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The west has always been secular. It held onto a soteriological strain which often visits religions the moment they reach a peak of ecclesiastical ornamentation. Christianity internalized the Jewish law from which it descended and, thus, became a new church of ecclesiastical ornamentation. Many are well acquainted with the pairing of Buddhism and secularism, for instance. Less popular is the notion that Christ's incarnation into a body which could die, rise and then leave man alone could only ever result, theologically, in secularism.
It didn't, however, simply result in people no longer believing in God and going about their merry ways.
The sovereign of the Tao Te Ching can be thought of as a metaphor for many sets of phenomena in the world. Those agencies are best which merely tweak and fix small things here and there. The law works best as a means to keep people accountable to their word, not as a way to see to it that everything fits within a perfectly rigid formula. Stipulations and repeatable procedure can certainly keep society functioning, but society flourishes best if there are people who are able to fix things and smooth situations over before they can go wrong. You don't get this by taxing the rich (at least not eternally, as kitten-soft establishment socialists would want).