Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Tao of Ron Paul and the Founders

"If we had stuck to what Congressman Paul views as our founding principles, we would have undoubtedly been a smaller and poorer and less consequential country, but also purer and freer and more peaceful," says a mainstream pundit, suggesting such would be "a trade he is willing to make," quoted by Conservative Heritage Times' Patroon — What it comes down to. "I don’t believe this nor should you," says Patroon.

However, this blogger not only believes it, but agrees wholeheartedly with the suggested "trade he is willing to make." Here is Lao Tzu's vision of a "smaller and poorer and less consequential country, but also purer and freer and more peaceful," from the LXXXth Chapter of the Tao Te Ching, translated by James Legge:
    In a little state with a small population, I would so order it,
    that, though there were individuals with the abilities of ten or a
    hundred men, there should be no employment of them; I would make the
    people, while looking on death as a grievous thing, yet not remove
    elsewhere (to avoid it).

    Though they had boats and carriages, they should have no occasion
    to ride in them; though they had buff coats and sharp weapons, they
    should have no occasion to don or use them.

    I would make the people return to the use of knotted cords (instead
    of the written characters).

    They should think their (coarse) food sweet; their (plain) clothes
    beautiful; their (poor) dwellings places of rest; and their common
    (simple) ways sources of enjoyment.

    There should be a neighbouring state within sight, and the voices
    of the fowls and dogs should be heard all the way from it to us, but I
    would make the people to old age, even to death, not have any
    intercourse with it.

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Blogger Zac said...

It's an alluring idea, but dependent on a broader metaphysics also. ie. to avoid the simplistic accusation of 'quietism' on an individual level or laissez-faire liberalism on the political level, I think it's important to understand the taoist view that we are born with the inherent goodness and purity of our nature, but 'go wrong' because of our desires and the accumulation of knowledge. In other words, a simple way of life is good because it helps to foster a return to our original nature, nourished by the way.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Stephen and Sendy said...

I just slipped over to The Western Confucian after reading you on Lew Rockwell's blog (to which I am addicted). In your post "The Tao of Ron Paul..." I was stunned to notice Lao Tzu's casual mention of the us of knotted cords before written characters. I have never seen this reference before. Seems the ancient Chinese and the pre-Incan civilizations were using the same methods! Wow! I would like to see more analysis of this....

11:49 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Well said, Zac Tzu.

S % S, my thoughts exactly when I first read the Tao Te Ching.

3:00 PM  

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