Yi Hang-no on Good Government | New NY 23rd

In “Korea’s Place in the Sun,” a history by Bruce Cumings, Cumings quotes Confucian scholar Yi Hang-no, who wrote in 1866:

If from now on the King starts by rising early and going to bed late, and if the ministers take oaths among themselves to cut out the evils of parties and merriment, be diligent in cultivating frugality and virtue, do not allow private considerations from taking root in their minds, and do not use artifice as a method of operation in government affairs, then the officials and common people will all cleanse and purify their minds … abandon the habits of luxury and extravagance; make the palace humble and partake simply and sparingly of food and drink; shun fancy clothes and devote all efforts to the people’s affairs … Then the strength of the people will be greatly extended and public opinion will be in harmony, and the people will look up to you as a father and mother … Only after things are done like this can the Western barbarians be driven off and the state preserved.

Yi Hang-no may have been on to something.



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