap, the general consensus of the reactionary position, as outlined by Nick B. Steves:
  • Hierarchical social structures: Hierarchy is not only not bad, but natural and absolutely essential to the proper functioning of any social structure;
  • Sex Realism: Sex differences are real, are ordained by nature or nature’s god or both, and we ignore them at our peril;
  • Race Realism: Race and group differences are real, are ordained by nature or nature’s god or both, and we ignore them at our peril;
  • Memetic Realism (“Deep Heritage”): Traditional folkways tend to be real, i.e., non-ideological, and naturally arising adaptations to social realities, which therefore represent pretty good (at least) local solutions to very (or intractably) complex problems;
  • Economic Realism (later badly dubbed “Microeconomics” and we still await a name for the phenomenon): In any economy where an absolutely fixed supply of (properly divisible) money is deemed impossible or impractical, there is ipso facto a con game going where the issuance of money has itself become a political weapon;
  • (Hyper)Federalism: Local optima rarely scale well; subsidiarity; the right of exit must be guaranteed;
  • Social Justice: If social justice is anything at all, it is merely justice;
  • Democracy: The best and brightest of any society were ordained by nature or nature’s god or both to lead. Expansion of the franchise beyond that natural aristocracy is tragicomically foolish;
  • Politics: Defined as competition for parcels of power over unrelated others, usually as a means of redistributing wealth, politics is rightly minimized in any sane society.
Of the points above, the Analects deal mostly with hierarchy, memetics and politics.

Tribe and tradition
"Harmony is the value of performing the rites. Such was the beauty of the way of emperors in matters great and small. Yet there are times when this is not acceptable. When there is harmony for harmony's sake, undisciplined by the rites, it is not acceptable."

- Chapter 1, verse 12.
Even more than two thousand years ago, people understood the principle of logos over agape. 
"Lead through policies, discipline through punishments, and the people may be restrained but without a sense of shame. Lead through virtue, discipline with the rites, and there shall be a sense of shame and conscientious improvements."
- Chapter 2, verse 3.
We can see this with our inane laws and policies today - and yet society continues to crack and split along the seams. Comparatively, social shame and censure is a much more humane and effective way of keeping people in line.
"Tzu Kung (one of Confucius' disciples) wished to dispense with the sacrifice of a live goat for the lunar offering.
"Confucius said, 'Tzu, you value the goat, I value the rites.'"

- Chapter 3, verse 17.

"If a state is to be ruled by the rites and deference, what difficulty could there be? If the state is not ruled by the rites, then of what use are the rites?"

- Chapter 4, verse 13.
Hierarchy and Leadership
"In leading a state of a thousand chariots, respect the office and be trustworthy, economise the use of resources and love the people, and employ the people when it is timely."

- Chapter 1, verse 5.

"To rule with virtue is like the North Star in its place, around which all other stars revolve in homage."

- Chapter 2, verse 1.

Duke Ting asked: "How should the lord employ his subjects, and how should subjects serve their lord?"

Confucius replied: "The lord should employ his subjects in accordance with the rites. The subjects should serve their lord with loyalty."

- Chapter 3, verse 19.

"When given food by the lord, always straighten the mat and try it immediately. When given uncooked meat by the lord, always cook it and make an offering from it. When given livestock by the lord, always rear it.

"In attendance to the lord at meals, when the lord is making the offering, try the food first. In illness when visited by the lord, lie with head to the east, covered in court attire and draped with sash.

"When summoned by the lord, make ready to depart before the carriage is harnessed."

- Chapter 10, verse 3.
The elites are to exhibit noblesse oblige when dealing with the people. The people, in return, are to defer to proper hierarchy.

"Tseng Tzu (one of Confucius' disciples) said:

"Each day I examine myself on three counts: whether or not I am loyal to those on whose behalf I act, whether or not I am trustworthy in my dealings with friends, whether or not I practice what is imparted."

- Chapter 1, verse 4.

"Meet the virtuous and think how to be their match. Meet those not virtuous and examine yourself."

- Chapter 4, verse 17.

"Advocate loyalty and trustworthiness. Have no friends who are not your equals. Do not hesitate to correct faults."

- Chapter 9, verse 24.
The Gentleman and the Petty Man
"The gentleman does not seek to satiate himself in eating, does not seek ease in living, is quick in his dealings and prudent in speech, and keeps to the correctness of those in the way. He can be considered as devoted to learning."

- Chapter 1, verse 14.
"Gentlemen do not compete, except in archery. With both hands clasped, each greets the other in ascent. Having descended, they drink to each other. Their competition is gentlemanly."

- Chapter 3, verse 7.
Fair play and being a good sport.
"Riches and position are what men desire. If their attainment is to be by departing from the way, do not have them. Poverty and lowliness are what men hate. If their abandonment is to be by departing from the way, do not abandon them. If the gentleman abandons benevolence, how is he to live up to his reputation! The gentleman does not deviate from benevolence, not even during meals, during hectic times, nor in destitution."

- Chapter 4, verse 5.

"The gentleman sets his heart on virtue, the petty man sets his heart on land. The gentleman sets his heart on law, the petty man sets his heart on privilege."

- Chapter 4, verse 11.

"The gentleman understands righteousness, the petty man understands profit."

- Chapter 4, verse 16.
It is not hard to draw parallels between the gentleman/petty man of Confucius, and the natural aristocrat/rabbit person of the Reaction. The K-selected gentleman is virtuous and noble; he is benevolent and just not because he fears punishment, but because he wants to. Contrast with that of the R-selected rabbit person, forever status-seeking within the herd and quick to put others down if it means even a temporary advantage, but quick to flee when confronted toe-to-toe with real adversity.
"Those not benevolent cannot long endure adversity, cannot long be happy. The benevolent are at ease with benevolence. The wise are at ease with benevolence."

- Chapter 4, verse 2.
The first thing that came to mind when reading this verse is the last chapter of Cappy Cap's Enjoy the Decline, in which he presents three examples of what he terms "crusaders": democrat blacks, feminists and radical muslims. Most interestingly, he quite correctly notes that none of them are happy even in the medium-term, that they are all scowling and furious for much of their existences.

But such is the way of the rabbit people, is it not?

So what is my point in all this?

a) That I am becoming more convinced of my case that there indeed is a basis for moral absolutes - that once again, despite different environments, peoples, languages and cultures, the core set of rules that underwrite a successful civilisation does not change. "Nature, nature's god, or both," as the Reaction puts it.

b) That there is truly nothing new under the sun, that the problems we reactionaries see today have been identified and dealt with by our forefathers, that modernity has largely exacerbated problems that were always present.


  1. Replies
    1. There is a reason the ChiComs did their damndest to crush Confucianism during the Cultural Revolution, after all.