Source: wechat official account: Jiubian has been authorized to reprint
Recently, I read the historical records again. I am very impressed. Let’s write a history. A little friend asked me to talk about Shang Yang a long time ago, and it has been delayed until now. The reason why I don’t write is because I’m worried that what I write is not what everyone wants to see.
In fact, his views are all in the book of the Lord Shang. If you are interested in reading it, you will know it. It is very simple and easy to understand. You can understand it by riding a bicycle. However, many people are very angry after reading it. They feel something is wrong.
Because in our view, Shang Yang’s reform led to a sharp rise in the national strength of the state of Qin and the reunification of the six countries. Shang Yang’s things must be progressive, awesome and even unique.
But when we opened the book, we found that it was very dark.
In Shang Yang’s eyes, the core of making the country strong is not to liberate and develop the productive forces. After all, in his era, the world depended on heaven for food. In fact, people could not control the annual output, and the technological improvement was extremely slow. Naturally, everyone did not think about this direction.
Since the productive forces can not be developed and there is no progress in science and technology, we should think about how to make the best use of the existing resources.
How did Shang Yang do it?
His core ideas are:
Good people govern evil people, and the country is reduced to chaos; Governing the people with treachery and doing good to the people will make the country extremely strong.
There are also the famous five skills to control the people: the weak, the poor, the tired, the humiliated and the stupid.
In order to read smoothly, I don’t want to put more ancient texts. If you are interested, you can read them by yourself. That’s all the core ideas of his life.
It’s very clear that if you are cruel to the people and let bad and cruel officials manage them, the country will be strong. Moreover, we should make the common people poor, stupid and fatigued.
The benefits of doing so are very obvious. The common people are poor and stupid. Naturally, they don’t have time to think about things. Isn’t it good to save energy to farm? Moreover, they can turn all the fruits of their labor into the country’s strategic resources.
This matter has to be traced back a little. In the spring and Autumn period before the Warring States period, it was also a caste society. At that time, metal smelting was not mature, and all the metal of the country could not be put together to arm many people. In addition, the vast territory and few people made it relatively uneconomical to train peasant soldiers. The limited resources were mainly for the nobility. When you fight with a metal weapon against a man with a stick, the efficiency is naturally much higher. In this case, the overall situation of the war is aristocratic competition. The aristocrats look up and don’t bow their heads. They also intermarry with each other. In order to avoid hurting their harmony and getting along with each other in the future, they are very polite. For example, if they don’t take advantage of others to cross the river to fight him, they are polite. Generally, they don’t even chase after the war.
Let’s look at the romance of the Three Kingdoms. It is a typical “spring and autumn model” in which the generals of the two armies were killed before the battle and the soldiers were watching from behind. In real history, the Three Kingdoms had not been so fought.
After entering the Warring States period, there were some changes in the situation. Since copper and iron are no longer scarce, the state can arm farmers on a large scale and at a low cost. A noble knight can single out two peasant soldiers, but he will certainly not be able to fight three or five long spearmen with iron tips. At that time, a crossbow machine was introduced on a large scale. Farmers who had been trained for a few days could be killed as soon as they could. Before the noble knight across the street asked “can you leave your name”, they shot him down. If one shot failed, it would be 20 shots. If you are arrogant and noble, you will be the noble.
In this case, the noble knights with fresh clothes and angry horses no longer act as the “first three rows”. Both sides put the peasant soldiers in the front. The peasant soldiers held two-story high spears and pushed forward against the arrows (the real battle spears in ancient times were very, very long, not as seen on TV). The generals shouted slogans behind them to organize attacks according to their titles. This has also become the mainstream of the whole long feudal society in China. It was still the same pattern until the Qing Dynasty.
From here, we can see that the seven heroes of the Warring States period, who can mobilize more peasant soldiers, who can collect a lot of grain and iron for war, can win the brutal struggle.
Therefore, all countries have embarked on the crazy route of “tapping national strength”, asking every farmer to plant land, plant more land, and plant land in all places where they can, so that they can get married as soon as possible, have more children, and go to war after the autumn harvest. As a matter of fact, the political reforms in various countries are all changing in this direction. They have launched a fierce arms race to tap the national strength to the utmost for war. The most extreme operation was developed by Shang Yang. Every year, the people are given some resources that they can barely survive, and the rest go to war. Only in this way can we maximize the chances of winning the war.
