Big government

It’s no exaggeration to say that Laozi was not a fan of “big government”: the more the ruling class taxes people and interferes in their daily lives, the more difficult they are to govern and the greater the likelihood that social conflict will follow.

Conspicuous consumption at the expense of others only serves to further fuel people’s resentment: Laozi wasn’t a fan of the “one percent” either.

「民之飢,以其上食稅之多,是以飢。民之難治,以其上之有為,是以難治。民之輕死,以其求生之厚,是以輕死。夫唯無以生為者,是賢於貴生。」
The people starve,
Because their rulers levy too much grain tax.
That is why they starve.
The people are difficult to govern,
Because their rulers interfere too much.
That is why they are difficult to govern.
The people make light of death.
Because their rulers lead lives of excess.
That is why they make light of death.
Only those who do not lead lives of excess,
Are best at understanding the true value of life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *