If a country is governed with tolerance,
the people are comfortable and honest.
If a country is governed with repression,
the people are depressed and crafty.
When the will to power is in charge,
the higher the ideals, the lower the results.
Try to make people happy,
and you lay the groundwork for misery.
Try to make people moral,
and you lay the groundwork for vice.
Thus the Master is content
to serve as an example
and not to impose her will.
She is pointed, but doesn’t pierce.
Straightforward, but supple.
Radiant, but easy on the eyes.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 58, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Some More Unsolicited Advice
Okay, maybe I wasn’t being completely honest with the president-elect, or myself, when I said, yesterday, I have no expectations (neither hopes, nor fears), regarding his presidency. That would certainly be my ideal, it is what I aspire to, but I must admit I do yet have some hopes and some fears. This is why I was heartened, this morning, when I read that Trump had requested a meeting with Tulsi Gabbard, and read what she had to say about the meeting. So, having come clean about my lack of complete honesty, I am going to jump at this next opportunity to offer some more unsolicited advice to President-Elect Trump. And, while I am at it, let me give a huge thumbs-up to him for heartening those of us who long to have all neo-cons removed from seats of power.
So, here I am again, with another chapter on the art of governing. I hail from Missouri, aka the Show-Me state, so in that spirit, here comes my commentary.
Show me a country which is governed with tolerance, and I will show you a people who are comfortable and honest… Show me a country which is governed with repression, and I will show you a people who are depressed and crafty…
The choice before you, as you transition into the office of presidency, is between tolerance and repression. Choose wisely. And, as I told you, yesterday, beware the will to power. When the will to power is in charge, the higher your ideals, the lower the results will be. You have promised results. And, I am not opposed to all your ideals. Just be careful. Be vigilant in keeping that will to power at bay. If you try to make people happy, you lay the groundwork for misery… And, if you try to make people moral, you lay the groundwork for vice.
I seriously hope (yeah, there is that word, again) you will think on these things, and be like the Master (one who is in perfect harmony with the Tao). Such a one is content to serve as an example, and never seeks to impose their own will. You can be pointed (you have certainly proven that during your campaign), but without piercing. And, you can be straightforward, yet supple. Such a one is radiant, but easy on the eyes. That, by the way, is not a reference to the orange glow of your skin. What Lao Tzu is talking about is don’t give people reasons to fear you. Don’t just tell people they shouldn’t fear you, show us, by your actions.
Once again, thank you for meeting with Tulsi Gabbard. I think she, or someone like her, would make an excellent choice for Secretary of State. Come back tomorrow, Lao Tzu will have more good advice on the art of governing.