A true king

子曰:「『善人為邦百年,亦可以勝殘去殺矣。』誠哉是言也!」
Confucius said: “’When good men govern a country for a hundred years, cruelty can be overcome and killing eliminated.” How true this saying is!”

子曰:「如有王者,必世而後仁。」
Confucius said: “Even with a true king, it would still take one generation for goodness to prevail.”

Of course, the really challenge that Confucius fails to mention in the two passages is finding a “true king” or “good men” to govern properly.

For all his pronouncements on the subject, the only concrete example that Confucius could cite, apart from a few no-doubt obligatory hat tips to the mythical sage kings of deep antiquity, was his hero the Duke of Zhou, who lived over a thousand years before the sage did. That’s a long time to wait for the right person to come along to rescue humanity from chaos and depravity!

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