Category Archives: Ecological Civilization

The West Really Hates China

It appears that the Western public, both relatively ‘educated’ and thoroughly ignorant, could, after some persuasion, agree on certain very basic facts – for instance that Russia has historically been a victim of countless European aggressions, or that countries like Venezuela, Cuba, Iran or North Korea (DPRK) have never in modern history crossed the borders of foreign nations in order to attack, plunder or to overthrow governments.

OK, certainly, it would take some ‘persuasion’, but at least in specific circles of the otherwise hopelessly indoctrinated Western society, certain limited dialogue is still occasionally possible.

China is different. There is no ‘mercy’ for China in the West. By many standards, the greatest and one of the oldest cultures on Earth, has been systematically smeared, insulted, ridiculed and arrogantly judged by the opinion-makers, propagandists, ‘academia’ and mainstream press with seats in London, New York, Paris and many other places which the West itself calls the centers of ‘erudition’ and ‘freedom of information’.

Anti-Chinese messages are sometimes overt, but mostly thinly veiled. They are almost always racist and based on ignorance. And the horrifying reality is: they work!

They work for many reasons. One of them is that while the North Asians in general, and the Chinese people in particular, have been learning with zeal all about the rest of the world, the West is thoroughly ignorant about almost everything Asian and Chinese.

I personally conducted a series of simple but revealing ‘experiments’ in China, Korea and Japan, as well as in several countries of the West: while almost every North Asian child can easily identify at least a few basic ‘icons’ of Western culture, including Shakespeare and Mozart, most of the European university professors with PhDs could not name one single Korean film director, Chinese classical music composer, or a Japanese poet.

Westerners know nothing about Asia! Not 50% of them, now even 90%, but most likely somewhere in the area of 99.9%.

And it goes without saying, that Korea is producing some of the best art films in the world, while China and Japan are renowned for their exquisite classical art, as well as modern masterpieces.

In the West, the same ignorance extends to Chinese philosophy, its political system and history. In both Europe and North America, there is absolute darkness, withering ignorance, regarding the Chinese vision of the world. In Paris or Berlin, China is being judged exclusively by Western logic, by Western ‘analysts’, with unsurpassable arrogance.

Racism is the only fundamental explanation, although there are many other, secondary reasons for this state of affairs.

Western racism, which used to humiliate, attack and ruin China for centuries, has gradually changed its tactics and strategies. From the openly and colorfully insulting and vulgar, it has steadily evolved into something much more ‘refined’ but consistently manipulative.

The spiteful nature of the Western lexicon of superiority has not disappeared.

In the past, the West used to depict Chinese people as dirty animals. Gradually, it began depicting the Chinese Revolution as animalistic, as well as the entire Chinese system, throwing into the battle against the PRC and the Communist Party of China, such concepts and slogans as “human rights”.

We are not talking about human rights that could and should be applicable and respected in all parts of the world (like the right to life) protection for all the people of the Planet. That’s because it is clear that the most blatant violators of such rights have been, for many centuries, the Western countries.

If all humans were to be respected as equal beings, all countries of the West would have to be tried and indicted, then occupied and harshly punished for countless genocides and holocausts committed in the past and present. The charges would be clear: barbarity, theft, torture as well as the slaughter of hundreds of millions of people in Africa, the Middle East, what is now called Latin America, and, of course, almost everywhere in Asia. Some of the most heinous crimes of the West were committed against China and its people.

The ‘human rights’ concept, which the West is constantly using against China is ‘targeted’. Most of the accusations and ‘facts’ have been taken out of the context of what has been occurring on the global scale (now and in the history). Exclusively, Eurocentric views and ‘analyses’ have been applied. Chinese philosophy and logic have been fully ignored; never taken seriously. No one in the West asks the Chinese people what they really want (only the so-called ‘dissidents’ are allowed to speak through the mass media to the Western public). Such an approach is not supposed to defend or to help anybody; instead it is degrading, designed to cause maximum damage to the most populous country on Earth, to its unique system, and increasingly, to its important global standing.

It is obvious that the Western academia and mass media are funded by hundreds of millions and billions of dollars to censor the mainstream Chinese voices, and to promote dark anticommunist and anti-PRC nihilism.

I know one Irish academic based in North Asia, who used to teach in China. He told me, with pride, that he used to provoke Chinese students: “Do you know that Mao was a pedophile?” And he ridiculed those who challenged him and found his discourses distasteful.

But such an approach is quite acceptable for the Western academia based in Asia. Reverse the tables and imagine a Chinese academic who comes to London to teach Chinese language and culture, beginning his classes by asking the students whether they know that Churchill used to have sex with animals? What would happen? Would he get fired right away or at the end of the day?

*****

The West has no shame, and it is time for the entire world to understand this simple fact.

In the past, I have often compared this situation to some medieval village, attacked and plundered by brigands (The West). Food stores were ransacked, houses burned, women raped and children forced into slavery, then subjected to thorough brainwashing.

Any resistance was crushed, brutally. People were told to spy on each other, to expose “terrorists” and “dangerous elements” in society, in order to protect the occupation regime.

Only two “economic systems” were allowed – feudalism and capitalism.

If the villagers elected a mayor who was ready to defend their interests, the brigands would murder him, unceremoniously. Murder or overthrow him, so there would always be a status quo.

But there had to be some notion of justice, right?

Once in a while, the council of the brigands would catch a thief who had stolen few cucumbers or tomatoes. And they would then brag that they protect the people and the village. While everything had already been burned to ashes by them

Given the history and present of China, given the horrid and genocidal nature of the Western past, ancient and modern, given the fact that China is by all definitions, the most peaceful large nation on Earth, how can anybody in the West even pronounce the words like ‘human rights’, let alone criticize China, Russia, Cuba or any other country that it put on its hit-list?

Of course, China, Russia or Cuba are not “perfect countries” (there are no perfect countries on Earth, and there never will be), but should a thief and mass murderer be allowed to judge anybody?

Obviously yes! It is happening, constantly.

The West is unapologetic. It is because it is ignorant, thoroughly uninformed about its own past and present deeds, or conditioned to be uninformed. It is also because the West is truly a fundamentalist society, unable to analyze and to compare. It cannot see anymore.

What is being offered by its politicians and replicated by the servile academia and mass media, is totally twisted.

Almost the entire world is in the same condition as the village that I just described.

But it is China (and also Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, and other nations) that is being portrayed as villains and tormentors of the people. Black becomes white. War is peace. Slavery is freedom. A mass rapist is a peacemaker and a cop.

*****

Once again: The West hates China. Let us be totally honest.

China has to understand it, and act accordingly. Sooner rather than later.

As we have already determined, the hatred towards China is irrational, illogical, purely racist; mainly based to the superiority complex of Western “thinkers”.

