The 48 Laws of Power
Robert Greene
Contributed by Jack Shields
Chapter 26

Law Twenty-Six: Keep Your Hands Clean


To maintain the façade of a leader, a person needs to retain an element of efficiency and civility. The individual, therefore, needs to ensure that his hands are not polluted with nasty deeds and mistakes (Greene 200). There is, therefore, the need to use others as scapegoats, in a bid to retain some level of a spotless appearance. The individual may, therefore, have a chance to disguise his involvement in any form of wrongdoing. In the second century A.D, the imperial minister of Han Empire, Ts’ao, miscalculated on grain supplies and they would arrive late. Soon, there was a food shortage in the kingdom, and there was a ration of supply of food for his army (Greene 201). Soon, there were grumbles among the army as they felt that he was keeping a lot of food for himself and denying them. Seeking to prevent mutiny, he chose to behead his chief of commissariat to prove to the military men that the blame was not his but for the man executed. The action, thus, calmed the men down.

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