Defending Our World View against the Politically Correct
By Fredrick Töben
The above cartoon clearly illustrates how this silly adherence to so-called ‘politically-correct’ thinking is stopping the functioning of an individual’s moral and intellectual processes. In decades past it was the height of sophistication if an individual showed ‘discriminate’ taste in matters of life. But there is development even in this sphere of intellectual and cultural oppression. Individuals are losing their fear of those who use legal means to shut up those who dare speak out against injustices, and for truth.
On 30-31 August 2003, I attended the Sydney Forum where about 50 concerned citizens gathered to air their concerns. One gentleman, Lex Stewart, a former adviser to Pauline Hanson, delighted in telling his audience that he was the one who had rid Hanson of her robust adviser, John Pasquarelli. Why? Pasquarelli apparently had connections to
’s security service, ASIO. I used question time as an opportunity of chastising Stewart for this action because the excuse he offered is just not sound. Hanson needed a robust and fearless person to pave the way for her into Federal Parliament. This notion that patriotic movements must go against a nation’s security interests is silly. What Stewart did not reveal, but I did, was that Pasquarelli was aware of the ‘Jewish problem’, as former politician, Graeme Campbell put it so clearly. Australia also added the rider that it was irrelevant to Australian politics. I added the ‘Holocaust’ matter as another factor that both Campbell and Pasquarelli had taken with a grain of salt. For example, a number of Hanson supporters were asked the decisive question: Do you believed in the ‘Holocaust’? Those that answered ‘no’ were passed over when the Hanson party structure was formed. The other question asked was whether one supported the Palestinians or the Israelis. Campbell
And thus we have arrived at world politics. Recently I had a brief stop in
where I visited Professor Dr A B Kopanski in his office at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). Kuala Lumpur
Professor Kopanski, lectures in history to a receptive audience who wishes to know more about the national-international tensions. Professor Kopanski believes in the sanctity of the core state, a confederacy of free nations that will form an Axis of Truth. In the hope of helping him in his endeavour, I presented him with a copy of Germar Rudolf's The Rudolf Report, and Töben's own latest book, Fight or Flight: The Personal Face of Revisionism.
As an item of interest, the following is taken from a notice board at one of
's university dormitories. Of the twelve items designated for students' attention, here is No. 3. Kuala Lumpur
A Message To Remind You
Coupling. Part A, Article 2-1 Discipline of Student Rules 1984 (Standing Order on Rules of Conduct and Attire): "Dating and 'coupling' between unmarried couples, or being in close proximity between opposite sexes in suspicious situations or in conditions which may raise suspicions as to the real nature of the act and all kinds of Islamically deviant are not allowed."
Such attempt at still presenting a new generation with a basic code of conduct is a difficult task indeed, and the family unit is still seen as the important focus of Moslem Malaysian life. But it is not easy, especially when neighbouring countries, such as
, et al, have a surplus of women on account of the men becoming monks. Many Australians are well aware of this fact and travel to Thailand for this very reason. Prostitution is also a flourishing industry among non-Moslems, and sadly, child-sex as well. Thailand
I am reminded of what an elderly gentleman once said to me: “I got married, I stopped chasing skirts, and I then built an empire”.
Asiapolygamy seems to be an economic necessity for many women, and the 'jealousy element' that is a factor in any relationship, is apparently rationalised away through consumerism. But jealousy is also a part of western woman's lot whose husband cheats on her. When public figures do it openly, then the hurt must be doubly painful. For example, former President, Bill Clinton's behaviour towards his wife, was rationalized ‘talked-away’ publicly, but it never hid the truth of the matter that US had deceived his wife. It was interesting to observe the columnists who also rationalized away this act of deception. Only a few stated that a man who cheats on his wife will also cheat on his country. Clinton
Feminists who advocate a homosexual relationship in place of a heterosexual relationship fail to point out that even in such barren relationships there is a drive to create a model of a 'family' whereby IVF is used to produce offspring. And no matter how much rationalisation is used on the offspring, the individual will always want to know: Who is/was my father? Western-style feminists, and those who hate the family structure, have a field day causing unrest among such traditional life-styles. However, there is now a growing body of Islamic women who are quite competent in debating the issues of marriage, family values and the role of women in society, with especially US (often Jewish) feminists that trudge the world in an attempt to better the lot of ‘oppressed’ women, something that in certain instances is completely justified. Now Moslem women eagerly indicate to such 'Jewish' feminists what kind of suppression a Jewish woman is subjected to, for example the total shaving of her hair and the wearing of a wig, and that demoralising 'Hole in the Sheet'!
