Wang Mang is a relatively special figure in Chinese history. Although Ban Gu held a negative attitude towards him, he said in the “Ode to the eastern capital”: “Wang Mang rebelled, Han Zuo lacked, heaven and man killed, and Six Harmonies were destroyed.” But he also obviously noticed the particularity of Wang Mang, so he didn’t hesitate to write a biography of Wang Mang with three chapters in the book of Han, which is also an isolated case in the Twenty-Four Histories.
People have always regarded Wang Mang as a hypocrite and a despicable villain who plans to usurp the throne, but Hu Shi wrote Wang Mang and say again about Wang Mang in 1922 and 1929, respectively, and wrote an overturned article for Wang Mang, even saying, “Wang Mang is the first socialist in China. Wang Mang has been wronged for 1900 years, and there is no fair conclusion yet.”
Bo Yang also said in the outline of Chinese History: “Wang Mang is a giant of the Confucian school. He built a huge empire as a scholar, which is the only time in Chinese history. His purpose of seizing power is different from that of Liu Bang. Liu Bang and the like just want to be emperor and king and satisfy their selfish desires. Wang Mang has his political ambition. He wants to obtain greater power, so that he can practice Confucianism one by one in politics and create an ideal happy world. He believes that in ancient society, everyone is equal, But later, they competed with each other, resulting in inequality. The rich have a lot of land, while the poor have nothing. Men become slaves and women become maidservants. Fortunately, they are still free. Father and son and his wife work hard all year round, but they can’t eat enough. ” Therefore, his restructuring is “to improve this injustice and eradicate the crimes that cause this injustice.”
Although Wang Mang’s family background is a prominent cousin, and his Aunt Wang Zhengjun is the queen of the Yuan emperor of the Han Dynasty, just because his father died early, he failed to be like his cousins, “all the brothers are generals and five princes, who waste time and are high in terms of horse voice and color.” As a result, “mang Dugu poor, because of frugality to be courteous and thrifty”, there was dissatisfaction in the resentment of poverty. His teacher Chen Shen was “diligent and knowledgeable”, and his main attack was the Confucian “Rites”. Therefore, it is not difficult to imagine that the set of Duke Zhou advocated by Confucianism has become his guiding ideology.
However, this seemingly beautiful Utopia, whether the people who say it or listen to it, is caused by shallowness. If it is really done, it will inevitably be full of contradictions. In the book of Han Dynasty, there is a long article written by Chen Chong praising Wang Mang, the first paragraph of which says: “Wang Mang usually” breaks the knot and acts benevolently, restrains the heart and performs rites, whisks the world and corrects vulgarity, and is indeed independent; he hates food and clothing, bad cars and horses, concubines and horses, and everyone hears the virtue of filial piety and friends in the boudoir; he is quiet and happy, gentle corporal, and benefits from the old. ” However, this is not the case. In order to squeeze into the Wang’s dictatorship group, “the great general of my father is ill, reckless, tasting medicine, unkempt, and doesn’t undress for months.” Later, Chunyu Chang, the son of his aunt, was excluded. When the big Sima Wang was ill, he slandered and said: you are ill, Chunyu Chang is happy, and he will take over the big Sima after you die. So he took advantage of the relationship between Wang Gen and Wang Zhengjun to become a big Sima. This is his “break the knot and practice benevolence, overcome the heart and perform rites”!
He told his wife to “wear clothes without dragging the ground, and cover her knees. Those who saw it thought it was a servant, and they were surprised to know his wife.” But forced her two sons to death, making her cry blind. Wang Mang also had an affair with Yuanbi, his wife’s maid. One of the remaining two sons was also forced to death after being found out because he had an affair with Yuanbi. The last son, Wang An, was forced to die because he was scared out of shape. When all four sons died, there emerged four children born to him and three maidservants, Zengzhi, huaineng and Kaiming. This was his “no two concubines”! When he became an emperor, not to mention when he first entered Chang’an, there were thousands of maids in Wang Mang’s palace!
He opposed the slave trade, advocated equality, and forced his son king to die because he was killed. However, he himself “privately bought maidservants” to the childless rear General Zhu Ziyuan, in order to win over the hearts of the people.
Bai Juyi wrote a poem: “Duke Zhou was afraid of rumors, and Wang Mang humbly didn’t usurp it. If he died at the beginning of his life, who knows the truth of his life.” In fact, no matter before or after the usurpation, Wang Mang’s actions are inseparable from the four words “hide your feelings and seek fame”.
His so-called ideal and reform are also completely out of ignorance and self righteousness, and his means is to use the unrealistic theory of Confucianism, coupled with the so-called fate, to forcibly and irrationally deceive himself and others. He kidnapped the world with his so-called ideal. Finally, in the anger of heaven and man, he was killed on the platform by businessman Du Wu. After that, people cut off Wang Mang’s tongue and cut it into pieces, which was because his long tongue once deceived the world.
Hu Shi and Bo Yang affirmed the ideal and the spirit of fighting for the ideal at all costs, which is undoubtedly correct and necessary. However, if others blindly describe a utopia, everyone will pursue it unrealistically, whether consciously or unconsciously, which is contrary to the principle that human beings can progress only by independent thinking.