Li Si, Prime Minister of the Qin Dynasty: no justice, only power and tactics, burying the root of destruction

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BaoPengShan said that zhaogao, a politician, was a little man who played big; Liz, a gentleman who plays little.

Editor’s note: BaoPengShan said that after Han Fei, the age of philosophers passed, and politicians became excited. LISS is one of them. LISS is a farsighted statesman and a typical opportunist. He has successfully used the extreme form of power – violence to sweep the world and reach the peak of his career and power. In the end, they were subjected to countless torture and went to destruction.


Lisi is the man of CAI in Chu. When he was young, he was a county official. When he saw the rats in the toilet of the official’s house, the food was unclean, and the people and dogs near him, he was scared. When he entered the warehouse, he watched the rats in the warehouse, ate millet, and lived under the big veranda. There was no worry about people and dogs. So lisnai sighed and said, “the immortality of human beings is like a rat. It is in our ears!” ?

What kind of man was Sima Qian? All through the ages, emperors, generals, talented women and beauties have been in the hands of their shareholders. They weigh their weight, and their goods are determined by their words. First class people! The biography of Lisi describes Lisi, which is a story that has been written for thousands of years. At the beginning, the ink is brushed lightly, just like a kitchen woman sweeping away the dust. Lisi was included in another book and became a rat. In the long corridor of history, Lisi’s image of a thief was painted. Sima Qian often writes oneortwo trivial things at the beginning when he writes about characters. It seems that he only writes small sections of characters, but he often uses this to characterize the characters and hint at their future destiny. The first section of the biography of LISS is cited above as a typical example.

When writing about Han Fei, I mentioned that the pre Qin scholars had finished writing about Han Fei. The age of philosophers is over, and politicians are excited. This “excited politician”, I implicitly mean LISS. He is not only Han Fei’s classmate, but also Han Fei’s jealous and murderer. In the pre Qin period, only Shang Yang and Lisi had works and knowledge that were not worthy of “Zi” in general occasions. It seems that this is not only because they are bureaucrats, but also because Yan Ying, a short legged man who is the Prime Minister of the state of Qi, is not also called “Yan Zi”? People like Lian Suqin and Zhang Yi also occasionally call them Suzi and Zhang Zi. “Zi” is a title of honor, which must have both advantages of morality and knowledge. Maybe Shang Yang and Lisi had too much moral stain in the eyes of people at that time and later generations.

LISS has made great changes, but he has never been able to grow up. It seems that he will always be a petty official of Shangcai. He will never get rid of the mentality of being a petty person with a petty personality. Being stingy and careful, you will never shed that kind of trivialities. You will worry about gain and loss, and you will end up being a rat. He was neither as determined as Shang Yang, nor as magnanimous as Wang Anshi. Yes, he was controlled by the word “small” under his leather robe all his life. He is extremely clever, but his mind is limited and his virtue is beyond his ability. The “Virtue” I am talking about here not only refers to the “Virtue” of “morality and ethics”, but also refers to a person’s determination, the kind of arrogance, self-confidence, transcendence and abruptness when facing the world, the kind of determination to grasp oneself, not to be influenced by the world, to preserve normal reason and wisdom in the face of temptation or pressure, and not to be submerged or misled by it. At this point, LISS is obviously a bit weak. His teacher, Xunzi, knew his shortcomings. Therefore, when the news that Lisi had become prime minister of Qin reached his ears, the sophisticated scholar and local old official (he had been making the order of Chu Lanling for a long time) was not happy for him, but worried too much to eat. He had foreseen that the student who could not control himself would be doomed to disaster.

LISS had worked hard all his life. He always seemed to frown and worry a lot. He is a typical smart man. In my opinion, as far as life is concerned, the highest level is to treat people with a childlike heart and surpass self-interest and altruism; The second is to deal with the world in a normal and rational way, and abandon all the life commandments and moral dogmas that take great pains; Again, just like all living beings, they treat people with their own emotions, emotions, and joys. They don’t want to live nobly, but live truly, not with reason, but with what they like. The worst and most dangerous way to deal with the world is to use one’s own wisdom to deal with the myriad aspects of the world and its inexhaustible changes. The wisdom of man is limited, and the dangers of the world are boundless. “If there is a limit, there is no limit, and it is almost gone!” To deal with the infinite with the Limited is dangerous! This is Chuang Tzu’s admonition.

