Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Dictator's Dilemma, Mao Edition

Mao Zedong to Ho Chi Minh, June 1966:
I advise you, not all of your subjects are loyal to you. Perhaps most of them are loyal but maybe a small number only verbally wish you "long live," while in reality they wish you a premature death. When they shout "long live," you should beware and analyze [the situation]. The more they praise you, the less you can trust them. This is a very natural rule.
From Daniel Leese's fascinating book Mao Cult: Rhetoric and Ritual in China's Cultural Revolution (p. 168), which I hope to review here soon.

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