Politics of eremitism (6)

Some modern moralists say that a state or government should never be labeled as “evil” because this label obliterates accountability and moral responsibility, presumably to change or conform to the accusatory’s morality. But when Confucius recommended to serve the state when it is good and recluse when it is evil, he recognized the existential circumstance of the individual forced to make a decision. The individual must determine that the intrinsic character of the state or government will not change based on anything anyone’s service can bring about. The label of good or evil is, of course, a moral contrivance, especially given the utter ambivalence of morality in any state or government that relies on labels as propaganda. But the moralist misses the eremitic insight that the state is a contrivance and not an entity, a tool of human beings and their culture, not a moral reservoir. Accountability is itself a moral issue. The expectation that the state or society will be accountable to any high standard of morality is not something for which to wait indefinitely. All the more urgent for the solitary who must decide, and quickly.