The Theology of Politics
For my part, I am cautiously pleased that the US government and Western media are placing so much current attention on China's one-party meritocratic system of government.
I am hoping that this constant artillery barrage will produce a beneficial but unintended consequence - that it will experience severe blowback, and ricochet attention upon Western democracy itself.
It is already happening that during these incessant attacks on China, the multitude of flaws in the Western multi-party political system are slowly being exposed. They may soon be laid so bare as to become indefensible.
The NYT ran a recent editorial that must have choked them in the writing, but that grudgingly admitted the Chinese very broadly support their system of government and that it appears to be working very well for them.
In a recent Article in The Economist, the writer, in deep shock, bemoaned the fact that "a disconcertingly high percentage of China's population appear very happy with their government", or words to that effect.
My hope is that these admissions will lead to a more critical and intelligent examination of the Western democratic system, which contains some rather inconvenient truths we avoid discussing because we don't like where they lead.
In a recent article in the NYT, Eric Li obliquely nailed down the real issue that gives so many Americans ants in their pants when discussing China's government, when he referred to "faith-based ideology".
American 'democracy' is not about government, but about politics rooted in an evangelical Christianity.
Eric wrote, "Many have characterized the competition . . . as a clash between democracy and authoritarianism. But this is false. The fundamental difference between Washington’s view and Beijing’s is whether political rights are God-given and therefore absolute or whether they should be seen as privileges . . ."
He wrote further, "The modern West sees democracy and human rights as the pinnacle of human development. It is a belief premised on an absolute faith."
David Brooks: "Americans have lost faith in the credibility of their political system, which is the one resource the entire regime is predicated upon. This loss of faith has contributed to a complex but dark national mood. The people are anxious, pessimistic, ashamed, helpless and defensive."
William John Cox: "U.S. voters appear to be increasingly powerless to fight the plutocracy which runs their government. As a result, Americans are living in an ever more repressive police state that is illegally committing acts of violent aggression around the world.
The only thing that can possibly transform the U.S. government to one that cares for the voters who elect it, rather than for the plutocracy that controls it, is a unified opposition by all of the People, irrespective of their social class or political beliefs."
Alexander Tytler: "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can exist only until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury." Democracy evolves into kleptocracy.
Eric Li: "History does not bode well for the American way. Indeed, faith-based ideological hubris may soon drive democracy over the cliff."
It is a worthy thought that the West may one day soon be forced to accept that China has the superior system of government - quick, efficient, responsive, and actually concerned with developing the nation and improving the lives of its citizens.
These claims surely cannot be made about the US today.
Westerners, but most primarily Americans, have unthinkingly and foolishly elevated their vaunted democracy to the theological status of a "universal value and human right".
Americans, in their ignorance and simple-mindedness, and functioning in their rather frightening evangelical mode, have conflated their Christianity-based American Exceptionalism, racism and bigotry, and their alarming propensity for war-mongering, with their form of politics, capitalism, and every 'freedom' and 'right' imaginable, into a single disturbing theology called "democracy".
And that may have been a mistake. As David Brooks pointed out, it is "the one resource the entire regime is predicated upon". This theology has been so over-saturated by propaganda and brainwashing that it is now at the core of what it means to be American.
In effect, Americans have transfigured a badly-corrupted form of party politics into a team-sport old-time-religion, basing the entire foundation of their national psyche on its presumed overwhelming legitimacy in the eyes of God and man.
But sadly, it is no such thing, as Americans are now learning, most especially those with no job, no home, and who are sleeping in tent cities and in their little cardboard boxes under the overpass. It is no wonder we have "a dark national mood".
In a one-party country like China, politics does not exist and government is just government - it's there, it's boring, it works.
And Western proselytising religions do not naturally exist. So not only is there no conflation of government, religion and psyche, there is no psychic threat to the Chinese in facing any practical shortcomings in their system.
In truth, the Chinese are far better grounded in reality than are Americans and most other Westerners, in large part because they have not been infected by either party politics or religion.
They have a good government, they have their Confucian moral and behavioral model, but none of those are so central to the core as to threaten their very existence.
Their lives are founded on rational practicality, not on ideology as with the Americans, which is why it is possible to rationally discuss these matters without the accompanying blindness and heated emotional responses that exist in the West.
Many Americans will tell you that the Chinese are today hopelessly brainwashed with a 'communist' ideology but that one day their 'democratic yearnings' will stir and 1.5 billion people will rise with one voice, demanding the 'freedom' to destroy their own nation with US-style religion-based politics.
Not bloody likely.
Most Western comment on this issue resolves from a blind worship of democracy - jingoism - with scant evidence that its proponents have ever seriously examined the reality of their own ideological beliefs.
All of the fuss, the accusations, the condemnations, the heated exchanges, on democracy, government and freedom, that emanate from the US - whether the government, the media or the people - have the same root.
And that root has nothing to do with government, but is instead a primitive and simple-minded theology, an all-encompassing ideology producing a kind of simian-Christian team sport that would be perfectly at home in a zoo.
Rather than exhibiting confidence in their all-inclusive political theology and awaiting the rewards of the hereafter, Americans are instead insecure, frightened by the challenge of an apparently superior foreign team, and blindly incapable of comprehending the heresy of China's rejection.
This wouldn't matter so much if the theology were not so vital to the national psyche and if Americans were not so individualistic and Right-Wing, so naturally aggressive and belligerent, and so eager to make use of the world's largest military.
At the mere mention of China's government, Americans quickly exhibit the full spectrum of Christian virtue: intolerant, unforgiving, critical, judgmental, bigoted and racist, and can do no other than attempt to either demonise or bring down any opposing system.
Americans can see that China's government is exceptionally competent and outstandingly successful, and one would think they might watch and learn and perhaps even adapt. But for them, this door is closed.
The theological superiority of their democratic religion is so firmly burned into the American psyche that this would be tantamount to admitting prior worship of a false God and would challenge, if not destroy, the very foundation of The American Dream.
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