Why did Cao Cao, who attached importance to culture, put a vicious hand on “literary youth”

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At the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty, a turbulent era of chaos and competition, Cao Cao was able to get rid of Yuan Shu, Lu Bu, Yuan Shao and Liu Biao, and finally stand out, unify the Central Plains, run across the government and the public, and control the political situation. To a large extent, he benefited from the employment mechanism of “talent is the only thing”.

It is an important measure for Cao Cao to widely absorb and win over scholars and celebrities in the employment mechanism, even if this person once scolded him to be bloody, mutilated and worthless. In that generous, indignant and provocative speech against Cao Cao, Chen Lin recounted Cao Cao’s crimes of “gluttonous and reckless, harming and abusing the people” and “stealing tripods and overturning heavy weapons”. She angrily denounced Cao Cao’s ancestors and even called Cao Cao Cao “Jie Lu” and “human ghost”, which can be regarded as a crime to Cao Cao. When Cao Cao saw this statement, he was shocked by Chen Lin’s incisive writing. Although he was ill in bed at that time, he couldn’t help jumping up and praised Chen Lin’s excellent literary talent. After the defeat of yuanshao, Chen Lin was arrested to see Cao Cao and expressed her willingness to surrender. Cao Cao, who “loved his talents”, pardoned him and ordered him to do it. He served as a wine offering for Sikong military master, and later moved to the position of governor of the prime minister. While putting Chen Lin in important position, Cao Cao often communicated and discussed with him in literature. Cao Cao could not add or subtract a word from his works.

For an “enemy” like Chen Lin, Cao Cao can ignore past grievances and use them for his own benefit. In that case, Cao Cao should cherish other well-known scholars and scholars under his command and highly praise them. However, Cao Cao showed amazing words and deeds, successively insulting Youheng, killing Kongrong, killing Cuiyan and destroying Yang Xiu, and staged a series of tragedies of insulting and slaughtering literati and celebrities, which is incredible.

You Heng is a pure scholar. As a rising star in the literary world, you Heng, relying on his talent, doesn’t know the greatness of heaven and earth, and even looks down upon nobody. It seems that you have some crazy mental disorders. Especially after being touted as a “rare treasure” by Kongrong, you Heng became even more arrogant and disordered, and even felt that in Xudu City, except for the eldest son kongwenju, the youngest son yangdezu, the rest of his sons were busy and could not count. It was unexpected that this young literary man, who knew nothing about politics, should have uttered rude words and uttered nonsense in front of Cao Cao, which aroused Cao Cao’s strong resentment and dissatisfaction. Cao Cao had his own unique way to deal with such a corrupt scholar who was ignorant of current affairs, self righteous and despised dignitaries, that is, by means of “not ordering him to sit”, “making him a drum official” and “not getting up to send him off”, he deliberately neglected etiquette and law and tried to humiliate his personality. Cao Cao did not want to kill you Heng, but thought that you Heng was just a crazy fool, who would at most vilify and talk nonsense, and would not endanger his rule; Moreover, if you kill Youheng, it will cool the hearts of the people. A poisonous trick of “killing people with a sword” arises spontaneously. Why not use Liu Biao’s hand to get rid of the thorns in his eyes and flesh. Sure enough, after you arrived in Jingzhou, you Heng was beheaded by a martial arts man, Huang Zu, because of his rude words. When Cao Cao knew this, he smiled proudly and said, “the tongue and sword of a corrupt scholar are against suicide!”

Different from you Heng, the “indignant youth” of the Three Kingdoms, Kongrong is not only a writer, but also a politician. As the 20th grandson of Confucius, Kongrong was well-known and popular, and naturally became the leader of the generation of intellectuals. Kongrong, who was born as a famous scholar, always looked down upon Cao Cao. After he lost his territory and came to Xudu, Kongrong thought he was working for Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty, not for Cao Cao. He did not buy Cao Cao’s account, which made Cao Cao, who was in power, feel very angry. Kongrong had great knowledge, but he was not mature politically; Courage is not small, but lack of struggle experience; He is so confident that he often misjudges the current situation. He was too close to the “high-level prisoner” Emperor Xian of Han Dynasty. He even lied to Cao Cao and was suspected by Cao Cao. Not only that, he also repeatedly took the opportunity to ridicule and accuse Cao Cao. He used the metaphor of “King Wu conquered Zhou and gave the Duke of Zhou a gift from Daji” to satirize Cao Cao’s giving his favorite Zhen to his son Cao Pi; With the words of “the Sushen family did not pay tribute to the arrow, and Ding Ling stole the cattle and sheep of Su Wu”, it mocked that Cao Cao was not worth a big expedition to Wuhuan; The self righteous Cao Cao was embarrassed when he used the strange theory that “Yao is not a thousand bells, and there is no peace; Confucius is not a hundred Gu, and there is no saint”. Differences in the ideological field and political opinions, as well as Kongrong’s repeated public opposition to himself on major policies, have made Cao Cao jealous and the idea of killing Kongrong has long sprouted. However, as the situation in the North was still unstable, and Kong Rong’s reputation spread far and wide, it was inconvenient for Cao Cao to do anything to him. By the 13th year of Jian’an, the situation in the north had been settled. On the eve of starting to implement his great cause of reunification, Cao Cao, in order to eliminate internal interference, instructed his subordinates to falsely accuse Kongrong of “wanting to regulate things wrongly”, and once “spoke unfaithfully” with you, killing Kongrong and abandoning the city. His two sons were not spared. This is the so-called: “under the cover of the nest, how can there be a finished egg”!

