Because of the ancient emperor’s absolute authority in all spheres of existence, a good or wise emperor was essential. This is why the ethical literature from Confucius to Lao-tzu and beyond always emphasizes advice to the ruler, as if the emperor must be a sage. Because according to ancient wisdom — he must. An emperor who is not a sage leads us straight to the atrocities of modern civilization. That is what is called totalitarianism. And if the people of modern civilization are not wise also, they become complicitous in the emperor’s doings, his atrocities included. And that is what is called democracy.