But also, it is based on the subconscious fear of the Westerners that Chinese culture and its socialist system (with all its ‘imperfections’) are greatly superior to the culture of terror and thuggery spread throughout our Planet by both Europeans and then North Americans.

Several years ago, I was interviewed by various Chinese media outlets, including the legendary People’s Daily, China Radio International and CCTV (now CGTN).

They all wanted to know why, despite all those great efforts of China to befriend the world, there is so much Sino phobia in Western countries. I had to face the same question, again and again: “What else could we do? We tried everything… What else?”

Because of its tremendous hereditary optimism, the Chinese nation could not grasp one simple but essential fact: the more China does for the world, the less aggressively it behaves, the more it will be hated and demonized in the West. It is precisely because China is, unlike the West, trying to improve the lives of the entire planet Earth, that it will never be left in peace, it will never be prized, admired or learned from in such places like London, Paris or New York.

I replied to those who were interviewing me:

“They hate you, therefore you are doing something right!”

My answer, perhaps, sounded too cynical to the Chinese people. However, I wasn’t trying to be cynical. I was just trying to answer, honestly, a question about the psyche of Western culture, which has already murdered hundreds of millions of human beings, worldwide. It was, after all, the greatest European psychologist of all time, Carl Gustav Jung, who diagnosed Western culture as “pathology”.

But Who Really Hates China and How Much?

But let’s get numbers: who hates China and how much? Mainly, the Westerners – Europeans and North Americans. And Japan, which actually murdered tens of millions of Chinese people, plus China’s main regional rival, Vietnam.

Only 13% of the Japanese see China favorably, according to a Pew Research Center Poll conducted in 2017. 83% of the Japanese, a country which is the main ally of the West in Asia, see China “unfavorably”. In Italy which is hysterically anti-Chinese and scandalously racist at that, the ratio is 31% favorably, 59% unfavorably. Shocking? Of course, it is. But Germany does not fare much better, with 34% – 53%. The United States – 44% – 47%. France 44% – 52%. Entire half of Spanish nation sees China unfavorably – 43% – 43%.

Now something really shocking: the “rest of the world”. The numbers are totally the opposite! South Africa: 45% see China favorably, 32% unfavorably. Argentina 41% – 26%. Even the Philippines which is being pushed constantly by the West into confrontation with China: 55% favorably – 40% unfavorably. Indonesia that perpetrated several anti-Chinese pogroms and even banned the Chinese language after the US-sponsored coup in 1965: 55% favorably – 36% unfavorably. Mexico 43% – 23%. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: 52% – 29%. Chile 51% – 28%.

Then it gets even more interesting: Lebanon: 63% – 33%. Kenya: 54% – 21%. Brazil 52% – 25%. Tunisia 63% – 22%. Russia: 70% – 24%. Tanzania 63% – 15%. Senegal 64% – 10%. And the most populous country in Sub Saharan Africa, Nigeria – 72% – 13%.

The 2017 BBC World Service poll, Views of China’s influence by country, gives even more shocking results:

At the two extremes, in Spain, only 15% see China’s influence as positive, while 68% see it as negative. In Nigeria, 83% as positive and only 9% as negative.

Now, think for a while what these numbers really say.

Who is really benefiting from China’s growing importance on the world scene? Of course – the wretched of the Earth; the majority of our Planet! Who are those who are trying to stop China from helping the colonized and oppressed people? The old and new colonialist powers!

China is predominantly hated by Western imperialist countries (and by their client states, like Japan and South Korea), while it is loved by the Africans), most Asians and Latin Americans, as well as Russians.

Tell an African what is being said to the Europeans – about the negative or even “neo-imperialist”, influence of China on the African continent – and he or she will die laughing.

Just before submitting this essay, I received a comment from Kenya, from my comrade Booker Ngesa Omole, National Organizing Secretary, SDP-Kenya (Socialist):

The relationship of China and Kenya particularly and Africa generally has not only led to tremendous development both in infrastructure but also a genuine cultural exchange among the Chinese and African people, it has also made African people understand the Chinese people firsthand, away from the daily half-truths and lies generated against China and the Chinese people and transmitted en masse globally through the lie factories like CNN. It’s has also shown that there is a different way to relate to the so called development partners and the international capital, the Chinese have developed a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country as opposed to USA and Western Countries through IMF and World Bank who have imposed destructive policies on the continent that has led to the suffering and death of many African people, like that infamous Structural Adjustment Plan, that was a killer plan, after its implementation Kenyans unemployment skyrocketed, our country also became bankrupt .

Another comparison is the speed at which the projects are done, in the past we had a gruesome bureaucratic expensive process, which could take several years before any work could start on the ground. This has changed with the coming in of Chinese capital, we see the projects are being effected just in time, we see very high quality work contrary to what the western media want to portray that everything from China and Russia are fake before arrival.

*****

The Chinese system (Communism or socialism with Chinese characteristics), is in its essence truly internationalist.

As Chairman Mao Tse Tung wrote in his “Patriotism and Internationalism”:

Can a Communist, who is an internationalist, at the same time be a patriot? We hold that he not only can be but also must be… The victory of China and defeat of the invading imperialists will help the people of other countries…

Chairman Mao wrote this during the China’s liberation struggle against Japanese invaders. However, not much has really changed since then.

China is definitely willing and capable of putting much of the world devastated by Western imperialism, back onto its feet. It is big enough to do it, it is strong enough, it is determined and full of optimism.

The West produces, directly manufactures, crises and confrontations, like the one that took place in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, or the one that never really managed to ‘take off’ (mainly due to the disgust of the majority of the local people with the selfish and pro-Western protesters) in Hong Kong, in 2014.

However, those Western implants and proxies are all that most Europeans and North Americans know about China (PRC): ‘Human Rights’, Falun Gong, Tibet, Dalai Lama, ‘Northwest of the Country’ (here, they don’t remember, or cannot pronounce the names, but they were told in the mainstream Western media that China is doing ‘something sinister’ there, so that’s what they are repeating), Tiananmen Square, Ai Wei-Wei and few other disconnected barks, ‘events’, and names.

This is how this colossus with thousands of years of history, culture and philosophy, is perceived, judged, and how it is (mis-) understood.

The entire situation would be laughable, if it were not so tragic, so thoroughly appalling and dangerous.

It is becoming clear who really hates China: it is not the “world”, and it is not those countries on all the continents that have been brutalized and enslaved by the Western imperialists. There, China is loved.

Those who hate China are the nations which are not ready to let go of their de facto colonies. The nations who are used to a good, too good and too easy life at the expense of others. To them, historically egalitarian and now for many decades socialist/Communist (with Chinese characteristics) China poses a truly great threat. Threat – not to their survival or peaceful existence, but threat to their looting and raping of the world.