By saying this, I mean to say that LISS is a typical opportunist – all people who live with wisdom are opportunists. However, LISS still has a height that others can not reach: he is a rat, but it seems that he is not all “short-sighted”. He can be said to be a rare farsighted politician in Chinese history. On two occasions, he overcame public opinion, resisted pressure, opposed enfeoffment and advocated the establishment of counties. For the first time, he resisted the pressure from his superior, Prime Minister Wang Wan. At that time, Lisi was just a Tingwei. If we pay close attention to the history, we will find that the three generations passed from generation to generation, and the earlier Yellow Emperor killed Chiyou. The Yan Huang war was a clan tribal war. In the Zhou Dynasty, the state was established and the vassals of the world were widely sealed. Among the vassals initially enfeoffed, “seventy-one states were established, and fifty-three people with the Ji surname lived alone” (Xunzi · Jun Dao), covering the world with one family, eliminating the hidden danger of clan war at one fell swoop. This is the great merit of Duke Zhou. The demise of the Zhou Dynasty was due to the annexation of the princes. Qin Lijun County, and in one fell swoop to eliminate the danger of local princes to the central challenge. Since then, in Qin Dynasty, there were “traitors but no traitors”; In Han Dynasty, there was “treason but no treason to the county”; In the Tang Dynasty, there was “Treason of generals without treason of the state” (Liuzongyuan’s feudalism), which completely solved the problem that local interest groups threatened the central government from the system (the “Treason of the state without treason of the county” in the Han Dynasty verified Lisi’s conclusion from both sides). Lisi’s contribution is great, and Lisi’s view is far away! No wonder Sima Qian put him on a par with Zhou GongDan for his meritorious service& lt;!&# 8211; end–& gt;

In fact, it is entirely moralistic to accuse LISS of being an opportunist. If LISS is not good at finding and seizing opportunities, he will not succeed. When he learned “the art of Emperors” from Xunzi, he was doing the Kung Fu of “sharpening a sword in ten years”. His interest in learning itself is far below that of Han Fei: when Han Fei perfected his theoretical system in his speculative metaphysics, Lisi was distracted while listening to teacher Xun’s lectures, much like the kind of inattention that Mencius had accused him of, “thinking that a swan is coming” – no, thinking that he would be like a swan, ambitious, with wings already on, soaring to the sky. From time to time, the corners of his eyes swept out of the study, peeping at the direction, in order to succeed. The treasured sword in his box always chirps, and he wants to raise his eyebrows and pull out the scabbard. Among the seven countries in dispute, he had also targeted Qin in the far northwest. It was a rising Sirius Star, who was about to swallow the six countries in the east of Gushan Mountain, who were still shouting and facing each other. He was dismissive of his motherland, the state of Chu: what else is there to miss in a country that forced Qu Yuan to death? Mencius once said that if a scholar is killed for no reason, even a doctor can flee to another country. Moreover, even Qu Yuan, who was born in a noble family, could not do anything. What hope could he have for such a Shangcai Buyi? He told Xunzi that in this “autumn of lobbyists”, if he did not seize the opportunity to earn wealth for himself, it would not be in line with normal human nature. And the state of Qin is undoubtedly the most promising and magnanimous country to accept talents from all over the world. So he packed up his clothes, said goodbye to his mentor and meandered West. According to Xunzi’s good impression of Qin in his later years, he would not stop, and even encourage his ambitious and talented disciples to go to Qin to realize their ideals, and turn his painstaking theory into political reality.

Lisi, who is waiting for a price, is obviously freer than Quyuan and Han Fei. Quyuan and Han Fei had burdens and encumbrances, which were the ancestral country to which they were born. After graduation, Lisi can decide where to go according to his own judgment of the situation without any drag, while Han Fei must return to South Korea, just like today’s directional training. The problem is that South Korea does not need him, let alone his theory. This makes Tianzong’s clever han zi restrained by others. Although the sky is vertical, there is no choice but to be restrained! At this point, the autocratic society in which the owner has personal control is always “man will prevail over nature”. Han Fei’s situation after returning to South Korea is very similar to the miserable college graduates without backstage or back door in the era of planned distribution. He had to go back to his heart and continue his theoretical research. At this time, Lisi’s career and personal future in the state of Qin were bright. Poor Han Fei could only become Hegel, while LISS became Robespierre. If German Hegel came to France and wanted to replace Robespierre, Robespierre would also kill Hegel.


