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Jul 25

KFEB #29) It is equally criminal in the governor, and in the governed, to violate laws.

This particular KFEB entry comes from someone other than the standard masters, already discussed at length – the new entry into the philosophical arena is from the Xianwen Shu (Hien Wen Shoo); a Chinese book (‘the book of virtuous writing’), likely of the Confucian persuasion, that includes this particular KFEB submission in the literal translation as: “Offending against the laws, the people’s the same crime.”
Personally, I find that this is rather intuitive… and then I realize that it is in modern times, and check my bias.  We in the West have one of the more historically privileged socio-political dynamics where we have been able to hold our government accountable… or at least share the collective imagination that we do…

This is one of those entries that seems to be pan-historic: we haven’t changed much as a species in thousands of years, still finding it a problem when people in the world think that the rules don’t apply to them – especially when they’re in power.  But here’s the rub: the historical context.  Our modern cultures don’t really understand the “Royalty” mindset, for the most part, without fully understanding that the Emperor or Royalty where ‘imbued’ with an inherent sociological power, or (for those sociologists and philosophers among you) a Hobbesian or Lockean transmission of the inherent right to violence to an overseer or sovereign.  (Admittedly this is a very simplistic overview of social contract theory…)

Seriously, check your understanding of “Leadership” and “Government / Governance”, and compare it against a mode of leadership / governance that includes the whim of a single person that cannot be questioned in any particular situation… let’s say, administration of the law in criminal cases.  These are the people who make (made) and enforce(s) the laws to which the population is (was) held accountable to… yet, prior to the French Revolution, Royalty was predominately given a pass whenever they violated those same rules.  Eccentricities were given latitude, while insanity was the equivalent in lesser affluent families…
Right up until WWII, Japan still held the Emperor as the direct descendant of the sun-goddess Amaterasu… it was only after the capitulation of Japan at the end of WWII, and through the demands of the US, did the Emperor’s role get redefined as “Ceremonial Head-of-State of Japan’s Constitutional Democracy” (1947).  Throughout Japan’s history, the Emperor’s powers have gone through many changes; ranging from essentially a figurehead during the Shogunate era between the 12th and 19th centuries (varying, of course, by century), to the sovereign power seat in post-Meiji Restoration (late 19th century) era.
Regardless of where the Emperor’s powers were situated in time, the fact remains that they were the final seat of power, and anything they deemed to be illegal – was…

In our semi-enlightened (admittedly WAY off still…) era, a recognition of the human condition and the universality of culpability… When the leadership is held to account to the same level that the laity are, the society believes itself fair.  When there is a disparate split between the accountability of the lawmakers and the citizenry, that’s were we see the beginnings foment for rebellion.

Either way, we have known (even historically) that laws must be equally applied or else they are not truly laws, just suggestions…

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