The Tao Teh King: A Short Study in Comparative Religion, by C. Spurgeon Medhurst, , at sacred-texts.com
Why use death as a deterrent, when the people have no fear of death?
Even supposing they shrank from death as from a monster, and by playing on their terror I could slay them, should I dare? 1
There is one who inflicts sentence of death. To usurp his functions and to kill would be to assume the role of the Master-Carpenter. There are few who can act as master-carpenter without cutting their hands. 2
122:1 Mr. Thos. Kingsmill's translation is illuminative—"With folk who have no fear of death, what object is there in making its apprehension a deterrent? How should we dare to apprehend and to execute people who dread death as the greatest terror?"
122:2 Cf. chap. 30.
Cf. a saying by Confucius; he is expounding the fundamental principle of all Chinese law, the veneration of the inferior for the superior, an idea which bas strong affinities with the philosophy of the ancient Greeks. "Why when governing, depend on capital punishment? Seek righteousness and the people will be righteous. The relation between the rulers and the ruled is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend when the wind blows across it." Confucian Analects, xii, 19.