Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Confucius on Governance — Frank Li

If China can be viewed as a computer, then the First Emperor was the (first generation of the) hardware, and Confucius has been the major software since then.
In this post, I will talk about Confucius on governance, with profound implications for America today.... 
Confucianism is a form of traditionalism that subscribes to the Great Chain of Being model — heaven, ruler, head of household as first in a heirarchy based on virtue. This model underlies most ancient systems and forms a pillar of traditionalism.

This view is diametrically opposed to the liberal view that makes the individual supreme and views society as an aggregate rather than a collective (system).

Interestingly, this hierarchical model is still used as the chief mode of organization in the militaries of the world and also firms.

Thus, China appears to the West as a corporate state instead of the a liberal one. It can also be compared to highly organized Roman phalanxes fighting disorganized tribes.
Confucius on Governance
Frank Li | Chinese ex-pat, Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company, B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering

See also

The Vineyard of the Saker
Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep
Godfree Roberts


AXEC / E.K-H said...

Governance, then and now
Comment on Frank Li on ‘Confucius on Governance’

In ancient Greece, the idea that the position in the social hierarchy should correspond to virtue/arete was not much different from Confucianism. “According to Plato, a philosopher king is a ruler who possesses both a love of wisdom, as well as intelligence, reliability, and a willingness to live a simple life.” (Wikipedia)

Things have changed a bit in the meantime. The Great Chain of Being model has been replaced by the Godfather model where sociopathology is the organizing principle with the worst person on top. Love of wisdom, intelligence, reliability, and a willingness to live a simple life have been turned on their heads.

Hollywood has produced a lot of educational material on mob rule. Compared to the three parts of The Godfather, Confucius' teachings look a bit naive. With Mr. Trump, the Chinese now learn it the hard way.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

Peter Pan said...

Each Chinese billionaire sees themself as a link in the Great Chain of Being.

Marian Ruccius said...

Many will recall that the Chinese Communist Party and Government were actively discouraging / attacking the rise of Taoist thought about a decade ago, because of it being seen as too non-hierarchical and individualistic. There is a historiographic thing called the "invention of tradition", the weaponization of would-be traditional tropes to allow elites to exert social control, or certain groups to enhance their position.

Seeing Confucianism as bred in the bone does not hold, for anyone who has seen the actual idiosyncrasy and individualism in many Chinese cities.

Marian Ruccius said...

Try this on: so-called Confucianism as outright oppression:

Peter Pan said...

The exercising of power works in confucianist ways...

Marian Ruccius said...

Tom Hickey said...

"Each Chinese billionaire sees themself as a link in the Great Chain of Being."

Actually, so do the "Masters of the Universe" in the West, if in a somewhat different but analogous way in a liberal framework.

Lloyd Blankfein summed it as we are doing "God's work."

Peter Pan said...

Good guy syndrome. Relatively rare is the person who admits they are up to no good. Like Smedley Butler, after the deed.