Female Singers and Affairs of State

Posted by Duncan Freeman on 08/12/12

Now that Silvio Berlusconi has apparently confirmed he will once again seek to become Italian Prime Minister, if they have not learned from experience, Italians might note the advice of Han Fei, the most important of China’s Legalist political thinkers, written over 2000 years ago. The tenth chapter of the Han Fei Zi, titled Ten Faults (十過), discusses the failings of rulers and their consequences. Han Fei notes, “The sixth is to dally with female singers, and not attend to state affairs, which foretells the disaster of a ruined state”. (六曰耽於女樂,不顧國政,則亡國之禍也。)

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