If the people do not fear death, how can the threat of death frighten them?
Suppose that the people do fear death. Would a person break the law, knowing that he would be arrested and put to death? Would he put himself in that position?
There is one executioner. If a person were to take his place, it would be like taking the place of a master wood carver. There are few that would not injure themselves.
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 74, translation by Robert Brookes)