China’s internationalist attitude towards the world, its egalitarianism and humanism, its emphasis on hard work and the tremendous optimism of its people, may soon, very soon, break the horrid inertia and the lethargy injected by Europe and the United States into the veins of all raped, plundered and humiliated nations.

China Has Already Suffered Enough!

In his ground-breaking book “China Is Communist, Damn It!” a prominent China expert, Jeff Brown (who is presently based in Shenzhen) writes about the dehumanizing treatment, which the Chinese people had been receiving from Westerners, for centuries:

…untold numbers in the 19th century… were pressganged and kidnapped, to be sent to the New World to work as coolie slaves.

The racism conducted on these Chinese coolies was instructive. On the ocean voyage from China to Vancouver, Canada, they were tightly packed and kept in dark, poorly ventilated holds for the three-week trip, so they would not have any contact with the Whites traveling aboveboard. No sunlight, no fresh air. The crew on the ships routinely talked about these Chinese allies in terms of “livestock” and they were handled and treated as such. Actually, they were treated worse than cattle, pigs, sheep and horses, as there are laws that require animals get so much open air and exercise per day, while in transit…

This kind of inhumane treatment of Chinese citizens is dispassionately captured in the diaries of a British officer, charged with overseeing them,

‘As children, we were taught that Cain and Coolies were murderers from the beginning; no Coolie was to be trusted; he was a yellow dog… The task of stowing away Coolies is a tiresome one. In orders, it is alluded to as “embarkation”. By those experienced in the job, it is known more as “packing”. The Coolies are not passengers capable of finding each his cabin. The Coolies are so much cargo, livestock, which has to be packed away. While experiences are ceaselessly pressing upon him, his attitude towards existence is the attitude of a domesticated animal.’

British 2nd Lieutenant Daryl Klein, from his memoir, “With the Chinks”, spoken like a true Western imperial racist. Of course, chinks is the worst slur word to be used against the Chinese. It’s the equivalent of yellow nigger. The term Coolie is not any better. It’s like calling someone from Latin America a wetback. At least Lt. Klein was honest in his total dehumanization of the Dreaded Other.

There are countless examples of discrimination against, and humiliation of, the Chinese people by the Western colonialists, on the territory of China. The Chinese were literally butchered and enslaved in their own territory, by the Westerners and the Japanese.

However, there were also despicable crimes committed against Chinese people on the territory of the United States, including lynching, and other types of killing.

Hard working, many Chinese men were brought as slave laborers to the United States and to Europe, where they were often treated worse than animals. For no other reason but for just being Chinese. No apologies or compensation were ever offered for such acts of barbarity; not even decades and centuries later. Until now, there is a silence surrounding the topic, although one has to wonder whether it is really simple ‘silence’ that grows from ignorance, or whether it is something much more sinister; perhaps defiance and conscious or subconscious refusal to condemn the fruits of Western culture, which are imperialism, racism and consequently – fascism.

Gwen Sharp, PhD, wrote on June 20, 2014 for Sociological Images in his essay ‘Old “Yellow-Peril” Anti-Chinese Propaganda’:

Chinese men were stereotyped as degenerate heroin addicts whose presence encouraged prostitution, gambling, and other immoral activities.  A number of cities on the West Coast experienced riots in which Whites attacked Asians and destroyed Chinese sections of town. Riots in Seattle in 1886 resulted in practically the entire Chinese population being rounded up and forcibly sent to San Francisco. Similar situations in other towns encouraged Chinese workers scattered throughout the West to relocate, leading to the growth of Chinatowns in a few larger cities on the West Coast.

Throughout history, China and its people have suffered at the hands of Westerners, both Europeans and North Americans alike.

According to several academic and other sources, including a publication “History And Headlines” (History: October 9, 1740: Chinezenmoord, The Batavia Massacre):

On October 9, 1740, Dutch colonial overlords on the Island of Java (now a main island in Indonesia) in the port city of Batavia (now Jakarta, capital of Indonesia) went on a mad killing spree of ethnic cleansing and murdered about 10,000 ethnic Chinese. The Dutch word, “Chinezenmoord,” literally means “Chinese Murder.

Anti-Chinese massacres were also repeatedly committed by the Spanish occupiers of the Philippines, and there were countless other cases of anti-Chinese ethnic cleansing and massacres committed by the European colonialist administrations, in various parts of the world.

The ransacking of Beijing’s Summer Palace by French and British forces was one of the most atrocious crimes committed by Westerners on the territory of China. An outraged French novelist, Victor Hugo, then wrote:

We call ourselves civilized and them barbarians. Here is what Civilization has done to Barbarity.

*****

The West cannot treat Chinese people this way, anymore, but if it could get away with it, it definitely still would.

The superiority complex in both Europe and North America is powerful and unapologetic. There is real great danger that if unchecked and unopposed, it may soon terminate all life on our Planet. The final holocaust would be accompanied by self-righteous speeches, unrestrained arrogance, gasping ignorance of the state of the world, and generally no regrets.

Chinese people cannot be beaten on the streets of Europe or North America, anymore; they cannot be, at least theoretically, insulted directly in the face just for being Chinese (although that is still happening).

But there are many different ways to hurt and deeply injure a human being or the country.

My close friend, a brilliant Chinese concert pianist, Yuan Sheng, once told me, right after he left a well-paid teaching position in New York, and moved permanently back to Beijing:

In the United States, I used to cry late into the night, almost every night… I felt so helpless. Things they were saying about my country… And it was impossible to convince them that they were totally wrong!

Several years later, at the “First World Cultural Forum” held in Beijing, an Egyptian-French fellow thinker Amin Said argued that we are all victims of capitalism. I strongly disagreed, and confronted him there, in Beijing, and later in Moscow where we spoke, again, side by side.

Western bigotry, brutality and imperialism are much older than capitalism. I believe that the things are precisely the opposite: Western violent culture is the core of the savage capitalism.

Recently, while addressing students and teachers at one of old alternative and officially progressive schools in Scandinavia, I finally understood the scope of the creeping anti-Chinese sentiments in Europe.

During my presentation about the global conflicts being fueled by the United States and Europe, the audience was silent and attentive. I spoke at a huge hall, addressing some 2 – 3 hundred people, most of them future educators.

There was some sort of standing ovation. Then questions. Then discussion over coffee. There, precisely then, things got very wrong.

A girl came and with an angelic smiled uttered: “Sorry, I know nothing about China…. But what about the Northwest of the country?”

