Zi-gong asked the Master; "What would you think of a man liked by everybody in the village?"

"I do not think he can be a good person."

"Then what about a man disliked by everyone?"

"Not a good person, either. A good person is the one liked by good people and disliked by bad people."

 

According to Zhu Xi's annotation, there must be inconsistency in the doings of a man liked by everyone, and there cannot be principles in the doings of a man disliked by everybody. Inconsistency comes from ingratiating oneself with other people while the lack of principles betrays the failure to have one's own standing. I value the dialogues in the Analects highly for its criticism of compromises and opportunism, and even more highly for its support for unwavering partisanship. [Shenzi]

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