Handing over the books to Prof Kopanski with students looking on.
Our work is to defend our world view, and it is not attacking Jewish matters because “we hate the Jews”, as some have stated in the Federal Court of Australia. However, ‘Holocaust’ lies need to be exposed because they are distorting our world view by legitimizing German hatred, and that I certainly will continue publicly to oppose wherever I find such lies.
The most recent example is from Jonah Goldberg. 'Bush equals Hitler' adds up to holocaust denial,
September 5, 2003, at: http://www.townhall.com/columnists/jonahgoldberg/printjg20030905.shtml
In this article with an absurd premise, he states the following:
The Nazis murdered millions of men, women and children. Their victims weren't "collateral damage" in a war, and they were not executed after a long and fair trial. The Nazis sent their victims to gas chambers and ovens in boxcars. Nazi scientists injected dyes into the living eyes of small children to see if they could be made "Aryan." They made soap out of people.
I ask myself: What have Revisionists been doing all these years when someone like this fellow Goldberg still re-hashes the nonsense soap story? I will not even allude to the gas chamber reference as being pure German hatred.
That’s where we are at. Perhaps someone should send Goldberg a copy of The Rudolf Report, but I doubt that this man is sane and rational enough to even read the compelling evidence against homicidal gas chambers ever having existed on account of that being a physical impossibility. Also, Goldberg ought to read Fritjof Meyer’s article where the alleged gassed number has been further reduced, from 1.5 million to around 300,000, naturally done without quoting sources that prove any gassings at all.
Now let’s have a look at a world view that does not even mention the word ‘Jewish’. It is rather challenging with its sweep through history, but it’s well worth the effort.
defines its global "war on terrorism" as a defensive effort to protect its way of life, beyond attacks from enemies with alien cultural and religious motives, to attacks from those who reject modernity itself. This definition is derived from the views of historian Bernard Lewis, a scholar of Islamic culture at United States , who traces Islamic opposition to the West beyond hostility to specific interests or actions or policies or even countries, to rejection of Western civilization for what it is. To Lewis, Western civilization stands for modernity. This anti-modernity attitude, he warns, is what lends support to the ready use of terror by Islamic fundamentalists. Princeton University
Samuel Huntington in his The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order argues that the collapse of the
Soviet Unionand the end of the Cold War will bring neither peace nor worldwide acceptance of liberal democracy. rejects Francis Fukuyama's prematurely optimistic "end of history" theme that the collapse of communism means Western civilization is destined to spread as people elsewhere seek the benefits of technology, wealth, and personal freedom it offers. Instead, because technology has been reserved for exploitation, wealth obscenely maldistributed, and freedom selectively denied to the powerless, narrow ideological conflict will transform into conflicts among people with different religions, values, ethnicities, and historical memories. These cultural factors define civilizations. Nations will increasingly base alliances on common civilization rather than common ideology; and wars will tend to occur along the fault lines between major civilizations. Huntington
points out that embracing materialist science, industrial production, technical education, rootless urbanization, and capitalistic trade does not mean the rest of the world will embrace the culture of the West. On the contrary, he argues that economic growth is likely to increase the aspiration for cultural sovereignty, breeding a new commitment to the values, customs, traditions, and religions of native cultures. The struggle is not capitalism against communism, but backward civilization against modern civilization. Huntington
The fault in both these views is the assumption that modernity is an exclusive characteristic of the West. On the surface, such views appear self-evident, since science and technology have been the enabling factors behind Western ascendance and dominance. But the "modern world" can be viewed as a brief aberration on the long path of human destiny, a brief period of a few centuries when narcissistic Western thinkers mistake technological development as moral progress in human civilization. Many barbaric notions, racism being the most obvious, appear under the label of modernity, rationalized by a barbaric doctrine of pseudo-science. The West takes advantage of the overwhelming power it has derived from its barbaric values to set itself up as a superior civilization. The West views its technical prowess as a predatory license for intolerance of the values and traditions of other advanced cultures.