The northwest of China is a few times bigger than Scandinavia. Could she be more specific? No, she couldn’t: “You know, the human rights… Minorities…”

An Italian girl approached me, saying she is studying philosophy. The same line of questions: “I don’t know much about China, but…” Then her questions got aggressive: “What do you mean when you talk about ‘China’s humanism?’”

She was not asking, she was attacking. I snapped at her: “You don’t want to listen, you simply want to hear yourself repeating what they brainwashed you with.”

One of the organizers of the conference hated my interaction with her spoiled, rude, self-centered and uneducated brats. I could not care less. I told her directly to her face.

“Then why did you accept the invitation to be a keynote speaker?” she asked. I answered, honestly: “To study the Europeans, anthropologically. To face your racism and ignorance.”

Next day, the same. I showed my shocking documentary film Rwanda Gambit about how the West created the totally false Rwanda narrative, and how it triggered real genocide, that in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

But all that the audience wanted to discuss was China!

One said: “I saw a Chinese government company building two sports stadiums in Zambia. Isn’t it strange?”

Really? Strange? The Chinese health system is mainly based on prevention and it is successful. Building stadiums is a crime?

Another one recalled that in West Africa, “China was planting cashew nuts.” That was supposed to match centuries of horrors of Western colonialism, the mass murder and slavery of hundreds of millions of Africans at the hands of the Brits, French, Germans, Belgians and others.

At the airport, leaving back for Asia, I wanted to throw up and simultaneously, to shout from joy. I was going home, leaving this brainwashed continent – this intellectual bordello behind.

The West was beyond salvation. It will not stop or repent.

It can only be stopped, and it has to be stopped.

*****

Jeff Brown in his book China Is Communist, Damn It! pointed out one essential difference between the Chinese and Western mindset:

China and the West could not be more different. Western civilization is founded on Greek philosophy, culture, politics and economy. Ancient Greece was composed of hundreds of relatively small, independent city-states, which on a daily basis, were comparatively isolated from each other. They were separated by water or mountain ranges, ensconced in bays and valleys. Each city-state’s population could usually be counted in the thousands, not millions. There were a number of different dialects, with varying degrees of mutual comprehension, from familiar to total misunderstanding. Contact with each other was based on commerce and trade, grounding Western economy in the precepts of capitalism. The notion of personal agency in the West is founded in this economic system, where farmers, landowners, merchants and craftsmen were able to work and make business decisions individually, between themselves. Each city-state had its own independent government and over the centuries, there were phases of monarchy, oligarchy, tyranny and democracy. Local wars were frequent, to settle disagreements. These battles happened steadily, as ancient Greece’s agricultural production was not abundant, due to poor soils and limited tillable land. When food became scarce with droughts, agricultural trade could be interrupted, due to shortages, thus stoking the need for war, to reclaim the lost purchases of food.

Ancient and modern China could not be more radically different. Life, the economy and development all revolved around a large central government, headed by the emperor. Instead of being based on trade and commerce, China’s economy has always been founded on agricultural production and the harvests were and still are largely sold to the state. Why? Because the government is expected to maintain the Heavenly Mandate, which means making sure that all of the citizens have enough to eat. Therefore, farmers always knew that the grain they grew could very easily end up in another part of China, because of distant droughts. This whole idea of central planning extended to flood control. Communities in one area of China would be tasked to build dams or canals, not to help reduce flood risk for themselves, but for other citizens far away, downstream, all for the collective good.

The idea of independent city-states is anathema in China, as it always signaled a breakdown in the central power’s cohesion and governance, from border to border, leading to warlordism, strife and hunger.

Chinese socialist (or call it Communist) system has clearly roots in China’s ancient history.

It is based on sharing and cooperation, on solidarity and harmony.

It is a much more suitable system for humanity, than what the West spread by force to all corners of the world.

When the West succeeds in something, it feels that it has “won”. It drives the banner pole into the earth, gets some fermented drink to celebrate, and feels superior, unique.

China thinks differently: “if our neighbors are doing well and are at peace, then China will prosper too, and will enjoy peace. We can trade, we can visit each other, exchange ideas.”

In the ancient days Chinese ships used to visit Africa, what is now Somalia and Kenya. The ships were huge. In those days, Europe had nothing so enormous at its disposal. Chinese ships were armed against the pirates, but they mainly travelled with scribes, scholars, doctors and researchers.

When they reached the African shore, they made contacts with the locals. They studied each other, exchanged gifts (some Chinese pottery and ceramics are still being found near the island of Lamu).

There was not much common ground between those two cultures, at that time. The Chinese scribes recorded: “This is not yet right time for permanent contact”. They left gifts on the shore, and sailed home. Nobody died. Nobody was “converted”. No one was raped. African land still belonged to Africans. African people were free to do what they chose.

A century or two later, the Westerners arrived…

*****

I know China, but even better, I know the world in which China operates.

The more I see, the more I am impressed – I actually want China to be everywhere, and as soon as possible!

I have worked in all the tiny and large nations of Oceania (Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia), except in Niue and Nauru. There, the West divided this gorgeous and once proud part of the world, created bizarre borders, literally forced people to eat shit (dumping animal food in local stores), burdened them with foreign loans and introduced a culture of dependency and destruction (nuclear experiments, and military bases). Due to global warming, RMI, Kiribati and Tuwalu began “sinking” (in reality, the water is rising).

China came, with real internationalist determination. It began doing everything right – planting mangroves, building sport facilities for people in countries where over half of the population has to often live with diabetes. It constructed government buildings, hospitals, schools. The response of the West? They encouraged Taiwan to come, bribe the local governments and to make them recognize Taipei as the capital of an independent country, forcing China to break diplomatic relationships.

In Africa, I saw Chinese people building roads, railroads, even city trams, schools, hospitals, fighting malaria. This continent was only plundered by the West. Europeans and North Americans built nothing there. China did, and still does, miracles. Out of solidarity, out of internationalist principles so clearly defined decades ago by Chairman Mao.

And I don’t really care what the Western propagandists and ideologues think about the Chinese Communist Party, about Mao and about President Xi Jinping. I see results! I see China, huge, compassionate and confident, rising, and with its close allies like Russia, ready to defend the world.

China saved Cuba. The Western “left-wing” intellectuals said nothing about it. I did. I was attacked. Then, Fidel personally confirmed that I was correct.

China helped Venezuela and it helped Syria. Not for profit, but because it was its internationalist duty.

Saw China in action in East Timor, (Timor Leste), a tiny poor country that the West sacrificed, delivering it on a silver platter to the murderous Indonesian dictator Suharto and his military cronies. 30% of the people were brutally massacred. After independence, Australia began robbing the weak new government of the natural gas in a disputed area. China came in, built the energy sector and an excellent modern hospital (public), staffed with top Chinese surgeons (while Cuba sent field doctors).

