Did Liu Bei truly love the common folk? (Historically)

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Did Liu Bei truly love the common folks??

Yes
15
43%
No
13
37%
Hard to tell
7
20%
 
Total votes : 35

Unread postby Mega Zarak » Thu Mar 06, 2003 7:01 am

Mengdez New Book wrote:BR and Jimayo, sorry for the interruption, what you mean by pure light cavalry? I do think Liu Bei had cavalry with him, look at this "先主闻曹公卒至,弃妻子走,使飞将二十骑拒后" I quote it from Zhang Fei SGZ bio.

Anyone is most welcome to join in this messy discussion. Sorry for all those details. When I said pure light cavalry unit, I mean an army that comprises of entirely lightly armoured horsemen. Obviously, there is no proof that Liu Bei had such an army. However, this is just a minor point. :D

madaboutck wrote:I am too lazy to see the whole thread and actually should do my work but since I saw, however briefly, the presence of horses, I would just like to make one point...

IF Liu Bei, I am certain he is riding one horse, rode ahead without being with the civilians, then it is obvious that he wanted to use them as human shields. (Even if there is the pressing need that he should be in front so as to "clear the customs and gates")

On the contrary, if he rode with the civilians, then there many be some element of love.

So which was the way he rode? :D

Liu Bei couldn't possibly rode away on his own because his primary objective was to goto Jiang Ling, got hold of it and use it to defend against Cao Cao's southern incursion. He couldn't do all that by himself or even with some lightly armoured horsemen.

Next, we see that Liu Bei had to abandoned even his own family members at Dang Yang. Hence, it was obvious how "large" his army was. Let's assume that Liu Bei had some 1000 men with him (horse and no horse). Given that the exodus of people numbered some 100000, do you expect a lightly armoured horsemen going around protecting some 100 civilians? If you think that Liu Bei was such an unrealistic person especially when it comes to loving the common people, perhaps such a belief would be logical for you. However, I believe that some alternative viewpoints are pretty reasonable too. :D

Summary of the alternative viewpoints:

i) Liu Bei wanted to retreated south without being noticed or caught up by the enemies along the way so that he could reach Jiang Ling. There, he would put up a defence (last-ditched?) against Cao Cao leveraging on the defence factor of the fortress of Jiang Ling.

ii) Liu Bei could not be sure if the enemies were near or not since Liu Bei was caught unprepared and he wasted some time at Xiang Yang. Also, he knew that he would be grossly outnumbered and if caught in the open field, his chances of survival would be rather low.

iii) When you outnumbered your enemy (who at the same time was retreating) and you can go all out to chase him. As such, great distances can be covered both in the day as well as in the night. However, when you're escaping from a powerful enemy, it is likely that you will not like the enemy to find you and hence, the retreat is likely to be done mainly in the night.

iv) As such, during the day, Liu Bei's troops could have hidden themselves amidst the exodus of civilians (thus covering only 10+ li in the day as mentioned in Liu Bei's SGZ bio) and in the night, he covered more distance (hence, he managed to reach Dang Yang before he was finally caught up by the enemies).

Sidenotes:

i) Scorch earth tactic. Those civilians were mainly from Xiang Yang. Given that Liu Zong wanted to surrender to Cao Cao, Xiang Yang would obviously belong to Cao Cao. As such, it was highly probable that Liu Bei had thought of that and hence, he did not stop the mass exodus of civilians southward. (note that the civilians carried all their valuables and belongings with them).

ii) As far as I know, there is no source that indicate Liu Bei's army playing the role of protecting the civilians along the way. I mean, they could not even protect Liu Bei's own family. :lol:

Bottomline for these alternative viewpoints:

With or without the civilians, Liu Bei would eventually be caught up by the enemies at Dang Yang given that the way he retreated and not that he was hampered by the civilians since there was no source to indicate that he was involved in their affairs.
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Unread postby Jimayo » Thu Mar 06, 2003 8:26 am

Great Deer wrote:i) Liu Bei wanted to retreated south without being noticed or caught up by the enemies along the way so that he could reach Jiang Ling. There, he would put up a defence (last-ditched?) against Cao Cao leveraging on the defence factor of the fortress of Jiang Ling.


Can't argue with that.

