13 October 2011

A belated 雙十節快樂!

Sorry, this is really 囧 on my part. I need to be much, much better about blogging holidays. Particularly when Dr Sun figured into my last post so heavily as a proponent of a viable Confucian synthesis with Western thinking!

Anyway, Hidden Harmonies has a solid (if somewhat polemical, in HH’s usual style) article for the occasion. Naturally, I very much concur with the ideal of establishing a ‘free and democratic nation with an equitable distribution of wealth’; but I also share Allen’s concerns that freedom doesn’t necessarily entail following (or continuing to follow) the same blood-soaked and exploitative path that so much of the modern West has. One of the reasons that China continues to intrigue me is that its traditional thinkers, as well as a number of its more contemporary ones, hint strongly at an alternative vision of modernity which parallels similar Socratic-Platonic-Aristotelian turns among critical, radical-conservative thinkers in the West. But, as Zhou Enlai once put it, it’s still far too soon to say.

EDIT: My attitude toward modern Western notions of freedom and democracy quite nicely parallel those of David Lindsay, here:

The West is the recapitulation in Jesus Christ and His Church of all three of the Old Israel, Hellenism and the Roman Empire. I would die to protect it, on whatever shore it found itself, and it now finds itself on every shore. But if by “the West”, you mean the rootless, godless, globalised, hypercapitalist, metrosexual wasteland of usury, promiscuity and stupefaction, then I hate it as much as does any Islamist.

Though Mr Lindsay expresses himself rather polemically here, I think he’s got it pretty much right. ‘The West’ (in the latter sense) is as much to be found in the PRC as it is here; though the tempering elements that can preserve true freedoms without trammelling people under the forces of a ‘rootless, godless, globalised, hypercapitalist, metrosexual [I would say “faceless”]’ order are more like to gain reception by reconceiving existing institutions in accordance with Confucian norms, than they are by an increased importation of pre-packaged institutions from abroad.

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