We read in the Da Xue that
The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge.
"Rectification", here, I assume, is the zhengming discussed here in the SEP. One usually sees this idea expressed using the same verb for each of the successively smaller objects; one wishes to order well one's kingdom, hence orders well one's state, family, person, heart, &cetera. Now, the interesting question is, what happens when one's reached the innermost state? Here I can discern several possibilities, though I don't pretend that this list is exhaustive:
1. Having reached the well-ordered state of knowledge, one realizes that actually everything else is in order. It was only the disorder in which one previously languished that made one think anything was amiss at all.
2. Having reached the well-ordered state of knowledge, one need undertake no further actions specifically to bring about the outer ends. This might happen in one of two ways. 2a: One needn't do much of anything in particular; others, observing the well-orderedness one enjoys, will bring themselves of themselves into their proper states. 2b: the actions that one undertakes, having attained the desired innermost state, do tend to bring about the outer ends, but one no longer seeks those ends as such; part of what it is to have the well-ordered state of knowledge just is to act in ways that bring about the outer ends.
3. Having reached the well-ordered state of knowledge, one is able to see what the proper means are to the outer ends, and able to accomplish them, and does so.
If I were a twerp, I would say that (2) is kind of like dynamic programming and (3) is kind of recursive.
I don't think we should really take (1) seriously; it's basically just self-deception and implies that any starting state of the kingdom is actually well-ordered provided one can simply get oneself into some state of belief that it is. My further claims for this post will be that, insofar as one wants to know what is involved in the well-ordering of a kingdom, (2b) and (3) are indistinguishable, and (2a) is implausible. The first of those claims shouldn't be very difficult to establish. Just because the actions of the newly well-ordered ruler do not flow from actual courses of deliberative thought concerning the outer ends which previously occupied him (or, for that matter, any other ends), but rather come simply from his state of well-orderedness itself, that does not mean that we cannot classify the actions according to the ends which interest us and make the judgment that this action promotes that end; teleological judgment of that sort is a leading thread without which we would never get anywhere. And recall that, at present, we are interested simply in the question of what happens next, not, primarily, with the psychology of this ruler. So it doesn't really matter whether we take (2b) or (3). (Similarly, if the actions of others in (2a) are not a simple falling-into-place, but a regulation in which the ruler does not take personal part, there is little sense in distinguishing it from (2b) and hence from (3).)
Similarly, regarding (2a), the implausibility is manifest. Surely it takes a foolhardy optimism indeed to deny the existence of those who are simply unreasonable. And even if we exclude the unreasonable, there are always those who are all too reasonable: the beautiful souls* who can sniff out a profanely self-interested motive behind every action, no matter how high-minded it may really have been, who are only too eager to inform us that bravery in the ranks is nothing but a dangerous way to earn one's living, or friendship—not unlike marriage—is simply a system for the exchange of personal advantages and favors? And we know that, as Lichtenberg put it, man is so perfectable and corruptible he can become a fool through good sense: a clever child brought up with a foolish one can itself become foolish, and even if there be but one original of these cynics at large in the population, surely imitators and students will arise in his train. Such a state of affairs is not ended by a well-ordered ruler or family. On the contrary, the moralist will thrive in such an environment. So it could hardly be the case that simply having a well-ordered state of knowledge in the ruler will bring it about that the kingdom as a whole is set aright.
Note that in ruling out (2a), we have already made progress on our original question, for now we know that, at least if a state is really a kingdom, hierarchically organized (which was, after all, our starting assumption, which our conclusion ought not transgress), one must have a censor for Rochefoucauld.
*Is it just me, or is the section on the sections on conscience and the beautiful soul in the Phenomenology in Tom Rockmore's introduction to that book quite bad indeed?