If the ruler loves to use his knowledge to alter the laws, constantly manipulates public matters for his personal benefit, alters and changes the regulations and prohibitions, and frequently issues all sorts of directives, the state can be destroyed.Han Fei-tzu, “Precursors to Extinction”
Are we in the end-game of an East vs. West Cold War that never really ended? If so, how might we tell who is winning? In The Tao of Spycraft: Intelligence Theory and Practice in Traditional China, Chapter 14 covers the topic of political intelligence, with a subsection titled “Signs of a Doomed State.” Here we read classic commentaries from ancient Chinese sages. Some of the warning signs might be applied to China, others might be applied to America. Are both countries doomed?
Consider Yen-tzu’s observation that the ruler of a doomed state “likes to boast; his wisdom is meager but he likes to rely on himself, he is estranged from the noble an lowly; the great ministers neglect the rites; he inclines to flatterers and sycophants while slighting worthy men, takes pleasure in being rude and uncouth and in manipulating the common people; the state lacks common laws; the people lack pattern and order; he takes those skilled in sophistry as wise, those harsh to the people as loyal … takes pleasure in other people”s grief and finds profit in their hardship; his virtue is insufficient to embrace the people and his government is inadequate to nourish them; [his] rewards [are] insufficient to stimulate them to goodness and [his] punishments inadequate to prevent evil — this is the behavior of a doomed state.” (p.412)
With these precepts in mind, watch my Man In America interview with Seth. Which country is in a better position to prevail and which is boxed into a corner?
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