Chinese civilization has weathered successive occupation by barbaric invaders, all of whom as rulers saw fit to adopt Chinese civilization for their own benefit and contributed to the further development of the culture they had invaded and subsequently adopted. The history of the West's interaction with the rest of the world has been culturally evangelistic, to suppress and encroach on unfamiliar cultures Westerners arbitrarily deem inferior, often based on self-satisfied ignorance. Until confronted by Western imperialism,
might have faced military conquests, but Chinese civilization had never been under attack. Barbaric invaders came to gain access to Chinese culture, not to destroy it. The West is unique in its destructive ethnocentricity. Under the domination of the West, Chinese or other non-Western intellectuals who do not speak or read Western languages are considered illiterate and ignorant, while Western "scholars", including the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who do not speak or read Chinese or other non-Western languages have written erudite books on Chinese and other non-Western culture. China
Gunpowder was invented around the 4th century in
by Taoist alchemist Ko Hong while seeking an elixir for immortality. It is the height of Taoist irony that the search for an elixir for immortality only yields a substance that ends life abruptly. Gunpowder would not be used in warfare in China until the 10th century, first in incendiary rockets called feihuo (flying fire), forerunner of today's intercontinental ballistic missiles. Explosive grenades would first be employed by armies of the Song Dynasty in 1161 against Jurchens (Nuzhen), ancestors of modern-day Manchurians. China
In Chinese dynastic culture, the use of firearms in war was considered cowardly and therefore not exploited by honorable warriors of self-respect. Firearms would not develop in dynastic
, not because of the absence of know-how, but because their use had been culturally circumscribed as not being appropriate for true warriors. China
In the history of human progress, willful rejection of many technological inventions is traceable to cultural preference. This is the basis for concluding that the technological militarism of the West is of barbaric roots and that a civilization built on military power remains barbaric, the reverse of modernity, notwithstanding the guise of technology.
The oldest picture in the world of a gun and a grenade is on a painted silk banner found at Dunhuang, dating to the mid-10th century, that came to be in the possession of Musee Guimet in
in modern times. The museum on Place d'Iena was founded by French industrialist Emile Guimet, a 19th-century Asian-art collector from Paris Lyon. On the silk banner, demons of Mara the Temptress, an evil goddess, are shown trying to harm the meditating Buddha and to distract him from his pursuit of enlightenment, with a proto-gun in the form of a fire lance and a proto-grenade in the form of a palm-size fire-bomb. The fact that these weapons are shown to be used only by evil demons illustrates the distasteful attitude of the ancient Chinese toward firearms.
Crossbows, known in Chinese as nu, have a shorter range than double-curved longbows and are slower in firing. But they became devastatingly accurate after a grid sight to guide their aim was invented 23 centuries ago by Prince Liu Chong of the imperial house of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220).
Crossbows were first used 28 centuries ago in the Spring and Autumn Period (Chunqiu 770-481 BC) when their employment in the hands of the infantry neutralized the traditional superiority of war chariots. The use of crossbows thus changed the rules of warfare and the balance of power in the political landscape of ancient
, favoring those states with large sheren (commoner) infantry forces over those with powerful chariot-owning militant guizu (aristocrats). China
The earliest unification of
by the Legalist Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC), whose unifying ruler was an antagonist of fragmented aristocratic feudalism, was not independent of the geopolitical impact of crossbow technology. China
History records that in 209 BC, the Second Emperor (Er Shi, reigned 209-207 BC) of the Qin Dynasty, son of the unifying Qin Origin Emperor (Qin Shihuangdi, reigned 246-210 BC), who fought 26 years of continuous war to unify all under the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC), which subsequently lasted only 14 years before collapsing, kept a crossbow regiment of 50,000 archers.
Han Dynasty historian Sima Qian, author of the classic Records of the Historian (Shi Ji), wrote in 108 BC that a member of the Han royalty, the prince of Liang Xiao (Liang Xiao Wang), was in charge of an arsenal with several hundred thousand crossbows in 157 BC.
Two working crossbows from China, dating from the 11th century AD, one capable of repeat firing, came to be in the modern-day collection of the Simon Archery Foundation in Manchester Museum at the University of Manchester, England.
