The Book of Filial Duty, by Ivan Chen, , at sacred-texts.com
THE QUESTION OF REMONSTRANCE IN CONNECTION WITH FILIAL DUTY
Tsêng Tzŭ said: "I have heard all that you said about parental love, filial love, reverence to elders, how to treat parents every day, and how
to please them by making oneself known for good conduct; and now I will venture to ask you whether it is filial that a son should obey every command of his father, whether right or wrong?"
"What do you say?what do you say?" replied Confucius. "Once upon a time there was a certain Emperor who would have lost his empire through his wickedness, but that he had seven good ministers who often checked his illegal actions by strong protests; there was also a feudal baron who would have lost his feudal estate through wantonness, but for the fact that he had five good men who often made strong remonstrances to him; and there was also a statesman who would have brought frightful calamity upon his family, but for the fact that he had three good servants who often strongly advised him not to do what he ought not.
"If a man has a good friend to resist him in doing bad actions, he will have his reputation preserved; so if a father has a son to resist his wrong commands, he will be saved from committing serious faults.
"When the command is wrong, a son should resist his father, and a minister should resist his August Master.
"The maxim is, "Resist when wrongly commanded." Hence how can he be called filial who obeys his father when he is commanded to do wrong?"