Afghanistan? After 16 years of monstrous NATO occupation, this once proud and progressive (before the West manufactured terrorist movements there, to fight socialism) country is one of the poorest on Earth. The West built walls, barbed wire fences, military bases and total misery. China? China built a huge modern hospital wing, actually the only decent and functioning public medical facility in the country.

These are just some of many examples that I have been witnessing during my work, all over the world.

When I lived in Africa (I was based in Nairobi for several years), across the floor was a flat housing four Chinese engineers.

While the Westerners in Africa are almost always secretive, snobbish and arrogant, this group of Chinese builders was loud, enthusiastic and always in a great mood. They power-walked downstairs, in the garden, they ate, joked together. They looked like a good old “socialist realism” poster. They were clearly on a mission. They were building, trying to save the continent. And it was so clear how confident they were.

They were building, and I was making documentary films about what the West did to Africa, including my above-mentioned Rwanda Gambit.

It was clear where I stood. It was clear where the Chinese engineers stood. We stood with the people of Africa. Firmly. No matter what the Western propaganda, academia and mass media keep inventing, that is where we stood, and that is where we are standing right now, although geographically far apart. Once comrades, always comrades. And if we fall, that is how we fall – with no regrets, building a much better world.

And the people of Africa, of Oceania, Latin America and increasingly of Asia, are beginning to realize, to understand.

They are learning what The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is. They are learning about “Ecological Civilization“. They are slowly learning that not everyone is the same; that each country has a different culture and goals. They are learning that not everything in life is a lie or for profit. Yes, of course, resources are not unlimited and expenses have to be sometimes covered, but there is much more to life than just cold calculations.

The West and its client states cannot understand this. Or they can, but do not want to. As a moral entity, they are finished. They can only fight for their own interests, as their workers in Paris are only fighting for their own benefits; definitely not for the world.

The West tries to smear everything that is pure and it repeats that “everyone in this world is essentially the same” (a thief).

Their (mainly Western, but also South Korean, Taiwanese, Hong Kong and Japanese) academia is deeply involved. It has already infiltrated the entire world, particularly Asia, including China itself. It teaches young Chinese people that their country is actually not what they think it is! At some point, Chinese students were travelling to the West, in order to study… about China!

North American and European universities are spreading funding and trying to manipulate the best Chinese minds.

In other parts of Asia, again through funding and scholarships, the local academics “get matched” with the anti-Communist and pro-Western counterparts that operate at the universities inside the PRC.

This problem has been, fortunately, identified in the PRC, and the shameless attacks against the Chinese education system are being dealt with.

Mass media and bookstores are not far behind. Anti-Chinese propaganda is everywhere. Anti-Communist propaganda is everywhere.

Yet, China is rising. It is rising despite racism, the lies, and fake news.

Socialist, internationalist China is slowly but confidently marching forward, without confronting anyone, without making too much noise about the unfair, aggressive treatment it receives in the West and from countries like Japan.

It appears that its leadership has nerves of steel. Or perhaps those long thousands of years of great culture are simply allowed to speak for themselves.

When a great Dragon flies, you can bark, shout insults, even shoot at it. It is too big, too ancient, too wise and determined: it will not stop, turn back or fall from the sky. And when the people on Earth have enough time to observe it in its full glory and in full flight, they may, just finally may understand that the creature is not only mighty, but also tremendously beautiful and kind.

*****

• Originally published by New Eastern Outlook (NEO)

Ecological Civilization: Xi vs. Trump

Imagine a society that is exactly opposite Trump’s vision for America. Just feast your mindset on that for a few moments and guaranteed, you’ll smile! And, maybe even chuckle in delight, as a tingling sensation enlivens your body. And, maybe, since there’s no way to contain that beautiful feeling of gleefulness, run to the window, and yell at the top of your lungs, MAKE AMERICA TRUMPLESS AGAIN!

Neighbors come running and gather below your opened window and bow down to the ground in homage and thankfulness, feeling great relief after so many brutal months of angst and fingernail biting and waking up in the middle of the night screaming. They’ll ask you to run for governor or senator or any office and on it goes, as you are labeled the great savior of all time… the Noble Peace Prize yours for the taking…. All of Europe breathes a collective sigh of relief. The planet realigns itself and spins better, even a bit faster. Special little meteors shoot thru the night sky in celebration, dancing and changing color in midair, a beautiful spectacle of fun and delight, such as never seen before. The universe collectively celebrates!

Honestly, really, think about it, after all, a person only goes around once, so might as well shoot for the farthest fences, go for the roses. With that upbeat preamble, here’s some double-good news: Xi Jinping’s recent address to the National Congress of the Communist Party in Beijing included the following language.1:

President Xi called for “Ecological Civilization… harmony between human and nature… we, as human beings, must respect nature, follow its ways, and protect it… encourage simple, moderate, green, and low-carbon ways of life and oppose extravagance and excessive consumption.” (Ed. – Whoa! That kind of language could get you shot in America.)

Xi outlined plans to “step up efforts to establish a legal and policy framework… facilitates green, low-carbon, and circular development and promote afforestation, strengthen wetland conservation and restoration and take tough steps and punish all activities that damage the environment.” All perfect headliners for ecology magazine.

Xi talked about transcending parochial boundaries with a mission to “make new and greater contributions to mankind… for both the well-being of the Chinese people and human progress.” Wow! Maybe communism is a pretty good idea after all.

Which brings to surface a provocative question: How is it possible that Xi spent an evening at dinner with Trump? What could they have possibly talked about? Mindsets so far apart you could drive an 18-wheeler between’ em and not scratch anything. Maybe Xi likes golf. But, wait a moment, in January Xi closed 111 Chinese golf courses because of misuse of arable land and need to conserve water.

Furthermore, according to recent scuttlebutt, Xi has been campaigning against decadence. Ergo, imagine the eerie silence at the State Dinner at Mar-a-Lago, a pin drop echoed.

Seriously, Xi also commenced an anti-graft campaign some years ago, prompting immediate removal of his name from Trump’s Rolodex.

Xi’s anti-corruption campaign over the past few years takes aim at crooks; e.g., the death penalty for the ‘godfather of Chinese coal mining’ for taking $160M in bribes. Trump would’ve put him in charge of the EPA. Xi’s list of crooks ran all the way up to Sun Zhengcai, a high flyer in social circles destined to replace Xi, sentenced to life in prison for bribery. By all appearances, Xi imprisons personality-types that dwell in Trump’s Rolodex.

Of course, it’s very easy to dismiss Xi’s embrace of moderation, providence, and clean green living as political rhetoric, but rhetoric does not exist in a vacuum. As stated by Jeremy Lent: “Just as Trump’s xenophobic vision spells potential danger for the world, so could it be that Xi’s ecological vision could offer a glimpse to a hopeful future?”