Later, in the battle of Changping, why did the state of Zhao replace Lianpo, who took a steady line, and let Zhao Kuo, who advocated “aggression”, take charge of the army? Because the state of Zhao is not able to tap the potential of war, if the front line continues to be consumed, the resource level will no longer support it. Although the state of Qin fought away from home, there were many resources that could be dug up. The state of Zhao was forced to confront the enemy head-on. Later, the state of Qin further mobilized and put all men aged 16 to 60 into the war. The field troops of the state of Zhao were defeated at one fell swoop. However, the state of Qin also hurt the muscles and bones, so that after the battle of Changping, it did not organize an offensive and went back.
Those reformist Legalists became more extreme one by one, and they absorbed each other’s experiences and lessons. For example, Shang Yang’s reform in the state of Qin absorbed a lot of the essence of the reform in the state of Wei. He was not called “gongsunyang”, which exposed that he was an aristocrat. He used to work in the state of Wei, but later became unpopular and went to the state of Qin. After he became famous, the state of Qin enfevered the area of Shangluo to him (it was called “Shang Yu” at that time, and the word read “Yu”), which became “Shang Yang”.
Shang Yang’s operations to tap national strength to the limit are all written in his books, including the above-mentioned, transforming the common people into poor and stupid, just a machine for fighting, farming and having children.
Of course, the content of the reform is very complicated, from politics to economy, then to finance, including cultural improvement, which belongs to the supporting system reform.
For example, Shang Yang believes that traditional culture such as poetry, calligraphy, etiquette and music is garbage, which is of no use to national governance. Instead, it will make people not pay attention to production, entertainment, literature and art, and bicycles, so they are simply abandoned.
Not only have these entertainment items been abolished, but also some traditional concepts, such as “cultivating goodness”, “honesty”, “benevolence” and so on, which have been called by Confucianism for hundreds of years, are all traditional garbage, which have become “six lice”, that is, six kinds of bedbugs, and should be resolutely cleaned up. People should be machines. What kind of morality and benevolence do you want?
Speaking of this, we should see that the fundamentalist Legalists are anti Confucian, and the Confucian things are all rubbish in Shang Yang, and even the Confucian doctrines such as poems and books are banned. Confucius advocated “the glory of human nature”. He said that “if three people walk, there must be a teacher”. What he said is that the people are wise, otherwise the density of people who can be Confucius teachers will not be so high. But in Shang Yang’s place, the people can even think? It seems that my work is not hard enough.
Moreover, it was difficult for businessmen to control their running around, which increased social mobility. At that time, there was no international trade and it was a zero sum game. Let’s ban it. The thinking of emphasizing agriculture and restraining commerce lasted for the next twothousand years. Later, it was absorbed into the Confucian concept from the Han Dynasty. At the famous “salt and iron conference”, the leaders thought that farmers were more moral. After all, businessmen ran everywhere. With money, they ate haisai’s extravagance and indulgence. It is not as good as farmers. This concept has continued until now, and many people still understand it. After that meeting, the Confucian doctrine of emphasizing agriculture and restraining commerce was also absorbed.
As a core figure of Legalists, Shang Yang obviously had a deep understanding of human nature. He also thought of an incentive measure, that is, the military merit Baron system.
I used to wonder that if you cut people down, you can upgrade. After years of fighting in the state of Qin, the heads cut down are piled up in a mountain. Can’t there be a flood of officials? Titles can’t be inflated?
Later, I asked an expert in the related field. They laughed and said that you didn’t know how to operate.
First of all, “nobility” and “official” are not the same thing. You can’t be an official with a title, but that’s not the most important thing.
What is important is that Shang Yang and his colleagues have long wanted to understand that the military merit system has always been in a secondary position. When it comes to the “Qin system”, the main core is “punishment”. Only when they understand “punishment” can they understand “reward”.
