挾天子以令諸侯


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是日談中國歷史。

今日想起一句成語「挾天子以令諸侯」。忍不住翻查網上資料, 其實早於春秋時代那些茂利諸候已嘵得挾住個廢柴天子去座大自己勢力,扮出師有名的去攻打其他諸侯。間接令到烽煙四起,民不潦生。因此也有「春秋無義戰」這句說話。至於「挾天子以令諸侯」這句成語最早記載於《戰國策‧秦策一》:「據九鼎,按圖籍,挾天子以令天下,天下莫敢不聽。」

春秋之後,在東漢末年董卓也接受袁紹的建議把獻帝從長安迎回洛陽:「號令天下,以討未復,以此爭鋒,誰能敵之?」 到後來曹操又搶到獻帝。諸葛亮也曾道:「今操已擁百萬之眾,挾天子而令諸侯,此誠不可與爭鋒。」

如果齊桓公、 董卓、及曹操等有識之仕也選用這條橋,可見「挾天子以令諸侯」都算幾好駛好用。當你在一(廢 )人之下,萬人之上的時候,真的可以說是做乜都無人理,就算想理都理不到。無論你做的是有幾不合羅緝,對其他人幾有相害,幾低B,或幾無integrity,你是弱勢諸侯,就注定你無得出聲。

唯一可以做的可能是等:一是等到個廢天子瓜柴,到時機成熟, 聯同其他弱勢諸侯起義反抗。劉備同孫權都是用這招數對付曹操。結果火燒連環船一仗大 獲全勝,就算未能即時隊冧曹操,都先給他一個下馬威,等佢無得咁惡。

咁如果那天子又廢唔得晒,又或者瓜咗但剩餘嘅奴才只懂包庇那挾天子以令諸侯的仆街,那就game over了。其實可能好多於三國時代的蟻民都放棄繼續玩這個不能勝出的遊戲,移民去也。

And history will keep repeating itself.

[ENGLISH]

Let's talk about Chinese history today.

Today I suddenly think of this Chinese idiom 「挾天子以令諸侯」. I don't know if there's an English equivalent to this Chinese idiom but literally, it kind of means "one kidnaps the emperor to control all other lords".

The saying first appeared during the Spring and Autumn Period (722-476 BC) when powerful feudal lords taking custody of the weak Zhou emperor waged wars against other weaker feudal lords in the name of the emperor, and taking them over. The result was that, of course, those who managed to keep the figure head would grow in power.

The same trick was adopted later on during Three Kingdoms Period (184-220), when Dong Zhuo was in power to keep the figure head to himself and later on when Cao Cao rose into power and captured the emperor, allowing him to seize control of the North China Plain.

So if all these historic heroes adopted the tactic as their trick to rise to power, it pretty much says that this is a brilliant idea and it works all the time. Just imagine, when you are reporting only to a dumb emperor, you can do whatever you want, and no one can criticise you, even if they want to: no matter how illogical the things are, how hurtful it can be to other people, how idiotic it is or how little integrity is that person has, you are destined to remain silent and have your lips sealed -- if you were one of those weak feudal lords.

The only thing that can be done is to wait: you wait till the useless emperor dies, and when the time is right, you join forces with other weaker lords and strike back. Liu Bei and Sun Quan did this during the Battle of Red Cliff. Although it didn't bring Cao Cao down immediately, the two at least demonstrated the power they had and killed his ambition for a bit.


But then, if the emperor is dead and the other weaker lords choose to cover the arse of the powerful feudal lord instead of destroying him, the game is probably over. Perhaps a lot of Han people left their countries during the Three Kingdom Period because they simply just gave up on a game they could never win. 

And history will keep repeating itself. 

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