Words have meaning, especially when spoken by international leaders, and words lead to action towards conclusion, or real happenings, real tangible stuff, like coal plants or solar panels, like stricter auto emission standards or easing standards, like no drilling in public parks or wide open drilling in public parks, like opening the Arctic or closing the Arctic to Shell, like separating children from immigrant parents or allowing them to stay after years together in America, like setting a positive All-American upright moral tone for the country or a tone of anger, hatred, acrimony, alienation, contempt, disgust, prejudice, grudge, animus, revenge, hostility, and revulsion… antagonism, malice, ill will, antipathy, and bold-faced gall.

Also, within that mix of devious behavioral craziness, a vast assortment of cowardly, mean-spirited changes to policies that formerly protected the environment and formerly protected citizens, all of this eventually crawls under the skin, eventually pushed to the limit, as follows: Still, waking up in the middle of the night screaming, staring at the ceiling with rapid eye-blinking in a state of confusion, wondering what’s so bothersome to cause unprovoked screaming in the middle of the night.

Then, sitting upright, realizing the screaming in the middle of the night doesn’t seem natural; plus the neighbors don’t like it.

  1. Jeremy Lent, “What Does China’s ‘Ecological Civilization’ Mean for Humanity’s Future?” EcoWatch, February 9, 2018.

China’s Determined March Towards the Ecological Civilization

There is no time for long introductions. The world is possibly heading for yet another catastrophe. This one, if we human beings will not manage to prevent it, could become our final.

Communist Victory in Beijing, China

The West is flexing its muscle, antagonizing every single country that stands on its way to total domination of the Planet. Some countries, including Syria, are attacked directly and mercilessly. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people are dying.

Political and potentially military disaster is simultaneously ‘complemented’ by the ecological ruin. Mainly Western multi-national companies have been plundering the world, putting profit over people, even over the very survival of the human species.

‘Political correctness’ is diluting the sense of urgency, and there is plenty of hypocrisy at work:  while, at least in the West and Japan, people are encouraged to recycle, to turn off the lights in empty rooms and not to waste water, in other parts of our Planet, entire islands, nations and continents are being logged out by the Western corporations, or destroyed by unbridled mining. The governments of the West’s ‘client states’ are getting hopelessly corrupt in the process.

Western politicians see absolutely no urgency in all that is taking place around the world, or more precisely – they are paid not to see it.

So, are we now dealing with the thoroughly hopeless scenario? Did the world go mad? Is it ready to get sacrificed for the profit of the very few? Are people simply going to stand passively, watching what is happening around them, and die, as their world goes literally up in flames?

It appeared so, until few months ago.

Then, one of the oldest cultures of Earth, China, stood up and said “No! There are different ways to go forward. We could all benefit from the progress, without cannibalizing, and fully destroying our Planet.”

China, led by President Xi, accelerated implementation of the concept of so-called Ecological Civilization, eventually engraving it into the constitution of the country.

Andre Vltchek and John R. Cobb Jr.

A man who did tremendous work in China, working tirelessly on the Ecological Civilization concept in both China and in the United States, John Cobb Jr., has been, for years, a friend and close comrade of mine.

A 93-year-old Whiteheadian philosopher, one of the most acknowledged Christian progressive topologists, and self-proclaimed ‘supporter of Revolution’, John Cobb is a brave ‘alternative’ and optimistic voice coming from the United States.

We first met on a bus from Pyongyang to DMZ, in DPRK, several years ago, and became close friends, presently working on a book and a film together.

In this difficult, extremely dangerous, but also somehow hopeful time for our planet, it is clear that John Cobb’s voice should be heard by many.

*****

China’s Growing Commitment to ECO-CIV

I recalled our meeting in Claremont, when John expressed worries that China and its leadership could go ‘either way’, in regard to the “Ecological civilization”, possibly even against it. Inside China and her leadership, there were apparently voices defending ‘pure economic growth’ approach. Now the Chinese Parliament has written the goal of ecological civilization into the national constitution.

Wuxi – medieval ecological village.

I wanted to know what does it mean, practically? Is there a reason to celebrate?

John replied via email:

“Something like fifteen years ago, the Chinese Communist Party wrote the goal of an ecological civilization into its constitution.  Although the formulation is remarkable, the motivation is not hard to understand.  The Party was responding to the distress of hundreds of millions of Chinese who longed for clean air and blue skies.  To maintain the popularity of the party, it had to assure the people that it shared their concerns.  Everyone agreed that lessening pollution was a good thing.

Nevertheless, the phrase meant more than just trying to minimize the ecological damage done by rapid economic growth.  It expressed an understanding that the natural world was constituted of ecologies rather than just a collection of individual things.  And it clearly indicated the desirability of human activity fitting into this natural world rather than replacing it.

Many who supported this goal, however, did not suppose that announcing it committed China to major changes in the present.  Many have argued that China’s first task was to modernize, meaning especially industrialize, and become a wealthy nation.  Then it would have the luxury of attending to the natural environment.  Few, if any, thought it meant that China would turn away from the goal of economic growth to pursue something different.

However, Chinese leaders did recognize that simply postponing the work for clear skies and a healthy environment would not work.  The nation needed to work on economic growth and a healthy natural environment simultaneously.  It began evaluating the success of provincial governments by their achievements in these two distinct realms.  Growth goals were set below what would be possible, so that it could be channeled in less environmentally harmful directions.  Experiments with ecovillages received encouragement.

The talk of moving toward an ecological civilization also encouraged reflection about “civilization” alongside “market.”  That supported those Chinese who were concerned that the narrow concern for wealth at all costs was not healthy for human society.  Marxism had always emphasized economic matters, but it was concerned to move society away from competition toward cooperation.  It was always concerned with the distribution of goods, so that the poor would be benefited, and workers would be empowered.  The idea of recovering traditional Chinese civilizational values gained in acceptance.

The extent to which the health of the natural environment and cultural goals gained status as policy goals bothered some party members.  For them China’s wealth and power were crucial.  An observer could not be sure that the extent to which the goal of ecological civilization was broadening the aims of government would continue.  Leadership is subject to change every five years.

However, the changes at the recent Party congress tended to strengthen commitment to ecological civilization.  President Xi, who has been central to the moves toward ecological civilization, was given another five years.  He and others reiterated the goal and affirmed steps in its direction.  Now it seems likely that in the next five years he will not be a “lame-duck” president since the limitation to two terms has been removed.

