The influence of Taoism on the progress of the Western Han Dynasty is the subject of this episode. Taoism at times had a great influence on the Emperors and therefore on the political life of the country.
It seems from this episode that when the Emperors were light-handed in ruling, allowing the people to find their own way, that the country prospered, and it was even possible to lower taxes to an historical low rate.
Later, when more ambitious rulers ascended the throne, and conquest over the Huns became an aim, then the amounts spent on war bankrupted the country, and the people were once again heavily oppressed by Government.
For three generations the Empress Dowager Dou, who was Taoist herself, wielded great power and succeeded in guiding the country to heights of prosperity rarely seen before.
The term Governing Without Action should perhaps be qualified as meaning Governing Without Unnecessary Action, as the Emperors did still rule, but without strong personal desire, or going against nature.
Perhaps there is a lesson in that for our modern times also, as we see the collapse of over-ambitious and war-mongering states, and the rise of those with the patience to endure again.
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