Daoism and Anarchism: Critiques of State Autonomy in Ancient by John A. Rapp

By John A. Rapp

This quantity within the modern Anarchist stories sequence makes a speciality of anti-statist reviews in old and smooth China and demonstrates that China doesn't have an unchallenged authoritarian political culture.

Treating anarchism as a critique of centralized nation strength, the paintings first examines radical Daoist idea from the 4th century BCE to the ninth century CE and compares Daoist philosophers and poets to Western anarchist and utopian thinkers. this can be by way of a survey of anarchist subject matters in dissident notion within the People's Republic of China from 1949 to the current. A concluding bankruptcy discusses how Daoist anarchism might be utilized to any anarchist-inspired radical critique this present day.

This paintings not just demanding situations the standard principles of the scope and nature of dissent in China, it additionally presents a different comparability of historic chinese language Daoist anarchism to Western anarchist. that includes formerly untranslated texts, equivalent to the ninth century Buddhist anarchist tract, the Wunengzi, and essays from the PRC press, it will likely be an important source to a person learning anarchism, chinese language political suggestion, political dissent, and political background.

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Additional info for Daoism and Anarchism: Critiques of State Autonomy in Ancient and Modern China (Contemporary Anarchist Studies)

Example text

For Ruan, based firmly on passages in the received DDJ and the Zhuangzi, it is clearer that government is not just philosophically indefensible but actually harmful and counterproductive. Furthermore, government is not a natural occurrence, but an artificial creation of those trying to justify their wealth and power. Ruan equates rulers and sages in power with thieves, although the Great Man does seem to believe that the sages are merely mistaken, not insincere, in setting government up in the first place.

A much more deadly version of this argument was played out in Mao’s China where two strong supporters of Mao’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution argued that the authors of the classical Daoist texts represented the interests of the “patriarchal slave owning class” who were gradually losing out to the rise of the feudal, land-owning class. 52 Those who would dare to oppose this official Maoist line on Daoism would suffer greatly for 20 years. ”55 Still, even within their orthodox Marxist faith that every idea has a particular economic class standpoint at its base, the Maoists failed to account for the opposition to Confucian beliefs in the DDJ and the Zhuangzi and to the fact that the classical Daoists looked to mythical preZhou rulers for their ideal.

Most such thinkers offered specific advice on how to attain order, such as the idea of rule by moral virtue of the Confucians or the idea of rule by power and force of the so-called Legalist school. Those thinkers later labeled the Daoists often traced their ideas back to Lao Zi (“Old Master”), a semi-mythical figure who may have lived, if he lived at all, in the sixth century BCE and who is traditionally treated as the author or compiler of the Daodejing (Wade-Giles: Tao Te Ching, or the “Classic of the Way and Its Power,” referred to hereafter in this book as DDJ).

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