To reinforce the Chinese commitment, the Parliament has written the goal of ecological civilization into the national constitution.  Since the national government is regularly guided by the Party, this may not seem to make much practical difference.  But the way it occurred does make clear that the nation, on the whole, is not resentful.  The Chinese people do not feel that the Party’s commitment is oppressive or foolish.  We can have considerable confidence that China as a nation in genuinely committed and that the people share a hope for becoming an ecological civilization.  Predicting the future is never safe, but as these matters go, we can have confidence that China is committed.  Given the likelihood that it will supersede the United States as the global leader, this can give us grounds for hope.”

Lotus lake and Chinese girl – ecological paradise

John Cobbs’ Role in China

John Cobb is a well-known figure in the PRC. His thoughts are having great impact on an influential group of Chinese leaders. But how would he, personally, summarize his involvement in the “Ecological Civilization” project? What impact did he have, personally, on what is happening in China, in this particular field?

“Through most of my life, the last thing I anticipated was to have a role in China.  As a Protestant theologian, any hope for influence went in quite different directions.  Although my theology is deeply shaped by the prophetic tradition of ancient Judaism, and I understand Marx also to have been deeply informed by that tradition, I did not expect Chinese Communists to recognize that kinship. Yet in the end, I consider that, through a remarkable sequence of chances, my role in China has been the most important part of my life.  I will first describe my trajectory, then the trajectory of China, and then the wholly “improbable” intersection.

In my studies at the University of Chicago in the late nineteen forties, made possible by the GI bill, I was introduced to Alfred North Whitehead.  Over the years, I was more and more impressed by the way his “philosophy of organism” answered my questions and provided me the holistic vision that I craved, one quite contrary to the mechanist and materialist thinking that dominated American education and culture.

In the late sixties, I was awakened to the fact that the dominant modern culture was leading the world to self-destruction, and my attachment to Whitehead, as one who offered a far more promising alternative, was confirmed and deepened.  Meanwhile interest in any alternative to mechanism was fading in American universities.  Together with David Griffin, I seized an opportunity in 1973 to create a center to keep Whitehead’s thought alive and display its relevance to the crises of our time.  This Center for Process Studies has sponsored conferences and lectures and publications displaying how Whitehead’s organic and processive thought provides a more promising pattern of thinking in many fields.  Ecological concerns played a large role throughout.  Although many individual scientists and professionals worked with us, the universities tightened their commitment to the modern vision we were trying to get beyond.  We sometimes called ourselves postmodernists, but when that term was given wide currency by French intellectual deconstruction of modernity, David Griffin began calling us “constructive postmodernists.”

By the opening of the twentieth century, thoughtful Chinese saw that the Western colonial powers together with Japan were nibbling away at China and that classical Chinese culture was unable to compete with the West in science, technology, and military power. To maintain Chinese independence, China must modernize. It adopted the dominant Western form of modernity, bourgeois capitalism.  The suffering of the poor led many to seek a better form of modernity in Marxism, and during and after World War II the Marxists replaced bourgeois democracy with rule by the Communist Party.

Ancient Xidi Village in China

Mao Tse Tung made a serious effort to end China’s class society in what is called then “Cultural Revolution.” This evoked so intense an opposition from the urban middle class, that it was a painful failure, never repeated.  When the Communist Party repudiated this Marxist goal, what was left was rule by the party and commitment to rapid modernization as the road to national wealth.

Chinese intellectuals were not comfortable with this total commitment to the modern in view of the deconstruction of the modern by French intellectuals.  Some of them followed the French in calling themselves postmodernists, but the French postmodernists gave little guidance in relation to China’s biggest problem with modernization — the pollution and degradation of the environment.  When they discovered that there was another form of “postmodernism” that made positive proposals for change and gave a great deal of attention to the natural world, many of them were interested.  One Chinese postmodernist, Zhihe Wang, came to Claremont to complete his studies, and it was his leadership that led to the intersection of developments in China with my life. He decided that he could be most effective living in the United States and frequently visiting China. His wife, Meijun Fan left a prestigious professorship in Beijing to work with him.  As a result of their effective introduction of “process thought” to China, thirty-five universities established centers focusing on the relevance of Whitehead’s thought to a wide range of topics, such as education, psychology, science and values, the legal system, and so forth.

Meanwhile, partly, I assume, to assuage the distress of many urbanites with the pollution of the air, the Communist Party wrote into its constitution the goal of becoming an “ecological civilization.”  Because of the reputation of the Chinese leadership in Claremont, they were encouraged to hold conferences on this topic here, primarily for Chinese scholars.  These gave me and other American constructive postmodernists an opportunity to participate in shaping the meaning of the initially rich and suggestive, but rather vague, term. This has probably been our major contribution.

There has been one very important shift in Chinese policy due to the commitment to “ecological civilization.”  As part of its goal of modernization, China planned to industrialize agriculture.  At many of the conferences here and at others in China, we argued that China could not build an ecological civilization on an industrial agriculture.  The Communist Party was persuaded to shift its policies from the continuing depopulation of rural China to the development of the thousands of villages that were slated for destruction.  Policies have changed, and in 2016 for the first time, more people moved from cities to countryside than from countryside to cities.  Development of villages has been emphasized along with the goal of ecological civilization in last fall’s crucial meetings of the Communist Party.  And the Chinese parliament has written the goal of ecological civilization into the national constitution.  It seems highly probable that this important shift in Chinese society will endure.

Obviously, the shift was primarily due to the work of many Chinese.  However, harsh criticism by Americans of the consequences of industrializing agriculture in the United States played a role.  Again, my voice was only one of many.  Partly, no doubt, because of my age, I am given far more credit than I deserve.  But I am very proud of whatever contribution I made to this shift that affects hundreds of millions of Chinese and gives some concrete meaning to “ecological civilization”.

Centralized Power

In many ways, China became the leader, when it comes to ecology, as well as combining traditional culture with modernity. It is determined to build the entire civilization around its ecological and cultural concerns. It appears that in the future, the ‘markets’ and financial considerations may play important but secondary role. Is it mainly possible because of the centralized/Communist nature of the Chinese political and economic system (including the central planning)?

“I have neither study nor experience qualifying me to address this question.  But I still have opinions; so, I’ll share them.

Clearly in China it has been the leadership of the central government that has set the course, done the planning, and implemented what it planned.  For those of us who believe the world needs urgently to move toward ecological civilization, this has worked well.  Prior to the meetings last fall, I remained unsure about whether everything depended on a particular leader who might be replaced.  That he emerged from the fall events with increased power was reassuring, especially because he strongly expressed determination to implement steps toward achieving the civilization China and the world needs.

There was still the possibility that representatives of other factions in the Communist Party, who sought to replace Xi, might treat him as a “lame duck.”  Now that the impossibility of a third term has been removed, that danger also is gone.  An extended period of leadership can probably make some policies so identified with the nation that they will continue even if a successor is not personally committed to the goal of ecological civilization.