Compared with Youheng and Kongrong, Cui Yan was not a complete scholar, but he represented the entire aristocratic group at that time and the scholar bureaucrat class that gathered cultural elites. Although Cuiyan was ostensibly obedient to Cao Cao, he did not accept it from the bottom of his heart, and was especially indignant at Cao Cao’s act of arrogating himself as king of Wei. Cui Yan couldn’t bear to say anything about Yang Xun, a disciple who had been recommended by him but agreed with Cao Cao’s claim to be king. He simply wrote Yang Xun a letter with strict righteousness in the tone of an older generation, which contained the “antithesis” of “time, time, time will change”. When Cao Cao knew this, he became so angry that he imprisoned him. However, Cuiyan was not honest during his detention. He was “a guest of honor and a citizen of the city” and engaged in reactionary parties and illegal activities with those scholar bureaucrats who refused to surrender. Cao Cao could not forgive this in any case. Thinking of Cui Yan’s daily violations of Yang and Yin and the extraneous twists and turns at the critical time, Cao Cao killed his heart, so he used the “literary prison” to get rid of the celebrity who loved to show off.

Many people think that Yang Xiu was killed by Cao Cao out of jealousy because of his talent. In fact, it is not true. Cao Cao not only appreciated Yang Xiu’s talent, but also “entrusted him with the important task of money and food” and “taught him a lot” sooner or later. If it was simply because of jealousy, Cao Cao would never have kept this man who had repeatedly swept his face around for nearly 20 years. The reason why Cao Cao killed Yang Xiu one year before his death was that Yang Xiu, as a scholar, had been deeply involved in the political struggle of the court. Killing Yang Xiu was just a necessary measure taken by Cao Cao for the safety of his successor. Among Cao Cao’s two sons, Yang Xiu is on Cao Zhi’s side. On the issue that Cao Zhi could inherit the throne, he gave advice and gathered forces to become a political community against Cao Pi. However, Cao Zhi was not liked by Cao Cao because of his “flashiness”. Moreover, as a direct follower of Cao Zhi, Yang Xiu was repeatedly exposed by Cao Cao for his bad ideas in seeking the throne, which was an important factor for Cao Cao’s hatred of Yang Xiu. In order to ensure the smooth transfer of power after his death, and to avoid the fight between Cao Pi and Cao Zhi in the future, Cao Cao casually found a reason to “leak secrets” and “disturb the morale of the army”, so he decisively cut off Yang Xiu’s head to prevent trouble.

On the one hand, Cao Cao implemented the principle of “talent only”, absorbing, soliciting and reusing intellectuals, and on the other hand, he adhered to the principle of “better teach me to be responsible for the world and not teach the world to be responsible for me”. Cao Cao can give high officials and high salaries to scholars who are willing to submit to him, and can confide in them, respect and love them; However, for those intellectuals who refused to obey, cooperate with themselves, or even had ulterior motives, Cao Cao did not hesitate to bear the eternal reputation of slaughtering intellectuals, but also to give them a hard hand and poison, which was his usual means of ruling the literati.

Cao Cao is a great scholar. He attaches importance to culture, understands culture, and knows that literati cannot be killed casually. However, when his political rule is attacked and threatened by intellectuals, Cao Cao, a writer, will naturally give way to Cao Cao, a politician. Only through political means and the use of “iron and blood policy” can we clear the obstacles of words and words, and achieve the political goal of “replacing Liu with Cao”. For Cao Cao, killing a few dissidents who didn’t know the times was a short cut for high-pressure rule with small investment and quick results. It could not only clear the ears, but also make an example of others. Why not?

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