Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/47

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Introduction

defending warfare on principle, that I have thought it worth while to collect and translate a few passages in which the unorthodox view is upheld. The following, by Ssŭ-ma Ch‘ien, shows that for all his ardent admiration of Confucius, he was yet no advocate of peace at any price: —

Military weapons are the means used by the Sage to punish violence and cruelty, to give peace to troublous times, to remove difficulties and dangers, and to succour those who are in peril. Every animal with blood in its veins and horns on its head will fight when it is attacked. How much more so will man, who carries in his breast the faculties of love and hatred, joy and anger! When he is pleased, a feeling of affection springs up within him; when angry, his poisoned sting is brought into play. That is the natural law which governs his being.... What then shall be said of those scholars of our time, blind to all great issues, and without any appreciation of relative values, who can only bark out their stale formulas about “virtue” and “civilisation,” condemning the use of military weapons? They will surely bring our country to impotence and dishonour and the loss of her rightful heritage; or, at the very least, they will bring about invasion and rebellion, sacrifice of territory and general enfeeblement. Yet they obstinately refuse to modify the position they have taken up. The truth is that, just as in the family the teacher must not spare the rod, and punishments cannot be dispensed with in the State, so military chastisement can never be allowed to fall into abeyance in the Empire. All one can say is that this power will be exercised wisely by some, foolishly by others, and that among those who bear arms some will be loyal and others rebellious.[1]

The next piece is taken from Tu Mu’s preface to his commentary on Sun Tzŭ: —

War may be defined as punishment, which is one of the functions of government. It was the profession of Chung Yu and Jan Ch‘iu, both


  1. Shih Chi, ch. 25, fol. I: 兵者聖人所以討彊暴平亂世夷險阻救危殆自含血戴角之獸見犯則校而況於人懷好惡喜怒之氣喜則愛心生怒則毒螫加情性之理也…豈與世儒闇於大較不權輕重猥云德化不當用兵大至窘辱失守小乃侵犯削弱遂執不移等哉故教笞不可廢於家刑罰不可捐於國誅伐不可偃於天下用之有巧拙行之有逆順耳.