Great Deer wrote:ii) Liu Bei could not be sure if the enemies were near or not since Liu Bei was caught unprepared and he wasted some time at Xiang Yang. Also, he knew that he would be grossly outnumbered and if caught in the open field, his chances of survival would be rather low.


But here, the civilians actually were a hindrance rather than a help.

Rafe de Crespigny wrote:Militarily, he gained little of value for the mass of civilians was a hindrance to any effective moving defense, and the number of baggage carts which they dragged with them seriously slowed his retreat.


Great Deer wrote:]iii) When you outnumbered your enemy (who at the same time was retreating) and you can go all out to chase him. As such, great distances can be covered both in the day as well as in the night. However, when you're escaping from a powerful enemy, it is likely that you will not like the enemy to find you and hence, the retreat is likely to be done mainly in the night.

iv) As such, during the day, Liu Bei's troops could have hidden themselves amidst the exodus of civilians (thus covering only 10+ li in the day as mentioned in Liu Bei's SGZ bio) and in the night, he covered more distance (hence, he managed to reach Dang Yang before he was finally caught up by the enemies).


There's a hole here though. The soldiers may be more than willing to press on at night, but civilians will want to stop to sleep. If Liu Bei wanted to hide amongst them, he would have to stop at night as well.
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Unread postby CK » Thu Mar 06, 2003 8:32 am

Wait a minute, I am lost. Did or did not Cao Cao catch up with Liu Bei or the civilians?
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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Thu Mar 06, 2003 8:35 am

Azrael wrote:But here, the civilians actually were a hindrance rather than a help.

Prove the hindrance existed then Denny. Please don't go about making useless statement like that repeatedly.

Rafe de Crespigny wrote:Militarily, he gained little of value for the mass of civilians was a hindrance to any effective moving defense, and the number of baggage carts which they dragged with them seriously slowed his retreat.

This quote is not of much worth since Rafe himself wasn't there. How did he know that there the civilians were actually hindering Liu Bei's retreat? IMO, there was an equally likely chance that Liu Bei was not hindered by the civilians at all since we cannot prove otherwise. Rafe doesn't imply fact you know. :D

Azrael wrote:There's a hole here though. The soldiers may be more than willing to press on at night, but civilians will want to stop to sleep. If Liu Bei wanted to hide amongst them, he would have to stop at night as well.

:lol: First off, we're talking about less than 5000 men hiding amongst 100,000 refugees (so it's not like one soldier hiding behind the back of one civilian! :lol: ). Secondly, we're talking about the night where darkness always prevails. Sigh...
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Unread postby James » Thu Mar 06, 2003 8:36 am

Azrael wrote:There's a hole here though. The soldiers may be more than willing to press on at night, but civilians will want to stop to sleep. If Liu Bei wanted to hide amongst them, he would have to stop at night as well.

That presents an interesting thought, looking at the debate from this scenario. Liu Bei’s forces certainly could have pushed the peasants into a forced march of sorts, and they could have continued to move them through the day, but the peasants would have suffered and many would have died.

If Liu Bei was to bring peasants along with him it was either because a) he loved them and didn’t want to see them suffer, or b) because he cared about his reputation, and he had no choice but to [edit] bring them along. I do not think he would have brought them along as a human shield, because, in all honesty, would that have stopped Cao Cao?

Because the debate is against “a”, lets overlook that possibility and take a look at “b” [Liu Bei brought the peasants along because he had a reputation to maintain]. If he brought the peasants along, and then forced them to keep pace with his army despite their weaker conditions and baggage, death and suffering would surely result. Even more so than if they were free to move along at their own pace. Would that not hurt his reputation just as much or more?
Last edited by James on Thu Mar 06, 2003 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Thu Mar 06, 2003 8:40 am

James wrote:If Liu Bei was to bring peasants along with him it was either because a) he loved them and didn’t want to see them suffer, or b) because he cared about his reputation, and he had no choice but to leave them behind. I do not think he would have brought them along as a human shield, because, in all honesty, would that have stopped Cao Cao?

Like I brought up earlier, it could have either to confuse the enemies of their actual location as well as the scorched earth tactic. Of cos, these are the extreme viewpoints but still, I don't see how they can be disprove satisfactorily by facts rather than by mere speculations on Liu Bei's good character.