Most triggers and sights used in crossbows in
were manufactured by master craftsmen who signed their metal products with inscribed marks and dates. Shen Gua (1031-94), renowned Bei Song Dynasty (Northern Song 960-1127) scientist cum historian on Chinese science and technology, referred to his frustration over his inability to date accurately an 11th-century excavation, upon finding on a crossbow mechanism the inscription "stock by Yu Shih and bow by Chang Rou", but with no accompanying dates. China
Even in 10th century BC, production of crossbows in
had already involved a sophisticated system of separation of manufacturing of parts and mass assembly of final products. China
Crossbows were last used in war in
by the Qing Dynasty army in 1900, with tragic inadequacy, against the invading armies of eight allied European powers with more deadly firearms. China
The ancient Greeks employed crossbows successfully at
in 397 BC. After the fall of the Syracuse Roman Empire, crossbows reappeared in Europeonly after the 10th century. They were used at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 by William the Conqueror.
The Second Lateran Council of 1139 condemned crossbows, together with usury, simony, clerical marriage and concubinage. Their use was banned under the anathema of the Church, except for use against infidels. The ban on crossbows was a position of moral righteousness yet to be taken by Christendom in modern times on the use of nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction.
Richard, Coeur de Lion (1157-1199), mostly absentee king of
(1189-99) and less-than-successful hero of the Crusades, took many crossbows on his Third Crusade in 1190. Hernando Cortes (1485-1547), Spanish conquistador, used the crossbow as one of his main weapons in subjugating England in the 16th century. Mexico
In medieval warfare, the rules of European chivalry required, as those of dynastic Chinese martial arts did, that honorable combat be personal and bodily. Arrows were considered cowardly by medieval Europeans, as firearms were by dynastic Chinese up to the 19th century. The use of bows and arrows was stooped to only by those outside of the socio-military establishment, the likes of outlawed English yeomen of the 12th century, such as Robin Hood and his chief archer, Little John, legendary folk heroes of English ballads. Another famous 13th-century archer was the legendary Swiss patriot William Tell, whose story would be made popular by Friedrich von Schiller's drama and later by Gioacchino Antonio Rossini's popular opera.
European knights, when prepared to suffer calculated losses, were able to survive slow-firing enemy crossbows with limited range. In sufficient numbers, the horsemen were able to decimate in full gallop an unprotected line of much-despised enemy crossbow-men. However, they were not able to overcome fast-firing longbows with long range.
Two millennia after the invention of crossbows in
, the Battle of Crecy of the Hundred Years' War, which took place on China August 26, 1346, first demonstrated the effectiveness of Edward III's English archers, composed mostly of newly recruited, socially shunned yeomen with longbows, against the respectable armored French knights of Philip VI.
Similarly, the Battle of Agincourt on
October 25, 1415, decisively confirmed the obsolescence of hitherto invincible French aristocratic knights on horseback. In opposition, English yeomen, commoner foot-soldiers, members of a class unappreciated by their social betters in their home society, applied with glory in war a despised killing tool designed for illegal poaching in peace. Armed with a fresh military application of ignoble longbow technology, the socially inferior English yeomen in the form of simple unarmored infantry-archers, proved their battlefield supremacy to the socially superior French aristocrats in the form of powerfully armored mounted knights.
The Battle of Agincourt marked the end of the age of chivalry and announced the obsolescence of its stylized methods of warfare. It also heralded the beginning of a period in which the sovereign would look for military support from the gentry of his realm rather than traditionally from the aristocracy. This gave rise to the resulting political implication that henceforth war would have to be fought for national purpose or religious conviction rather than for settling private feuds among royalties.
In William Shakespeare's Henry V, the central scene of which features the Battle of Agincourt, the most glorious in English history, King Henry addresses his yeomen soldiers in a famous nationalistic exultation:
"Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeomen,
Whose limbs were made in
, show us here England
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot;
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry!
and Saint George!'" England
After the battle scene, Shakespeare (1564-1616) has King Henry recount the French dead:
"The names of those their nobles that lie dead:
Charles Delabreth, High Constable of
The Master of the Cross-bows, Lord Rambures ..."
