Confucian values and the rise of Asia February 8, 2015 An essay by Robert D. Kaplan in the Wall Street Journal.
“In Confucianism, the past isn’t something to disparage as primitive or retrograde; it constitutes the very record of human experience, and the present depends on it. ”
“Confucianism also strongly encourages tolerance and discourages insubordination, which, like egoism, it never equates with courage.”
Many of the things the writer finds fascinating about Confucianism are actually shared by all premodern modes of thought.
Well, tolerance in Confucianism is fine until it isn’t. Some things a gentleman should not stand to bear, by its teachings. That makes the particular things that cannot be borne by particular Asian governments and societies from time to time (Buddhism, Christianity, homosexuality, expressions of political dissent, etc) problematic for generalizing about its “tolerance.”
I don’t like to be too much of a naysayer, but this piece strikes me a bit like something regurgitated from the late 1980s when the “dragons” of Asian economy were thought to have succeeded because of Confucian work ethic, something that still hasn’t been established convincingly.