"When the Way [the immediate connection to the spiritual] has been lost, virtue [in the sense of manliness and honor] remains. When virtue is lost, ethics remain; when ethics are lost, moralism remains. Moralism is the exteriorization of ethics and defines the principle of decline."What principles?
-from the Tao
Eh, it's simplistic. "Immediate connection to the spiritual", when it (allegedly) existed, got itself far too easily attached the prerogatives of any old authoritarian ruler. "The Way" is simply too close to "the way things are", which is, of course, "the way those who wield force have made things" (not to mention "the way those who serve those who wield force have claimed is the way things ought to be.") No matter. Everything will be taken apart and put back together (or not) according to new structuring principles.