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《靳令 - Making Orders Strict》

English translation: J. J. L. Duyvendak [?] Library Resources
1 靳令:
Making Orders Strict:...:
If orders are made strict, orderly government is not delayed, and if laws are equable, officials are not wicked. Once the law is fixed, one should not damage it with virtuous words; if men of merit are appointed to office, people will have little to say; but if men of virtue are appointed to office, people will have much to say. The practice of good government begins with making judgments. Where five hamlets are the unit for judgments, supremacy is attained; where ten hamlets are the unit for judgments, there is merely strength. He who procrastinates in creating order will be dismembered. Govern by punishments and wage war by rewards; seek transgressors and do not seek the virtuous. Therefore, if the law is fixed and not altered, then... If in the country there are no wicked people, there is no wicked trade in the capital. If affairs are many and secondary things are numerous, if agriculture is relaxed and criminals gain the upper hand, then the country will certainly be dismembered. If the people have a surplus of grain, cause them to obtain office and rank by means of their cereals; if through their own efforts they can count upon obtaining office and rank, farmers will not be lazy. If a tube of no more than four inches has no bottom, it can certainly not be filled; to confer office, to give rank and to grant salaries, without regard to merit, is like having no bottom.

2 靳令:
Making Orders Strict:...:
If a state, when poor, applies itself to war, the poison will originate on the enemy's side, and it will not have the six parasites, but will certainly be strong. If a state, when rich, does not apply itself to war, the poison is transferred to its own interior, and it will have the six kinds of parasites and will certainly be weak. If the state confers office and gives rank according to merit, it may be said to be planning with complete wisdom, and fighting with complete courage. Such a country will certainly have no equal. If a state confers office and gives rank according to merit, then government measures will be simple and words will be few. This may be said to be abolishing laws by means of the law and abolishing words by means of words. But if a state confers office and gives rank according to the six parasites, then government measures will be complicated and words will arise. This may be said to be bringing about laws by means of the law and causing volubility by means of words. Then the prince will devote himself to talking; officials will be distracted with ruling the wicked; wicked officials will gain their own way, and those who have merit will retire more daily. This may be said to be failure. When one has to observe ten rules, there is confusion: when one has only one to observe, there is order. When the law is fixed, then those who are fond of practising the six parasites perish. If people occupy themselves entirely with agriculture, the state is rich; if the six parasites are not practised, then soldiers and people will, without exception, vie with one another for encouragement and will be glad to be employed by their ruler; the people within the borders will vie with one another to regard it as glorious, and none will regard it as disgraceful. Following upon this comes the condition where people will do it because they are encouraged by means of rewards and restrained by means of punishment. But the worst case is when people hate it, are anxious about it, and are ashamed of it; then they adorn their outer appearances and are engaged in talking; they are ashamed of taking a position and exalt culture. In this way they shun agriculture and war, and outside interests being thus furnished, it will be a perilous position for the country. To have people dying of hunger and cold, and to have unwillingness to fight for the sake of profit and emolument, are usual occurrences in a perishing state.

3 靳令:
Making Orders Strict:...:
The six parasites are: rites and music, odes and history, moral culture and virtue, filial piety and brotherly love, sincerity and faith, chastity and integrity, benevolence and righteousness, criticism of the army and being ashamed of fighting. If there are these twelve things, the ruler is unable to make people farm and fight, and then the state will be so poor that it will be dismembered. If these twelve things come together, then it may be said that the prince's administration is not stronger than his ministers and that the administration of his officials is not stronger than his people. This is said to be a condition where the six parasites are stronger than the government. When these twelve gain an attachment, then dismemberment ensues. Therefore to make a country prosperous, these twelve things should not be practised; then the state will have much strength, and no one in the empire will be able to invade it. When its soldiers march out, they will capture their objective, and having captured it, will be able to hold it. When it keeps its soldiers in reserve and does not attack, it will certainly become rich. The court officials do not reject any merits, however few they may be, nor do they detract from any merits, however many they may be. Office and rank are obtained according to the acquired merit, and even though there may be sophistical talk, it will be impossible thereby to obtain undue precedence. This is said to be government by statistics. In attacking with force, ten points are gained for every one point undertaken, but in attacking with words, a hundred are lost for every one marched out. If a state loves force, it is said to attack with what is difficult; if a state loves words, it is said to attack with what is easy.

4 靳令:
Making Orders Strict:...:
If penalties are heavy and rewards few, then the ruler loves his people and they will die for him; if rewards are heavy and penalties light, then the ruler does not love his people nor will they die for him. If the profit disappears through one outlet only, the state will have no equal; if it disappear through two outlets, the state will have only half the profit; but if the profit disappears through ten outlets, the state will not be preserved. If heavy penalties are clear, there will be great control, but if they are not clear, there will be the six parasites. If the six kinds of parasites come together, then the people are not fit for employment. Therefore, in a prosperous country, when punishments are applied, the people will be closely associated with the ruler, and when rewards are applied they will reap profit. In applying punishments, light offences should be punished heavily; if light offences do not appear, heavy punishments will not come. This is said to be abolishing penalties by means of penalties, and if penalties are abolished, affairs will succeed. If crimes are serious and penalities light, penalties will appear and trouble will arise. This is said to be bringing about penalties by means of penalties, and such a state will surely be dismembered.

5 靳令:
Making Orders Strict:...:
A sage-prince understands what is essential in affairs, and therefore in his administration of the people there is that which is most essential. For the fact that uniformity in the manipulating of rewards and punishments supports moral virtue, is connected with human psychology. A sage-prince, by his ruling of men, is certain to win their hearts; consequently he is able to use force. Force produces strength, strength produces prestige, prestige produces virtue, and so virtue has its origin in force, which a sage-prince alone possesses, and therefore he is able to transmit benevolence and righteousness to the empire.

URN: ctp:shang-jun-shu/making-orders-strict