Is true human nature closer to the Chinese legalist assumption, or to the Enlightenment assumption?

Nov 2014
Is true human nature closer to the Chinese legalist assumption that human nature is deeply flawed and evil, or is it closer to the liberal assumption that human nature is inherently good, or at least closer to good than inherently flawed or evil, because that is going to have an effect on the type of government that you have, with the first assumption leading to a more authoritarian Platoish kind of government, led by a philosopher king that makes decisions for the people for their own good, in order to mitigate their inherently flawed nature and to save them from themselves, while the second type of assumption is more likely to lead to a laissez fair type of government, with the government likely to be similar to a modern liberal democracy, since it believes that human nature is basically good. So that any decision made by a majority of humans, say on LGBT issues, or the legalization of drugs or pornography, or even on free market capitalism, is a manifestation of humanity's inherently good nature, as hence the government should step aside and let the people decide they want, instead of a philosopher king deciding for his adult subjects what is good for them.
Oct 2011
the middle ground
I don’t think there is one answer to this question, historically speaking, though it is interesting. Is “true” human nature to be measured in times of plenty and security or in the midst of a war zone? Is it shown in small communities or megalopolitan settings? Etc. Agreed that political and cultural institutions will reflect the dominant beliefs of whatever time/place we consider but examining the origins of the beliefs themselves is probably the better route.

Similar History Discussions