James wrote:Because the debate is against “a”, lets overlook that possibility and take a look at “b” [Liu Bei brought the peasants along because he had a reputation to maintain]. If he brought the peasants along, and then forced them to keep pace with his army despite their weaker conditions and baggage, death and suffering would surely result. Even more so than if they were free to move along at their own pace. Would that not hurt his reputation just as much or more?

Of cos it won't hurt Liu Bei's reputation James. It didn't for more than a thousand years! :lol:
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Unread postby James » Thu Mar 06, 2003 8:42 am

Great Deer wrote:This quote is not of much worth since Rafe himself wasn't there. How did he know that there the civilians were actually hindering Liu Bei's retreat? IMO, there was an equally likely chance that Liu Bei was not hindered by the civilians at all since we cannot prove otherwise. Rafe doesn't imply fact you know. :D

Well, as far as we know, Liu Bei did not sort out the fat, old, unhealthy, and exceptionally young members of his entourage (that would hardly be just, now would it?), so we can look at this from a logical stand. Even if he forced them to leave baggage behind (which he may have done) there is no way the force of refugees would have been able to keep up the normal pace of his troops. He would have had to set a pace and leave anyone who couldn’t keep up (which would have been everyone but the healthy) to go at a speed which could be compared to normal movement of an army.
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Unread postby CK » Thu Mar 06, 2003 8:44 am

Great Deer wrote:How did he know that there the civilians were actually hindering Liu Bei's retreat? IMO, there was an equally likely chance that Liu Bei was not hindered by the civilians at all since we cannot prove otherwise. Rafe doesn't imply fact you know. :D


Not that I am trusting the great Rafe guy but to put it simply, even your argument is a bit forced, like an argument for arguing's sake. We do know that

1) Horses travel faster
2) Human travels slower on foot

As such, it is fairly easy to assume that the civilians do hinder mobility. Moreover, we are talking about families, with the possible elders and babies, not fit men who was drafted into the military (like you and I were :wink: ) and as such, I am pretty sure that their speed would be incomparable to the horses.

Its true that Liu Bei needed people to populate his new territories and that he should not forsake them for either reputation or love. However, since the people were moving, they would have many chances to escape if the migration was not forced. I am unsure of the accounts of the people who tried to escape, or just blended into the environment and roamed off to other places themselves, but if its comparatively few, one thing would be certain, that they were willing to follow Liu Bei, be it for love of him, or fear of Cao Cao.
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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Thu Mar 06, 2003 8:46 am

James wrote:Well, as far as we know, Liu Bei did not sort out the fat, old, unhealthy, and exceptionally young members of his entourage (that would hardly be just, now would it?), so we can look at this from a logical stand. Even if he forced them to leave baggage behind (which he may have done) there is no way the force of refugees would have been able to keep up the normal pace of his troops. He would have had to set a pace and leave anyone who couldn’t keep up (which would have been everyone but the healthy) to go at a speed which could be compared to normal movement of an army.


Remember that refugees joined Liu Bei along the way (from Liu Bei's SGZ bio, "比到当阳,众十馀万" means when they reached Dang Yang, the refugees numbered more than 100,000). Also, I'm not refering to Liu Bei literally forcing the civilians to keep pace with him. I'm just presenting the scenario whereby Liu Bei thought it might be convenient to have them along so that the location of his own forces (or himself) would not be easily discovered during the day retreat. :D

It's really good to see that James is finally rather involved in a SGYY debate. Been sometimes since he did. :lol:
Last edited by Mega Zarak on Thu Mar 06, 2003 8:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Thu Mar 06, 2003 8:52 am

madaboutck wrote:
Its true that Liu Bei needed people to populate his new territories and that he should not forsake them for either reputation or love. However, since the people were moving, they would have many chances to escape if the migration was not forced. I am unsure of the accounts of the people who tried to escape, or just blended into the environment and roamed off to other places themselves, but if its comparatively few, one thing would be certain, that they were willing to follow Liu Bei, be it for love of him, or fear of Cao Cao.


Well, people joined in and people dropped off along the way but the account was that large numbers of civilians joined (the existing exodus) along the way. I wouldn't care for why they joined Liu Bei but the thing which I'm focussing on is the intention of Liu Bei when he allowed them to join him. I'm pretty sure 90% of the SGZ/SGYY readers would reason that Liu Bei loved the people. Hence, I'm just trying to stir up some controversies and present another viewpoint (which incidentally have been presented before but ignored/forgotten sometimes ago).
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