Beyond fear

As history has shown on so many occasions, people will inevitably rebel if their government is too repressive. Once they realize they have nothing to lose, not even the death penalty can frighten them.

「民不畏死,奈何以死懼之。若使民常畏死,而為奇者。吾得執而殺之,孰敢!常有司殺者殺。夫代司殺者殺,是謂代大匠斲。夫代大匠斲者,希有不傷其手矣!」
If the people are not afraid of dying,
What’s the point of trying to frighten them with execution?
To make sure that the people live in constant fear of death,
We would have to round up all the troublemakers and execute them.
But who would really dare to do that?
There is generally an official executioner appointed for this task.
Trying to carry out executions in the place of the official executioner,
Is like trying to cut wood in the place of a master carpenter.
Of those who try to cut wood like a master carpenter,
Very few avoid injuring their hands.

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