|The Eastern Han dynasty followed a short hiatus called the Xin dynasty. The Han quickly reestablished their control and reformed government and the military. They were able to add another 200 years to the dynasty to become one of the longest dynasties. They in turn fell into decay and corruption and lost control of both the military and the local politicians and administrators. The wealth of the empire was dissipated on rites, burials, and luxury. Little of the punishing taxes made it to the central coffers to maintain the empire. The taxes were diverted or supplanted by bribes and the great central works such as canals, dams, roads and the military could no longer be maintained The peasants were starving and brutalized. Local militias controlled by local governors were used as enforcers.
The Sheriff of Nottingham had nothing on these guys. The ethics of Robin Hood, that rebellion is justified in the face of gross injustice, allowed rebellions to foment. The only protection against such action is immediate reformation and visible suppression of corruption. The principle extends to the politics of today and explains many of the struggles the government is going through as the gap between the rich and poor widens and the evidence of corruption is everywhere. Too many people have been wiped out "for the good of all" when it is clear that the only people who benefit are the minor government officials who profit from the sale of land, the building and construction of projects, and the gathering of riches. .
Last update: September 2013
© Marilyn Shea, 2013