In ancient Chinese warfare, the code of honorable martial conduct required that combat be personal, bodily and frontal. Combatants were organized according to rank, as per all other social activities in a class-conscious and rigidly hierarchical society. Jiangjun (generals) were pitted against jiangjun, captains against captains and foot soldiers against foot soldiers. Social segregation was reflected in the proverb: "Earthenware does not deserve collision with porcelain."
Expertise in corporeal martial skill was so highly prized that jiangjun were frequently expected to engage personally in one-on-one combat with their opposing counterparts. Battles were sometimes won or lost depending on the outcome of high-ranking personal duels under the watchful eyes of troops on each side. By Tang time in the 7th century, however, the cult of martial chivalry in which individual valor determined the outcome of battles already had become only a legend of the past. Firepower was still considered cowardly. And the use of firearms was not acceptable to proud warriors as respectable members of the social elite. Until influenced in modern times by popular
Hollywoodfilms on the American Wild West, Chinese children playing war would prefer swordfights to gunfights.
Gunpowder remained unknown in the West until the late 10th century. However, Europeans abandoned outmoded rules of chivalry after the Middle Ages and enthusiastically incorporated firearms and artillery into the lexicon of their military arts after the late 15th century. In contrast, thanks to the Confucian aversion to technological progress, Chinese military planners did not modernize their martial code, basing foreign policy on the principle of civilized benevolence. They continued to suppress development of firearms as immoral and dishonorable up to the 19th century, much to
's misfortune. China
As a result, European armies arrived in
in the 19th century with superior firearms. They consistently and repeatedly scored decisive victories with their small but better-armed expeditionary forces over the numerically superior yet technologically backward, sword-wielding Chinese army of the decrepit Qing Dynasty (1636-1911). China
's most influential revolutionary, Mao Zedong, proclaimed in modern times his famous dictum: "Political power comes from the barrel of a gun." He was in fact condemning the obsolete values of Confucianism (ru jia) as much as stating a truism in barbaric modern realpolitik. China
Confucian ethics notwithstanding, morality and honor failed to save
from Western imperialism, because morality and honor require observation from both opponents. It was not a clash of civilizations, but a clash between civilization and barbarism. Militarism is a race toward barbarism camouflaged by technology as modernity. China
The Boxers Uprising of 1900, the Chinese name for which is Yihetuan (Righteous Harmony Brigade), was an extremist xenophobic movement. It was encouraged as a chauvinistic instrument for domestic politics by the decrepit court of the Qing Dynasty, dominated by the self-indulging, reactionary Dowager Empress (Cixi Taihou, 1838-1908). The Boxer Uprising was used by the Dowager Empress as a populist counterweight to abort the budding "100 Days" elitist reform movement of 1898, led by conservative reformist Kang Youwei (1858-1927) around the young monarch, the weak Emperor Guangxu (reigned 1875-1908), belatedly and defensively advocating modernization for China.
The members of Yihetuan, in a burst of chauvinistic frenzy, rejected the use of modern and therefore foreign firearms in favor of traditional broadswords. They relied on protection against enemy bullets from Taoist amulets, their faith in which would remain unshaken in the face of undeniable empirical evidence provided by hundreds of thousands of falling comrades shot by Western gunfire. The term Boxer would be coined by bewildered Europeans whose modern pragmatism would fill them with a superficial superiority complex, justified on narrow grounds, over an ancient culture that stubbornly clung to the irrational power of faith, in defiance of reason.
Historians often trace the source of national predicaments to particular decisions made by leaders based on personal character, rather than to structural conditions of institutions. This convenient emphasis on personal political errors at the expense of deterministic institutional structure tends to nurture speculations that with wiser decisions, a socio-economic-political order trapped inside an obsolete institutional system would not necessarily be doomed to collapse under the strain of its own contradictions. Such speculations are hard to verify, since it can be argued that bad political decisions by faulty leaders are not independent of a nation's institutional defects. The penchant of the sole remaining superpower to resort to overwhelming force against those not willing to bend to its will may well be an institutional march from modernity back toward barbarism.
Ironically, the Boxers Uprising so discredited the public image of the stubbornly reactionary Qing court that, within a decade after its outbreak, the democratic revolution of Dr Sun Yat-sen succeeded in 1911 in overthrowing the three-century-old Qing Dynasty, despite the effective reactionary suppression of progressive monarchist reform efforts in the dynasty's last phase, or perhaps because of it. Extremist reactionaries, in their eagerness to be gravediggers for progressive reformers, usually become instead unwitting midwives for revolutionary radicals. The Taoist concept of the curative potential of even deadly poison was again demonstrated by the pathetic phenomenon of the Boxers Uprising.
