50. During National Governance, Common People Should Be Encouraged to Pursue Material Benefits Rather Than Ideology
Tao Te Ching: Chapter 3
Common people should be encouraged to reduce desires and to care about whether they have enough to eat only. Common people should be made to care about their health only rather than realise lofty ideals. Common people should not intrigue against each other and possess great political ideals. Those demagogic schemers should be prevented from acting recklessly and occupying the market. If the above scenes can be realised, the sages will be able to govern all countries well without great political behaviours.
This sentence is somewhat reasonable to some extent.
In Lao-Tzu’s country with authoritarian system, there is a social division of labour among people in the country. In any country of our practical life, there is a division of labour among people. People can be doctors, cops, teachers, workers, or self-employed labourers. There are numerous industries. In a micro sense, with a professional skill, people are able to make a living in the society.
However, human being is not an isolated individual. In a macro sense, various industries are associated. The development level of scientists decides the productivity and consumption level of the whole society.
The development level of medical science decides the average lifetime of people.
Politics has a direct and important relation with all other industries. Politics decides war or peace as well as the productive relation of the society. Besides, politics can decide laws, moral, principles, etc.
Politics is actually a complex and professional job.
In Lao-Tzu’s authoritarian system, noble persons can adjust social relations between men as well as the social order through rational judgment, analysis, and political power after fully understanding true and comprehensive knowledge mastered by human being, so as to realise social harmony and express the maximum potential of every person.
Noble persons mentioned by Lao-Tzu are individual persons or leading groups mastering political power. They will always start from state interests, national interests, and people’s interests. They come from common people, but they have better intelligence and political ability than common people. They are elites of common people but will always serve the people. They can represent people’s interests, which are interests of people throughout the country, maximum interests, long-term interests, and fundamental interests.
Politics is professional and society is huge and complicated. In an optimal society, ideal society, calm society, stable society, and harmonious society, division of labour and trust must exist among people. All people are engaged in their own careers and interests, but they will not produce severe conflicts with other people. They are able to keep harmony with others. Such society is needed by us.
The basic condition for Lao-Tzu’s authoritarian system society is that people or groups called noble persons should come from common people, be superior to common people, and can absolutely represent people’s fundamental interests. Three-representative thought is the basic condition of becoming people or groups called noble persons in the mind of Lao-Tzu.
Without people or groups called noble persons, the basic condition of Lao-Tzu’s authoritarian system cannot be met. Therefore, the system will collapse soon.
If the authoritarian system managed by noble persons mentioned by Lao-Tzu exists in the society, and the system is mastered by noble persons that can represent people’s interests, then the following sentences of Lao-Tzu will be tenable. ‘Common people should be encouraged to reduce desires and to care about whether they have enough to eat only. Common people should be made to care about their health only rather than realise lofty ideals. Common people should not intrigue against each other and possess great political ideals. Those demagogic schemers should be prevented from acting recklessly and occupying the market. If the above scenes can be realised, the sages will be able to govern all countries well without great political behaviours.’
In a country led by sages or noble persons, people do not need to care about politics or excessively participate in politics. Common people just need to worry about their houses, cars, money, children, and wives.
Actually, common people have two purposes to participate in politics.
1. Fun and curiosity
They want to confirm that they are safe. When common people go into politics, they just do for others and they will never be elected. They have no such ability. They tell themselves that they can master their fate, but this is no more than self-consolation. They just cheat themselves. Actually they can change nothing.
Due to the ugliness in human nature, no one can be trusted. Therefore, they have to go into politics by themselves and do for others. They just want to confirm that they are not betrayed and thrown into the garbage can.
Therefore, it will be a kind of happiness, beauty, and win-win result if people can elect or produce a collective and leader that will truly represent their interests and make them manage politics. Capable elites willing to make a contribution to the country should obtain the sovereign power of governing the country. It is also a sense of security and happiness if people have a person truly representing their interests to master administrative power and to maintain their interests.
Democratic politics means to let people acquire a tiny sense of security and vanity by spending a lot of time, energy, and money. This is a kind of pain and waste.