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Legalism -> Shang Jun Shu -> Fixing of Rights and Duties -> 4

Law is the authoritative principle for the people, and is the basis of government; it is what shapes the people.
Trying to govern while eliminating the law
is like a desire not to be hungry while eliminating food,
or a desire not to be cold while eliminating clothes,
西 or a desire to go east while one moves west.
It is clear enough that there is no hope of realizing it.
That a hundred men will chase after a single hare that runs away,
is not for the sake of the hare;
for when they are sold everywhere on the market,
even a thief does not dare to take one away,
because their legal title is definite.
Thus if the legal title is not definite,
then even men like Yao, Shun, Yu or Tang would all rush to chase after it,
but if the legal title is definite
even a poor thief would not take it.
天下Now if laws and mandates are not clear, nor their titles definite, the men of the empire have opportunities for discussion; in their discussions they will differ and there will be no definiteness.
If above the ruler of men makes laws, but below the inferior people discuss them, the laws will not be definite and inferiors will become superiors.
This may be called a condition where rights and duties are indefinite.
When rights and duties are indefinite, even men like Yao and Shun will become crooked and commit acts of wickedness, how much more then the mass of the people !
This is the way in which wickedness and wrong-doing will be greatly stimulated, the ruler of men will be despoiled of his authority and power, will ruin his country and bring disaster upon the altar of the soil and grain.


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