Thus a case can be made that extreme fundamentalist opposition to the West may be the midwife for modernization of Islamic civilization. The capitalistic West nurtured and used Islamic fundamentalism as an antidote against communism in the oil regions of the
Middle Eastduring the Cold War, the same way it had nurtured and used fascism during the Great Depression. The antidote proves to be more lethal to the capitalistic West.
Western military prowess, with its arsenal of smart bombs and weapons of mass destruction ready for deployment to impose its will on others, is not a march toward modernity, but a retreat toward barbarism. A civilization built on militarization of the peace remains a barbaric civilization. What Western militarism has done is to abduct modernity as synonymous with Western civilization, depriving human civilization of an evolving process of cultural diversity. The effect of this abduction of modernity had been profound and comprehensive.
The West is not the only guilty party in history, only the most recent. Chinese civilization during the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC) took a great step forward toward forging a unified nation and culture, but in the process lost much of the richness of its ancient, local traditions and rendered many details of its fragmented past incomprehensible to posterity. Universality and standardization, ingredients of progress, are mortal enemies of particularity and variety, components of tradition. Human civilization deserves a richer vision of modernity than that offered by the West. Until modernization is divorced from Westernization, non-Western civilizations will continue to resist modernization.
Tu Weiming, professor of Chinese history and philosophy and director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute at Harvard University, wrote: "Hegel, [Karl] Marx and Max Weber all shared the ethos that, despite all its shortcomings, the modern West informed by the Enlightenment mentality was the only arena where the true difference for the rest of the world could be made. Confucian East Asia, Islamic Middle East, Hindu India, or Buddhist Southeast Asia was on the receiving end of this process. Eventually, modernization as homogenization would make cultural diversity inoperative, if not totally meaningless. It was inconceivable that Confucianism or, for that matter, any other non-Western spiritual traditions could exert a shaping influence on the modernizing process. The development from tradition to modernity was irreversible and inevitable."
Tu suggests that, in the global context, what some of the most brilliant minds in the modern West assumed to be self-evidently true turned out to be parochial. In the rest of the world and, arguably, in
Western Europeand North America, the anticipated clear transition from tradition to modernity never occurred. As a norm, traditions continue to make their presence in modernity and, indeed, the modernizing process itself is constantly shaped by a variety of cultural forms rooted in distinct traditions. The recognition of the relevance of radical otherness to one's own self-understanding of the 18th century seems more applicable to the current situation in the global community than the inattention to any challenges to the modern Western mindset of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th. For example, the outstanding Enlightenment thinkers such as Francois Arouet de Voltaire, Gottfried Leibniz and Jean Jacques Rousseau took as their major reference society and Confucianism as their major reference culture. It seems that toward the 21st century, the openness of the 18th century, as contrasted with the exclusivity of the 19th century, may provide a better guide for the dialogue of civilizations. China
According to Professor Tu, in light of the ill-conceived hypothesis of the "coming clash of civilizations, the need for civilizational dialogues and for exploring a global ethic is more compelling. Among the Enlightenment values advocated by the French Revolution, fraternity, the functional equivalent of community, has received scant attention among modern political theorists. The preoccupation with fixing the relationship between the individual and the state since [John] Locke's treatises on government is, of course, not the full picture of modern political thought; but it is undeniable that communities, notably the family, have been ignored as irrelevant in the mainstream of Western political discourse."
In Tu's view, East Asian modernity under the influence of Confucian traditions suggests an alternative model to Western modernism:
(1) Government leadership in a market economy is not only necessary but is also desirable. The doctrine that government is a necessary evil and that the market in itself can provide an "invisible hand'' for ordering society is antithetical to modern experience in either the West or the East. A government that is responsive to public needs, responsible for the welfare of the people and accountable to society at large is vitally important for the creation and maintenance of order.
(2) Although law is essential as the minimum requirement for social stability, "organic solidarity" can only result from the implementation of humane rites of interaction. The civilized mode of conduct can never be communicated through coercion. Exemplary teaching as a standard of inspiration invites voluntary participation. Law alone cannot generate a sense of shame to guide civilized behavior. It is the ritual act that encourages people to live up to their own aspirations.
