+ Bibliography
+ About the Speakers


On Government

Robert Oxnam :: Confucius' overriding concern was with government. He believed that when virtuous men lead by moral example, good government would follow naturally.

Wm. Theodore de Bary :: Then if we recognize that the issue at the start is what is the true vocation of the noble man or the noble person, it's a question of, "How do you govern? What is the proper way of governing?"

[Excerpt from the Analects of Confucius]

Confucius said: "If a ruler himself is upright, all will go well without orders. But if he himself is not upright, even though he gives orders, they will not be obeyed."


Wm. Theodore de Bary :: He says, "To try to order the people through laws and regulations and implicit punishments, if you do that, people will find a way to avoid, evade the law, and they will have no sense of shame. If you lead them by virtue and the rites, then they will govern themselves, discipline themselves, and they will have a sense of shame."

That's a rather basic statement of the Confucian appeal to a basic personal morality in all persons, all men, rather than a reliance upon coercion, on force, on power.

Excerpt from Sources of Chinese Tradition, Wm. Theodore de Bary, ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1960), Analects 13:6.