Plus ça change


In a disordered country, those who are praised by the multitudes are richly rewarded though devoid of accomplishments. Those who stick to their duties are punished, though free of guilt. The ruler is in the dark and does not understand. Worthies do not offer proposals. Officials form factions; persuasive talkers roam about; people embellish their actions. Those who are taken to be wise devote themselves to artifice and deceit; high officials usurp authority. Cliques and factions become widespread. The ruler is eager to carry out projects that are of no use, while the people look haggard and worn.

From the Huainanzi a second century BCE book of statecraft commissioned by Lui An, king of Huainan.

You can read more of this dispiriting advice here:

Image: Wikimedia Jordaens King Drinks.jpg

8 thoughts on “Plus ça change

      1. You make an excellent point. We are not alone. Trudeau, and Macron? Does it somehow help to speak French?

        Snowing at the moment, but spring is coming. It likely will take another two months to really arrive, but the days are much longer. Do your leaves (some of them?) turn color in the fall? We noticed some of the plane trees dropping brown leaves, but they seemed to be about the only ones.

        1. Yes, there are a lot of European trees here that change colour and/or are deciduous. Autumn is only just beginning so it was a bit too early for you to see them.

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