(3) Family as the basic unit of society is the locus from which the core values are transmitted. The dyadic relationships within the family, differentiated by age, gender, authority, status, and hierarchy, provide a richly textured natural environment for learning the proper way of being human. The principle of reciprocity, as a two-way traffic of human interaction, defines all forms of human-relatedness in the family. Age and gender, potentially two of the most serious gaps in the primordial environment of the human habitat, are brought into a continuous flow of intimate sentiments of human care.
(4) Civil society flourishes not because it is an autonomous arena above the family and beyond the state. Its inner strength lies in its dynamic interplay between family and state. The image of the family as a microcosm of the state and the ideal of the state as an enlargement of the family indicate that family stability is vitally important for the body politic and a vitally important function of the state is to ensure organic solidarity of the family. Civil society provides a variety of mediating cultural institutions that allow for a fruitful articulation between family and state. The dynamic interplay between the private and public enables the civil society to offer diverse and enriching resources for human flourishing.
(5) Education ought to be the civil religion of society. The primary purpose of education is character-building. Intent on the cultivation of the full person, schools should emphasize ethical as well as cognitive intelligence. Schools should teach the art of accumulating "social capital" through communication. In addition to the acquisition of knowledge and skills, schooling must be congenial to the development of cultural competence and appreciation of spiritual values.
(6) Since self-cultivation is the root for the regulation of family, governance of state, and peace under heaven, the quality of life of a particular society depends on the level of self-cultivation of its members. A society that encourages self-cultivation as a necessary condition for human flourishing is a society that cherishes virtue-centered political leadership, mutual exhortation as a communal way of self-realization, the value of the family as the proper home for learning to be human, civility as the normal pattern of human interaction and, education as character-building.
Tu acknowledges that it is far-fetched to suggest that these societal ideals are fully realized in
East Asia. Actually, East Asian societies often exhibit behaviors and attitudes just the opposite of the supposed salient features of Confucian modernity indicate. Indeed, having been humiliated by imperialism and colonialism for decades, the rise of East Asia, on the surface at least, blatantly displays some of the most negative aspects of Western modernism with a vengeance: exploitation, mercantilism, consumerism, materialism, greed, egoism and brutal competitiveness.
Nevertheless, as the first non-Western region to become modernized, the cultural implications of the rise of "Confucian"
East Asiaare far-reaching. The modern West as informed by the Enlightenment mentality provided the initial impetus for worldwide social transformation. The historical reasons that prompted the modernizing process in Western Europeand North Americaare not necessarily structural components of modernity. Surely, Enlightenment values such as instrumental rationality, liberty, rights consciousness, due process of law, privacy and individualism are all universalizable modern values. However, as the Confucian example suggests, "Asian values" such as sympathy, distributive justice, duty-consciousness, ritual, public-spiritedness and group orientation are also universalizable modern values. Just as the former ought to be incorporated into East Asian modernity, the latter may turn out to be a critical and timely reference for the American way of life.
Henry C K Liu is chairman of the New York-based Liu Investment Group.
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From the fall of the
Roman Empireto the 15th century, Islam was the dominant civilization outside of . The Islamic world of this period was more advanced, with greater wealth and a higher level of culture than the Christian West. Islamic scholars preserved the texts of the ancient Greek philosophers and scientists by translating them into Arabic and Latin, which Renaissance scholars emerging from the Dark Ages relied on for sources and scholarship on antiquity. Arabs made path-breaking advances in mathematics, astronomy, medicine and philosophy, and transmitted to the West much of what they had learned from China . The West through the interpretation of Arab eyes rediscovered much of Western antiquity. China
Mohammed the Prophet entered
in AD 630 and established Islamic rule. The growing forces of Muslim, 121 years from that date, after having conquered Spain, North Africa, Egypt, Persia and much of Byzantium, decisively defeated the Tang Chinese army in 751 at the famous Battle of Talas, between modern-day Tashkent and Lake Balkhash. The Arab victory was aided by a branch of Muslim Tujue (Turkic) tribes known as Karluks, who launched a surprised attack on Tang forces from the rear. The Battle of Talas halted Chinese expansion into Mecca Central Asia.
