Harmony in China
February 4, 2007
by William P. Meyers

I have been thinking about China a fair amount lately. Of course China is frequently in the news, most lately for showing it could blow a satellite out of orbit. In the history department I am re-reading the parts of Kenneth Scott Latourette's The Chinese, Their History and Culture that is relevant to my work in progress, The U.S. War Against Asia. Then I saw an article mentioning reporting in People's Daily Online. I thought the Chinese view of the news might be interesting, so I went there. I was impressed by the quality of the reporting and writing. I read an article on President Hu Jintao's speech in the Sudan. Him being a politician probably it was sweet lies, but what he said sure sounded better than the spoiled-teen-warrior rhetoric of George W. Bush. He respected the sovereignty of Sudan. He wanted to pursue peaceful solutions to achieving peace. And notably he used the word "harmony" quite a bit.

Another article I read online was some sort of report from a Communist Party of China meeting. It was extremely vague, but it also used the word "harmony" several times. As is building a harmonious socialist society. Then I read in The Economist (which I prefer to read in print rather than online) that the Chinese government has softened its stand on religion. The article is "When opium can be benign" on page 25 of the February 3rd edition. One subsection of the article is "In praise of harmony."

Harmony sounds good, but what does it mean coming out of the mouths of ruling class types, be they government officials or plutocrats? "In harmony with Nature" and "In harmony with Hitler" sound very different to me. China was the world's most advanced country in all the arts of civilization from ancient times until about 1700. Failing to change, it fell prey to the European powers, the United States of America, and even Japan during the 19th and 20th centuries. From the chaos a uniquely Chinese form of Communism emerged. Whatever else you may think of Mao Tse Tung and his comrades, they made China independent, without even becoming subservient to the Russian Communists. That was quite a feat. And despite my favoring of anarchism as a revolutionary philosophy, and environmentalism over industrialism, I think getting the Europeans out of China was a good thing for both the Chinese and the world at large.

There is a lot of collective wisdom in China. Has anyone besides me noticed that the Communists in China are doing a better job at growing their economy than the rulers of the U.S. are? I am looking forward to how they deal with the environment now that they are beginning to realize how important an issue it is. Hopefully they will show they same collective wisdom they showed in population control and economics.

It is hard to imagine how harmonious relations will be created between the U.S. and Islamic nations, or the U.S. and North Korea, or the U.S. and the Americas. Inside the U.S. there is a real, serious lack of harmony. Our Democratic Party and Republican Party are far more decrepit and undemocratic than the Chinese Communist Party is. Think about it. What needs to change in the US and the world. Technical fixes are nice, but we need something more deeply rooted than tech fixes. We need a new philosophy, one that allows human beings to live in harmony with each other and the natural world.

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