兴利除害 – Chinese philosophy and culture

xīnglì-chúhài 兴利除害

Promote the Beneficial; Eliminate the Harmful

兴办对民众有利的事情,消除对民众有害的事情。作为执政者,应将百姓利益放在首位,多做利于天下百姓的事,除去为害百姓的事。中国古人,无论儒家、墨家、法家,都认为这是治国理政者的基本职责,也是治国理政者获得民众拥护的根本前提,因而也是权力正当性的依据所在。今之所谓“执政为民”,与此不无渊源。

Promote what is beneficial to the people; eliminate what is not. Those in power should place the interests of the public at the forefront of their concerns, focusing on what is beneficial and eliminating what is harmful. In ancient China, Confucians, Mohists, and Legalists all held that this was the fundamental duty of a ruler, and determined whether or not there was public support and hence political legitimacy for his rule. Today “govern for the people” has its roots in this concept.

引例 Citations:

◎先王者善为民除害兴利,故天下之民归之。所谓兴利者,利农事也;所谓除害者,禁害农事也。(《管子·治国》)

(远古的贤明君王善于为人民除害兴利,所以天下人民都归附他。所谓兴利,就是有利于农业生产;所谓除害,就是禁止有害于农业生产的事情。)

Wise ancient rulers promoted what was beneficial for the people and eliminated what was harmful, thus winning their allegiance. Beneficial means what is good for farming, harmful what is not. (Guanzi)

◎仁人之事者,必务求兴天下之利,除天下之害。(《墨子·兼爱下》)

(仁人的事业,应当努力追求兴办对天下人都有利的事情,去除天下人共同的祸害。)

Benevolent rule means doing what is in the best interests of all people and eliminating common ills. (Mozi)

◎汤武者,修其道,行其义,兴天下同利,除天下同害,天下归之。(《荀子·王霸》)

(商王汤、周武王都遵循这个原则,奉行这个道理,兴办对天下人都有利的事情,去除天下人共同的祸害,因此天下人都归顺了他们。)

King Tang of Shang and King Wu of Zhou both followed this principle: promote what benefits all and eliminate what harms all. For this reason, their peoples gave them allegiance. (Xunzi)

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