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« A Confucian Critique of Celebrations of Confucius's Birthday | Main | Liu Xiaobo and the weakness of political Confucianism in China »

October 01, 2010


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Prof. Crane, I read the NPR article, and I turned to your blog thinking that you would disagree. I was right! I hope you are doing well!

Hi there, first time poster, long time reader. While I wholeheartedly agree that North Korea is far from a Confucian state, I feel I must refute your argument that hereditary succession has nothing to do with Confucianism. While Mencius may have argued that a ruler should be chosen for his merit alone, the ideological basis for heriditary succession in Imperial China can be traced back directly to Xunzi.
Xunzi's primary concern was to create a stable society, and he saw both succession based on merit and pure heriditary succession (more akin to the nomadic Khanates) as detrimental to this goal. He therefore argued for heriditary succession, but with a very limited role for the monarch, most of his responsibilities being relinquished to stable institutions. According to Yuri Pines (Envisioning Eternal Empire), it was this system that prevailed in the post-Qin Imperial ideology.

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