Rereading the chapter for a fourth time, the passage “fine words can sell things” (Chapter 62) jumps off the page. I realize how true this is. Politics is all about talking, and perhaps this is what Laozi is criticizing. People talk too much and try to do too much instead of staying within their limits and doing what they’re capable of doing. From what I understand of the Dao, the Way to act through non-action is to only do what is necessary when it is necessary.
This is contrasts highly with politics, where politicians go up on state to talk endlessly about how no new taxes will be added or how taxes will be decreased, in the end though, the taxes will go up. Politicians just say what they need to say to get elected, they don’t mean what they speak, they just try and appeal to a demographic. I suppose if Laozi (if he existed) were alive today, this aspect of politics would be criticized. Why can’t people just mean what they say and say what they mean? When a politician is on stage, why can’t they just say what they are going to do, and then go do it, and stop running their mouths and handing out empty promises like candy? I know they want to appeal to all demographics but come on. At least if their promises weren’t empty you would know what you were getting into when you voted for someone.