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« Confucianism on the Outside, Legalism on the Inside | Main | Sow. Reap. »

November 15, 2005


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THis topic certainly rings a bell. I work with people from all over East Asia. It seems like this usually is not a commutative operation. The Chinese (in a general way - obviously there are great interindividual differences) seem to feel this much more so than the Japanese or Koreans. THe latter two, of course, have been much longer modernized from a Western technological point of view, and both have relatively strong democratic traditions. I personally think this is a fantasy (for those who actually care) brought about by a decided need to demonstrate what great influence ancient China had in the face of the decidedly powerful influences of modern science and democracy. Frankly, I think as time goes on the entire issue becomes less meaningful. I can honestly say, for instance, the Japanese seem much more like the Swiss than the Chinese in almost every imaginable way - except in Art.

One last though the comments remind me of the inane babbling of Lee Kwan Yew who tried to pretend that Singapore was a paragon of a Confucian state when in reality it was the last bastion of pure Victorianism on earth !

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