The legal system of the state of Qin is extremely strict, and the common people are prone to blame. In this way, it can ensure that the common people are always in a “debt” state. The purpose of chopping people on the battlefield is not to make money for military industry, but to repay their debts. People read history books and said that if the people of Qin threw a handful of ashes on the ground, they would be pulled to chop their hands. It should not be true. Otherwise, according to this law enforcement, the people of Qin are all disabled. They should keep accounts. If there is a leader in a war, they can clear accounts. In addition, even if we have won the war, we may be wiped out at any time in the future, avoiding the inflation of the title.
In short, the core of Shang Yang is the punishment reward, agricultural war, the elimination of Confucianism and the weak people.
Combined with a series of other operations, such as the famous “Shiwu system”, the five families of the common people are organized into a small organization to supervise each other and manage everything. I checked this thing. It was a “wartime emergency management mechanism” adopted by the Mohist school when guarding the city. Because there may be spies in the city, we have to supervise each other. If we see people we don’t know, we must report them to the police, or we will be beheaded if something happens. And this is very easy to manage, and the duty schedule can be prepared.
Shang Yang thought that this was also very good. He should have done it at ordinary times, so the state of Qin was besieged every day. The common people supervised each other and locked each other to death. No one could run around. Anyone who acted improperly would be reported immediately, and slowly everyone would give up their illusions.
Later, he was liquidated, wanted to run away, and was resolutely reported by the conscientious people, so he was pulled back and the car cracked (it is also said that he was torn by several cows). Besides, Shang Yang has a method of continuous sitting. If one person commits an offence, the whole family will follow him. He feels very intimidating and vigorously promotes it. After he was split, the whole family was slaughtered.
“To commit suicide” is the highest courtesy to legalist leaders. Even administrators will not let go of a truly great system.
Later, Han Fei and Lisi were all such great Legalists. They all had a hard time dying. Lisi also liked to carry a family bucket. When facing the butcher’s knife, he suddenly remembered the happy scene of playing frisbee with his family dog before he became rich.
This also makes future generations think that people can’t completely decide their heads. When they are in a high position, they have formulated a series of cool methods. What if they are not in that position one day? What if your child fails in the competition? In some dynasties, scholars and bureaucrats generally did not compete to death, but also to avoid their own future accidents and being killed by the whole family. To some extent, the makers of modern laws have thought about such problems.
With the unremitting efforts of Shang Yang, the whole Qin state became a veritable army camp. The common people had no entertainment, no thoughts, and their behavior space was extremely compressed. Unless they went out to fight or serve corvee, they were almost tied to their own land and were prone to blame. Their daily life was to farm and have children. When the country needed to fight, they took food with them.
Originally, Qin was a small non mainstream Country in the northwest. After a series of arduous reforms, its combat effectiveness exploded. The key was the degree of exploitation of the war potential, which was the highest in ancient times. Even when Taishigong described the war between Qin and Zhao, he was still very passionate, and how to point out and how to use troops. Later, Qin completely defeated Zhao with the strength of the whole country. Zhao’s combat effectiveness was amazing because of its long-term struggle with the nomadic tribes in the north. After Zhao collapsed, Qin absorbed the war potential of Zhao Di and was basically invincible. Looking at several other big countries, it was like the man level great God returning to the novice village.
Even gossipers like Taishigong thought that this kind of one-sided war had nothing to write about, so they wrote the story of destroying other countries in a few words.
It was Shang Yang who did so well that the second emperor of the state of Qin died.
Because the Qin people have accepted the reality through a hundred years of transformation, and Shang Yang was so murderous in those years, but the people in other places are not in a good mood and do not want to accept the transformation honestly.
For example, Chen Sheng and Wu Guang asked them to serve in the area around Beijing, but they failed to arrive as scheduled. It is reasonable that they should report to the guard station obediently and honestly put their heads on the chopping board to accept the fate of being beheaded. However, the two men turned against each other. It can be seen that they do not agree with the main idea of Da Qin. When they rebelled, the common people who had endured for a long time all started to make trouble, and the original six countries were soon restored.
