Cao Cao and Zhuge Liang

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Who's the true loyal servant?

Cao Cao
8
24%
Zhuge Liang
25
76%
 
Total votes : 33

Unread postby Lady Wu » Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:45 am

Come come, the poll isn't really all that fair at all. Let's put a little spin on it.

Suppose Zhuge Liang's son, Zhuge Zhan, usurped the throne, taking advantage of Liu Shan's corruptness and general uselessness.

Would we come to view Zhuge Liang differently now?

After all, a main part of Cao Cao's "evilness" comes from his having prepared the way for his son to usurp Xian's throne. I mean, Cao Cao stablized the Han territory (well, the Central Plains), rebuilt the economy, created jobs, defended the borders against the barbarians, purged the court of dissendents, and sought to reunite the world. Zhuge Liang did the same too. Since he didn't usurp the throne in history, who are we to judge his intention and claim that he's evil? That's why I suggested that perhaps it was due to what Cao Pi did that we come to consider Cao Cao evil.

Would we have evaluated Zhuge Liang if his son did the same as Cao Pi?
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Unread postby Lord Bio » Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:43 am

Lady Wu wrote:Come come, the poll isn't really all that fair at all. Let's put a little spin on it.

Suppose Zhuge Liang's son, Zhuge Zhan, usurped the throne, taking advantage of Liu Shan's corruptness and general uselessness.

Would we come to view Zhuge Liang differently now?

After all, a main part of Cao Cao's "evilness" comes from his having prepared the way for his son to usurp Xian's throne. I mean, Cao Cao stablized the Han territory (well, the Central Plains), rebuilt the economy, created jobs, defended the borders against the barbarians, purged the court of dissendents, and sought to reunite the world. Zhuge Liang did the same too. Since he didn't usurp the throne in history, who are we to judge his intention and claim that he's evil? That's why I suggested that perhaps it was due to what Cao Pi did that we come to consider Cao Cao evil.

Would we have evaluated Zhuge Liang if his son did the same as Cao Pi?


Intresting twist, Lady Wu, and I'll play. First off, let me say that I don't consider Cao Cao "evil" for the actions of Cao Pi at all. While what you say is true, Cao Cao did "pave" the way for Cao Pi to take the throne, Cao Cao himself never did. The actions of the son should not reflect on that of the father. Therefore, if Zhuge Zhan did usurp the power from the weak Liu Shan, then that should not reflect badly or "well" on Zhuge Liang. Just like the sins of the father do not pass to the son, the sins of the son do not pass to the father.

That being said, I personally believe that Zhuge Liang could be considered more "loyal" then Cao Cao. If you use "loyal" in the classical sense, as in loyal to your lord/superior. However, I am a great suporter of Cao Cao, I truly believe he was the most cable man of the age, so let me "defend" him some. While he certainly couldn't be considered loyal to the Han emperor, his nominal leige lord, because he did use the Han emperor as a puppet, I will say he might be considered loyal to the Han/China itself. When Cao Cao "came into power" the Han was already so ripe with corruption and weakened then I believe that very little could have saved it. This all worsened when a man like Dong Zhuo could control the court and the emperor with relative ease. Cao Cao did the "right" thing and formed the coalition against Dong Zhuo, intending to "save" the emperor and put down Dong Zhuo once for all. But what happens instead? The coalition breaks up due to infighting before the job is done. It is at this point that I believe Cao Cao saw that the emperor commanded so little respect, that he realized to bring "order out of chaos" a strong man must do so. He already saw what kind of people the other lords were, so he decided to so himself. I see Cao Cao as a true hero of his time, a man who did much more good then he ever did harm.
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Sep 09, 2005 7:02 am

This sort of reminds me of Sima Yi, as far as I see, he only protected himself from Cao Shung and got control of Wei court. Hardly a userper but he is blamed for the fall of Wei just becuase of what his family does when Sima Yi is dead.

I think that had Zhuge Zhan taken over, Zhuge Liang would be viewed as a reblloius villian who made Liu Shan his puppet but died before he could take the final step. Something like that.

= Disloyal. He can't act that way and be called loyal.


it isn't like he desposed the Son of Heaven or that had he left well alone, Xian could have united the land. Cao Cao did what he had to do, the Han was pretty much doomed.

Given how the Colation was unsure if Xian was a legit Sonn of Heaven and nearly went for their own Liu. Given how the land was divded and few if any warlords truly cared for the Han, that if Cao Cao had let Xian have full power, the fighting would stop.

Why should they be exempt from judgement?


they shouldn't but it does start to show how long the Han has been a corrupt tool. Cao Cao at least did some good for the land

The reasons for him serving the Han are irrelevant


not really as I'm arguing Cao Cao was serving himself.

What we need to know is that his status was that of a vassal but he was not acting loyal


America didn't act loyal to Britian :P. The French Revolution didn't act loyal to the French Royal Family, Parliment didn't act loyal to Charles the Ist. You get the idea?

Sometimes things change and a new power would rise from the ashes, Cao Cao used whatever means he could(same as most warlords) to unite the land
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Unread postby Shield » Fri Sep 09, 2005 2:13 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:I think that had Zhuge Zhan taken over, Zhuge Liang would be viewed as a reblloius villian who made Liu Shan his puppet but died before he could take the final step. Something like that.