When he arrived in the state of Qin, Lisi took the opportunity to join LV Buwei, who controlled the actual power of the state of Qin, gained his trust and was appointed Lang Guan. So he had the opportunity to lobby the king of Qin. Lisfei is a fish in the pond. His real purpose is to realize his great ambition by borrowing the army, wealth, power, land and manpower of the king of Qin. When talking with the young king of Qin, he once again mentioned “time” – opportunity. He said provocatively that at present, it is “one of the ages” to “destroy the princes, become an imperial industry, and unify the world”. And this “time” is fleeting: when the princes of Shandong recover their vitality and reason again – when they unite again, even if the Yellow Emperor reincarnates, they will not be able to rule the world. God bless Baoqin! When the talented businessman LV Buwei was dying and his enterprising spirit was losing, he sent a Lisi who was proficient in “the art of emperor” to the state of Qin, and added fresh blood to the body of the state of Qin! And how active, tumultuous, poisonous and aggressive the blood is!

But the arrival of Lisi finally cut off the opportunity for the state of Qin to improve its image. In his later years, LV Buwei summoned his disciples to write the spring and Autumn Annals of the Lu family and hung them on the gate of the country. I think this is his attempt to introduce the ideas of hundreds of schools of thought and fill the mind of the Qin people like a piece of white paper. Yes, Qin was recognized as the “land of tigers and wolves”, and it had little trust among countries at that time. All along, it has only strategies, tactics and means of attack and killing, but no theory, no value orientation and value persistence. Policies and tactics are the life of Qin. Lin Xiangru once pointedly summed up Qin’s disgraceful diplomatic history: “more than 20 monarchs of Qin have never had a firm and clear constraint since Duke mu.” (historical records · biographies of linxiangru, Lianpo) why can’t we “firmly and clearly restrain”? It is because there is no value constraint and no humanistic orientation. The poor and respectable LV Buwei must have foreseen that his political life would end with the gradual growth of the evil breed he is said to have created. Therefore, he wanted to do another great thing before he was completely eliminated, that is, to find a ruling theory for the Qin State and the new dynasty that will unify the world. Although he can not be said to have completed the conception of the new theory, he is obviously trying to change the brutal and uncivilized image of the Qin people. What is terrible is that this national image is so dramatically reflected in the new Qin King Ying Zheng. His nose is like a wasp, his chest is like a bird of prey, his voice is like a jackal, and his eyes are long and thin, which makes people shudder. At a glance, he is a sinister A person who is mean and ungrateful, like a tiger or a wolf, greedy, cruel and murderous. This is simply a symbol of the national image of the state of Qin. This image directly scared away Wei Xuan, a man from Daliang. Qin Guotai needs to civilize himself! Too much need to change the image of the past! As a despicable and small country, it can take advantage of some things with a rogue face, but doesn’t it need even disguised civilization and etiquette to move towards the political center? However, the arrival of LISS made LV Buwei’s efforts flow eastward. Even after the Qin Dynasty, China was unified by force, but it was still a rogue. It is completely incompetent for the new role: in the body of the second Hu Hai, we can fully appreciate the rogue nature handed down from generation to generation, and the more ugly after holding power. Ban Gu called the second emperor “the crowing of animals and heads”. Yes, a monster whose physical skeleton is like human, but whose spirit is still in the stage of beast – his ancestors have been reluctant to evolve in this regard. In the age of cold weapons, in the conflict between civilization and barbarism, barbarism always had a great advantage.

What LISS brought with him was a set of strategies that could make an immediate impact. These include bribery and assassination of people from the six countries. He is an advocate of state terrorism. I think that rather than inheriting his teacher’s ideas, LISS picked up the theories of his classmates; It is not so much that he carried out the theory of his classmates in the state of Qin as that he just randomly extracted some things with on-the-spot use from Hanfeizi to find footnotes for his behavior. When we read his masterpiece the book of remonstrating and expelling guests, we can find that, compared with the pre-Qin scholars, except for the words “the king does not defeat the common people, so he can explain his virtue” copied from his teacher Xunzi, this Hongwen has no humanistic background and moral foundation at all! It is just a clever strategy to destroy the six kingdoms and strengthen the Qin Kingdom! Most of the pre Qin scholars only preached, but were disdained or ashamed to talk about power. The Legalists such as Shang Yang and Lisi were just the opposite: they abandoned the power to use the Tao! Only politics, not morality! Without the restriction of Tao, what kind of terror will power become?

When I gave a lecture on Sima Qian’s “Xiangyu Benji” in college class, I told the students that Xiangyu had love and hate but no strategy; Liu Bang, on the other hand, had only tactics but no love or hate. Therefore, a lovely pity, a hateful fear. So, what about LISS? He has only strategy but no principle! He didn’t even have some basic humanitarian principles that were adhered to by all schools of pre Qin scholars! He really learned nothing from Xunzi! Such a great teacher and such an outstanding classmate were wasted on him. He is just a utilitarian machine pursuing fame and fortune. No wonder he is always so small!

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