In addition, the Qin system was obviously acclimatized when it was popularized throughout the country, and many places did not thoroughly implement it. For example, Zhang Liang, an old aristocrat of South Korea, was not taken to the north to build the Great Wall. You know, his family has been the Prime Minister of South Korea for generations. They have wandered around and learned many rebellious skills. They have also launched terrorist attacks on the first emperor’s motorcade, but they have not been caught. It is unimaginable. Obviously, there is someone shielding them. It is obvious that the mutual supervision of the common people, which Daqin is proud of, has not been spread in other places.
There are also many old forces that swaggered into tolerance, such as the famous Zhang Er, who used to follow xinlingjun and later became a king with a different surname in the Han Dynasty. When Qin destroyed the six kingdoms, he became a basic civil servant in the Qin Dynasty and worked in prison. Xiangyu and his family were not affected much, and they were still local giants. When trouble broke out in the north, uncle and nephew Xiangyu cheered, and 8000 Jiangdong children immediately followed them to revolt.
In addition, no one really cares about the country on the plain in the central pass of the Qin state, and the common people don’t even need to think about such problems. This is why Liu Bang later entered the pass and entered the core of the state of Qin. After the collapse of the ruling class, the common people hardly resisted, and the mighty Qin Empire collapsed in such a moment.
Liu Bang said that he would simplify the previous severe punishment law and change it into three chapters. The people immediately cheered and welcomed the king, feeling a sense of liberation.
At first, Liu Bang didn’t want to kill the royal family of Qin state. Maybe he was worried about arousing the disgust of the common people. After all, Lao Ying family has ruled Qin for hundreds of years. He should have some feelings. Killing the royal family on their territory is more or less unthinkable. It is also possible that the common people and feudal superstition at that time felt that the royal family was somewhat divine, and the operation of “killing gods” was too hard to imagine. But Xiangyu didn’t believe in evil. He killed them all cleanly and cleanly. He didn’t care what the old Qin people thought. In fact, everyone didn’t care about it. He killed them if he killed them. It’s not a fool to mix with anyone.
At first, the people in that place followed Xiangyu and later Liu Bang. Liu Bang’s achievements in the struggle for hegemony between Chu and Han Dynasties were extremely poor. However, Xiao He has been sending strategic resources to Liu Bang from the Qin region to ensure that Liu Bang did not leave the gambling table until several different surnamed Kings encircled Xiangyu. Xiang Yu went from one victory to another and finally was surrounded by Cuan. It can be seen that the people in Qin region are really good at controlling.
Later, the “Han Dynasty inherited the Qin system”, which mainly absorbed the system of counties and counties. The severe punishment and cool law and the almost crazy measures to tap the people’s power were basically abolished. The upper class began to engage in the “Huang Lao school” to recuperate. In the early Han Dynasty, the tax also reached the “15 taxes and 1 taxes”, which is extremely rare in the whole Chinese history. During the “rule of culture and scenery”, it once reached the terrible 30 taxes and 1 taxes. The national strength was rapidly restored, and then there was the northern expedition of the Huns.
Later in the whole history, almost no Dynasty completely copied the Qin set. Although it was powerful, the price it took was too terrible, and the ruling class dared to think or do it. It’s too much like the evil expelling sword manual. It has great lethality, but the reverse bite effect is also very obvious.
Instead, the Confucian system is used. The Confucian idea is actually another disguised hierarchical system, which allows people to listen to the old people at home, the officials when they go out, and the emperor when they are in court. As long as everyone follows this routine, each of them has his own destiny and his own responsibilities, will the country be stable?
However, it has also absorbed many legalist ideas, such as emphasizing agriculture and restraining commerce, editing households and unifying the people, and so on. This is what the internal law and the external Confucianism are. This state lasted until the Qing Dynasty. Except for the complete nonsense in the Yuan Dynasty, it was similar at other times, but there were differences in financial models. I will write about it later.
The article is written here. In fact, from the perspective of modern people, it is meaningless to evaluate the “good” or “bad” of an ancient system. Moreover, when faced with the problem of life and death, people are easy to do all kinds of fantastic things. It may be normal to practice the sword manual to ward off evil spirits. Similar to the alien crisis in the three bodies, human beings have been tossing and turning, and their economic and living standards have been retrogressed for a hundred years.
Of course, the Qin Empire also has a great influence on our future generations. This is the contribution of Shang Yang and his gang.
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