I doubted that. People keep forgeting that while Zhuge Liang held a lot of power in Shu just like Cao Cao did for the later Han, Zhuge Liang was never disrespectful toward Liu Shan or any other officials. His discipline was strict but fair. Can anyone said the same for Cao Cao? That is one of the big different between the two. The other big different is that Zhuge Liang did not held all the power because he wanted it. He held all the power because he was a perfectionist and wanted to oversee every part of the operation. You cannot said the same for Cao Cao. So, because of the way Zhuge Liang behave, his son would not have viewed abusing power and the Emperor as the "norm", but even if they somehow overstep their boundary, they would just be view as a disgrace to their father name rather continuing in his footstep. Beside, when ZGL died, he named someone else as his successor instead of his family members. Basically he was impartial till the end.
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Unread postby Subotai » Fri Sep 09, 2005 2:54 pm

How in the world could anyone say that CaoCao was loyal???
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Unread postby Shi Tong » Fri Sep 09, 2005 4:58 pm

Zhuge Liang never killed Emperor Liu Shan's wives, he never named himself "King of Shu/ Han" while he was in power while Shan or Bei were living, and he never did while he was alive call himself anything but the prime minister. Zhuge Liang was so humble that when he failed he even lowered his own rank.

Before you all tell me that Cao Cao killed Emperor Xian's wives because he was the target of an assassination, I counter that with this: Why would Xian try to assassinate Cao Cao? Because Cao was not loyal to the emperor, Cao called himself the King and took all power away from Xian.

You can imagine what would happen if Emperor Xian called Cao Cao away from battle because of the eunachs saying bad things about him, cant you? Cao Cao would simply ignore him because he doesn't care what he thinks at all, so he's disloyal to Xian.

The thing is, Dong Zhou does have a point. Cao Cao is self serving. Therefore we cannot say that Cao should be loyal to anyone but himself.

but

In that case, why use Han titles? He was called the prime minister first, then the King, he ignored the emperor and did what he liked.

You're also right in saying that Cao Cao did a lot for the people of the land while the Han court was too corrupt to do anything to help anyone. This doesn't mean that Cao Cao was more loyal than Zhuge Liang, it means that he was a good man in terms of peace and stabalisation in China's Northern region. Great! Doesn't mean he was more loyal than Zhuge Liang though.

Before everyone also tells me that I'm biased, I would suggest you read my theories on Zhuge's possible plan to become the emperor in his own right using Zhuge Jin as a man on the inside of Wu and if his attacks on Wei were sucessful, his political edge on taking care of Wu to reunite the land and name himself emperor.

Thing is, Zhuge Liang never called himself a King. He never killed the emperor's wives. Cao Cao did. These are the only documented facts which tell us that Cao wasn't loyal to Xian
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Sep 09, 2005 7:00 pm

Very good points Shi Tong and I do understand what Xian did, I would be tempted considering his upbringing and what was happening. Nor do I doubt that Zhuge Liang did his best for Shu-Han and Liu Bei/Shan.

As to why using Han titles, it gives him some authority and power, aids somewhat in recruitment(come on the guy can get you a really nice Han rank.) and it quickens his route to the goal. Besides if not him, who else would get him and possibly do the same thing thus making Cao Cao's life more difficult?
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Unread postby Zhilong » Fri Sep 09, 2005 8:18 pm

This sort of reminds me of Sima Yi, as far as I see, he only protected himself from Cao Shung and got control of Wei court. Hardly a userper but he is blamed for the fall of Wei just becuase of what his family does when Sima Yi is dead.

Apparently even his own descendant covered his face in shame when he realised what Sima Yi did.

I'm not sure i would call Sima Yi an usurper but he was obviously not acting loyal when he endangered the life of his sovereign when he took control of the capital.

it isn't like he desposed the Son of Heaven or that had he left well alone, Xian could have united the land. Cao Cao did what he had to do, the Han was pretty much doomed.

Given how the Colation was unsure if Xian was a legit Sonn of Heaven and nearly went for their own Liu. Given how the land was divded and few if any warlords truly cared for the Han, that if Cao Cao had let Xian have full power, the fighting would stop.


This is pretty much you telling me he was unloyal but giving me the reasons why you think it was acceptable / pragmatic / right.

they shouldn't but it does start to show how long the Han has been a corrupt tool. Cao Cao at least did some good for the land

Being capable might make us more forgiving in our degree of judgement but it is not able to change someone who is disloyal into someone who is loyal. Do you understand the route your argument is going and why it is not valid?

not really as I'm arguing Cao Cao was serving himself.

That was not Cao Cao's own official claim though. And if he did declare he was not loyal to the crown but to himself then we would not be debating it in the first place.

America didn't act loyal to Britian . The French Revolution didn't act loyal to the French Royal Family, Parliment didn't act loyal to Charles the Ist. You get the idea?

This mode of argument is trying to use the "everyone else did it route". Yet none of those examples show they were loyal, quite the opposite.
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Sep 09, 2005 8:21 pm

I'm just going to concede the argument as it is impossible to say Cao Cao was loyal to the Han and as Zhilong righly pointed out my arguments going in wrong direction
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Unread postby Zhilong » Fri Sep 09, 2005 8:24 pm

Lady Wu: It is not the sole deeds of Cao Pi with which we judge Cao Cao. He did plenty of things himself that were enough to show us his true colours.

Even if Zhuge Zhan did usurp the throne it would not necessarily ruin his father's reputation and make him guilty too. We could look at factors such as what assets / land etc he gained and whether it was proper, whether power realistically returned to the throne or was inherited by his own son, his actions before his death etc.
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