Title

China’s First Liberal

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Spring 2012

Abstract

Although he was not a full liberal in the modern sense, Mozi (c. 470–391 B.C.E.) espoused some classical-liberal principles long before Locke and Voltaire. Moreover, although his views often run counter to pervasive Confucian norms, his insights about equality before the law, the dangers of the predatory state, militarism, and a social order based on rational self-interest could serve as a reference point for building a liberal society in the new China.