All of this is to say that centralized power is currently working in a remarkably promising way not paralleled by other countries with less centralized political power.

Some European countries achieved a considerable move toward ecological civilization earlier than China.  That they are not currently leading may be because they are already farther along on the needed trajectory.  They have made significant desirable policy changes without centralized power.  In these countries, the public as whole is well informed and capable of making wise decisions.  Governments are sufficiently democratic that they express the public desires.  In some cases, commitment to sustainable practices and meeting the basic needs of all citizens has become the “common sense” of the people sufficiently that it is likely not to be radically abandoned by changing officials. It was impressive that, when Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Accords, there was very little interest in withdrawal in Europe, even though the reasons for withdrawal applied equally there.  Apparently, the corporate world in Europe has adjusted to new needs and expectations as it has not in the United States.

Even so, I have more confidence in endurance in China with its centralized control than in European countries more directly subject to popular opinion.  Thus far European countries have been fairly prosperous.  Pollution control has not led to unemployment or economic immiseration.  Thus, the level of commitment to ecological needs has not been seriously tested.

In contrast, the need to accept large numbers of refugees has been sufficient to weaken consensus on a range of issues.  It is not hard to imagine that corporations that have thus far been cooperative with good policies might take advantage of dissident public opinion to seek the kinds of changes that the United States is currently experiencing.  These corporations often control the media and thus can shape public opinion to support their ends.

As I compare China’s success in giving serious attention to the well-being of its natural environment and needy citizens with that of European countries, my reason for betting on China is that I have some confidence that it will maintain governmental control of finance and of corporations generally.  If it does this, it can also control the media.  Thus, it has a chance of making financial and industrial corporations serve the national good as perceived by people not in their service.  Less centralized governments are less able to control the financial and other corporations whose short-term interests may conflict with the common good.

Of course, the concentration of power in countries like China does not guarantee the continuation of governmental service of the common good.  There is an old adage in the West: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  I think the Communist Party in China works hard to socialize its members to resist corruption.  I think it has been largely successful.

My hero, Jesus, asserted that no one can serve God and money.  If we understand that God’s desire is for the common good, we can translate, no one can serve both money and the common good.  I think that at the present time, the Chinese Communist Party is more successful in cultivating a commitment to the common good than are the churches in the West.  That may be more important than the question of how centralized the power may be.

Commitment to the Common Good          

I wrote to John that during our recent encounter, he stated that one of the reasons why China succeeded in so many fields is because it can count on many people in its leadership, who are truly concerned about the well-being of their country. This fully coincided with my own experience that I gained in the PRC. But how does John see the West? How different is it in the West? Is the Western leadership constructed on thoroughly different principles? He replied immediately:

“Near the end of my answer to the previous topic I made the statement that I believed the Chinese Communist Party was more successful in eliciting concern for the wellbeing of China and all its people than the Western churches were in eliciting commitment to the common good.  For many Christians, this is surprising.  Christians have tended to think that we need belief in God to ground our ethical commitments.

No one supposes that a theistic ethic is the only way that people can be socialized with respect to action.  Earthly rulers have often considered their will as the grounds of law and ethics.  The deepest commitment should be to the ruler and hence to advance the ruler’s wishes.  But from the Christian point of view, true ethics must transcend obedience to political power.  Might does not make right.

How to live can also be determined by tribal or national culture.  This often overlaps with obeying the ruler, but it can even conflict with that.  The interpreters of the culture may be identified as priests or as sages.

Philosophers have sometimes attempted to ground ethics in a purely rational way.  Kant developed a “categorical imperative.”  Whether that is truly free from particular cultural shaping is questionable, but many still think so.  Certainly, it may be supported in more than one culture.

For theists, none of these forms of ethics really work.  For some of them the alternative is belief that the Creator is also the giver of law, and rewards those who obey in a life after death if not here and now, and punishes those who disobey.

Other theists reject this legalism and emphasize that we owe our being and all that is good in our lives to the Creative and Redeeming God.  This God loves all people and seeks the good of all.  Our grateful response is to serve those whom God loves, namely, at least, all human beings, and especially those whose needs are greatest.

For many theists, right and wrong are so bound up with God that when they hear that Marx was an atheist, they assume he had no ethics.  So, for me to say that Marx’s followers do a better job of evoking commitment to the common good than do Western theists strikes some as implausible.  They think that if there is no God to serve, one will serve something less than God, and therefore less than the “common” good.  Many theists assume that if one does not serve God one is likely to look out only for one’s own good.  This assumption is foundational to the academic discipline of economics.

In fact, however, Marx derived from Hegel a sense of a movement in history that should be served.  It is a movement that works for a classless society in which the needs of all are met.  To work for that society is certainly a way of serving the common good.  I believe this sense of participating in a process that works for good is more convincing to many people than serving what has been more conventionally called “God”.  The percentage of Western people who take seriously belief in a God who calls us to serve the common good is probably less that the percentage of Chinese who understand themselves to work with the dialectic of history to overcome the class society that leaves so many abused and oppressed.

Neither Christianity nor Marxism has a history of great moral achievement.  Both need to be honest about their failures. I will comment on Western Christianity in the modern world.  Two Western developments have greatly weakened it.  One is the development of science on the basis of a metaphysics that systematically excludes any possible role for God.  The other is the development of capitalism which assumes and celebrates individual self-interest as the one all-controlling motivation.  Even faithful churchgoers are likely to be influenced by both of these developments.  Among the actual determinants of behavior, theism now plays a small role.

Among Americans, the “American exceptionalism” into which the school system socializes youth plays a larger role.  It can lead to heroic acts thought to be in the service of the nation, and even to great passion for the preservation or restoration of the natural beauty with which the nation is endowed.  But its primary function is to persuade Americans to accept much profoundly evil activity on the part of their country by assuring them that in the long run this will enable others to share in the great benefits of Americanism.

I am attributing to the American educational system the inculcation of American exceptionalism.  However, it officially eschews even this value.  Its goal is to be “value-free,” which means in practice, in the service of money.  The whole culture celebrates the value of being rich.  Economic theory is the national ideology.  That Americans are becoming increasingly nihilistic is the natural result of a nihilistic system of schooling.

Sadly, China is going all too far in copying this nihilistic schooling.  My view is that the commitment of the government to Marxism has not been allowed to shape the academic curriculum, but that it does provide some important values to supplement the curriculum.  And, alongside the general culture, in the Communist Party, a substantial number of people are socialized in Marxist thought and values. It is because Marx has more influence in China than Jesus has in the West, that the chances of China to lead the world toward salvation are better than the chances of the West to do so.

•  First published in New Eastern Outlook (NEO)