This story in history is written with the hope that some of our politicians get to be enlightened and see that politics requires sincerity and truth and not otherwise. Virtue and benevolence is the foundation towards good politics and good governance and there can be no good strategy without this foundation.
Civil Secret Teaching of the Liu Tao
Laying the Foundation of Virtue and Benevolence
This is where the ruler must posses and continuously acquires the knowledge and principles of governance as being subservient to the people and this is the order of Heaven. The Grand Duke believes that the ruler must cultivate his virtue and submit to the guidance of Worthy men so as to gain greater wisdom which will see greater beneficence to the state and people.
The wisdom to establish the foundation can be seen in the various inquiry of King Wen to the Grand Duke:
King Wen inquired: “The world is replete with a dazzling array of states, some are full, and others empty, some well ordered others in chaos. How does it come to be thus? Is it the moral qualities of these rulers are not the same? Or that the changes and transformation of the seasons of Heaven naturally causes it to be thus?”
The Grand Duke said: “If the ruler lacks moral worth, than the state will be in danger and the people in turbulence. If the ruler is a Worthy or a Sage, than the state will be at peace and people well ordered. Fortune or misfortune lies with the ruler, not with the seasons of Heaven.”
King Wen said to the Grand Duke: “I would like to learn about the affair of administering the state. If I want to have the ruler honored and the people settled, how should I proceed?”
Grand Duke: “Just love the people.”
King Wen: “How does one love the people?”
Grand Duke: “Profit them, do not harm them. Help them to succeed, do not defeat them. Give them life, do not slay them. Grant, do not take away. Give them pleasure, do not cause them to suffer. Make them happy, do not cause them to be angry.”
King Wen: “May I dare ask you to explain the reasons for these?”
Grand Duke: “When the people do not lose their fundamental occupations, you have profited them. When the farmers do not lose their agricultural seasons, you have completed them. When you reduce punishments and fines, you give them life. When you impose light taxes, you give to them. When you keep your palaces, mansions, terraces and pavilions few, you give them pleasure. When the ministers and officials are pure and neither irritating nor troublesome, you make them happy.
“But when the people lose their fundamental occupation, you harm them. When the farmers lose their agricultural seasons, you defeat them. When they are innocent and you punish them, you will kill them (Kill them her means that you will kill their faith in the ruler as people dislike injustices). When you impose heavy taxes, you will take from them. When you construct numerous, mansions, terraces and pavilions, thereby wearing out the people, you make it bitter for them. When the minister and official are corrupt, irritating and troublesome, you anger them.
“Thus one who excels at administering a state, governs the people as parents governs their beloved children or as an older brother act towards his beloved younger brother. When they see their hunger and cold, they are troubled for them. When they see their labors and suffering, they grieve for them.
“Rewards and punishments should be implemented as if taking from yourself. This is the way to love the people.”