The Chinese refer to Arabs as Dashi, from the Syrian word Tayi or the Persian word T'cyk. The Arabs conquered
in the 8th century. For five centuries thereafter, Samarkand flourished under the Omayyad Arabs as a trade center between Samarkand and Changan, the capital of dynastic Baghdad , until advances in sea transport in the 13th century finally rendered the China Silk Routeeconomically obsolete. Chinese prisoners captured by Arab forces at the Battle of Talas in 751 eventually introduced the art of paper-making to Arab lands and subsequently to Europe, but only after Arab paper-makers, jealously guarding the secret from Europeans for five more centuries, had sold paper to Europe at handsome profits in the interim. A process to make paper from vegetable fiber had first been invented by Cailun in during the Han Dynasty in 105. The first paper mill outside of China was established by Arabs in China six-and-a-half centuries later in 751. The invention of paper greatly facilitated the development of language, graphic arts and culture, first in China, then in the Arab world, and then in the West. Samarkand
The scientific and industrial revolutions vastly increased the wealth and power of the West from the middle of the 19th century. After the defeat of the Islamic Ottoman Empire in World War I, the
Middle Eastwas taken over by European powers and broken up into colonies and protectorates. Today, despite decolonization, nationalism and oil riches, this region remains poor and underdeveloped, not because modernity bypassed it, but because modernity arrived in the form of neo-colonialism. Westernization in these lands has produced miserable results, forcing the Islamic world to the conclusion that the solution may be a renewal of the Islamic faith that reigned in the days of their former greatness. The West derides this view as a rejection of modernity, notwithstanding historical evidence of the Arab world having embraced science and technology at a time when the best minds in the West were still prisoners of the flat-Earth doctrine.
The clash-of-civilizations theme exaggerates unity in outlook, values, ideas, and loyalties among people who share the common history and culture that define a civilization. Modern wars have been fought mostly within Western civilization, while easy imperialistic conquests have been the order of the day between Western and non-Western civilizations. Samuel P Huntington wrote: "The central characteristics of the West, those which distinguish it from other civilizations, antedate the modernization of the West." Thus the modernization of other civilizations is not in conflict with rejection of Westernization. The scholar Bernard Lewis, in seeing hatred of modernity as the main driving force in the wider context of Islamic terrorism, is confusing modernity with Western culture.
The rejection of modernity occurs in every nation and civilization. The history of the West, dominated by the rise of Christianity, is strewn with wars of resistance against modernity. The history of Christianity, the main thread of Western history, is a continuing saga against modernity. The
"war on terrorism" itself is a continuation of this resistance in its emphasis on force rather than understanding. By abducting the concept of modernity as a monopoly of the West, Western scholars obstruct true modernity in a diverse world. Modernity is defined by the West as a collection of Western values arbitrarily deemed universal - the secular culture of circular rationality, materialist science, alienating individualism, technical innovation, amoral legalism, selective democracy and exploitative capitalism that Western imperialism has spread worldwide in different forms and to varying degrees. Religious fundamentalism is currently enjoying unprecedented influence over secular politics within the US , as exemplified by President George W Bush's proclamation that God, not the United States constitution, told him to attack US and Afghanistan . While the separation of church and state is still a governing tenet in the Iraq , separation of religion and politics is non-existent. US
Modernity, a new version of Rudyard Kipling's "white man's burden" of old-fashioned imperialism, has been brought to the world by neo-imperialism, to disarm resistance to Western neo-imperialist encroachment. Opposition to exploitative policies and actions of the imperialist West is dismissed as irrational hatred of modernity. Kipling (1865-1936) confused Western materialist advancement with moral superiority, as measured by a standard based on virtue. Kipling's romantic portrayal of the model Englishman as brave, honorable, conscientious and self-reliant, while popularly accepted in the English-speaking West, would be generally rejected in the East by those with direct exposure to the breed as being still unwashed of animalistic instincts. The idealized image would be recognized as being a wishful manifestation based on Kipling's apologetic colonial mentality toward his social betters in his home society. It is also a compensation for Kipling's own inferiority complex derived from his love-hate relationship with the richness of Indian culture, to which he was attracted but which he was unable to appreciate fully because of his deep-rooted racial prejudice as a product of Western culture.
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