Tag Archives: righteousness

Not the Common Good but the Total Good


e (not, really, I am not using the royal “we”) hear too much of the term “common good” thrown around as justification for expansion of government’s powers.

Tell me “common good” no longer. The term reeks of uselessness and ends justifying means. Goodness defined is not from commonality, it is from God alone. So tell me of authority and justice and righteousness, of God’s heart and of His distribution of proper roles, for what is written is not about man but about God: Continue reading

Advantage and Righteousness, with Mengzi 1A.1

Perhaps under the influence of my Chinese name, I have always thought as Mengzi did on this matter. Though as a pre-Christian philosopher he did not know about grace and redemption, his philosophy is worthy of attention, because it does contain jewels of truth that even take us back to what Jesus said.

《梁惠王上, 1》

孟子見梁惠王。王曰: 「叟,不遠千里而來,亦將有以利吾國乎?」
Mengzi had an audience with King Hui of Liang. The king said, “Venerable sir, you did not count a thousand li too far in coming; surely there is about to be means to profit our kingdom?”

孟子對曰: 「王,何必曰利?亦有仁義而已矣。王曰: 『何以利吾國?』 大夫曰: 『何以利吾家?』 士庶人曰: 『何以利吾身?』 上下交征利而國危矣。萬乘之國,弒其君者, 必千乘之家; 千乘之國,弒其君者,必百乘之家。萬取千焉,千取百焉,不為不多矣。苟為後義而先利,不奪不饜。未有仁而遺其親者也,未有義而後其君者也。王亦曰仁義而已矣,何必曰利?」
Mengzi replied, “O king, why should we speak of profit? There is only goodness and righteousness, and that is all. When the king says, ‘How to profit our kingdom?’, the great officer says, ‘How to profit our house?’, and the scholar and commoner say, ‘How to profit our self?’: high and low they strive together for profit, and so the kingdom is in peril. For a kingdom of ten thousand chariots, the one who assassinates his lord must be from a house of a thousand chariots; for a kingdom of a thousand chariots, the one who assassinates his lord must be from a house of a hundred chariots. From ten thousand take a thousand; from a thousand take a hundred: that counts not as ‘not much’! If you pull back righteousness and put forth profit, no one is satisfied without grabbing. Never was there one who was good and neglected his parents; never was there one who was righteous and put his king last in his priorities. The king speaks only of goodness and righteousness, and that is all: why speak of profit?” Continue reading