We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

It seems that the “cultural revolution” imposed by Chairman Mao so starved the Chinese of culture that they value great cultural classics rather highly.

Alex Singleton

3 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • chuck

    I visited China in 1989, a time now lost in prehistory, and had the same impression. It was an interesting contrast: Japan, that had modernized while keeping much of its culture and artifacts intact, and China, where the temples and pagodas had been despoiled and the culture systematically attacked. I sensed a certain regret among the Chinese that they had lost so much.

  • mike

    Did the cultural revolution ever really stop? Can you walk into a bookshop in Shanghai and buy ‘The Open Society And Its’ Enemies’, for example?

  • Paul Marks

    There is still political censorship in China Mike. But it is possible to get the classics of Chinese literature – it was these (just as much as overseas “capitalist” writings) that were attacked by the Cultural Revolution people.

    It is true that destruction of Chinese cultural heritage continues – for example for the great “Games” next year. But it is good to hear that many Chinese resent this and value their ancient culture (both in literature and in architecture.

    As is often said, in many ways China is no longer Marxist at all. Although the regime still bases its right to rule on Marxism.

    Far more than Soviet Russia in the New Economic Policy days of the 1920’s, China allows private enterprise.

    Ture the state has a big say in things – but then (via the endless taxes, spending and regulations – and via the arbitary court rulings) it does in Western nations as well.

    Also China seems to “get things done”.

    Mussolini used to claim (so it said) that he got the trains to run on time. But in the 1930’s (if not the 1920’s) there was an air of farce about Fascist Italy.

    China is more like National Socialist Germany – there is a great energy and sense of progress (although some of this may be based on a credit bubble – but then that was true of Nazi Germany as well) and a strong nationalism (with a large racial component) as well as a rejection (by the regime at least) of moral concepts that might limit the tactics used to expand the power of the nation (and keep the regime in power within the nation).

    Western “liberals” like to claim that President Bush has rejected basic principles in his lust for power – but this in nonsense. It is the regime in China that follows this line. All tactics are allowed (indeed all tactics are good) if they produce more power for China.

    This includes (of course) not just an expanded “economic base” but the military strength that depends on it.

    Both in unconventional warfare (such as cyper warfare to hit Western computer systems) and in conventional military expansion China has made very impressive gains. The “Forth Modernization” (as it was called decades ago) is now well under way.

    Whether this great power of more than a billion people will do better than Nazi Germany in its effort to dominate the world is yet to be seen.

    However, its pragmatism (for example the close connections with various Islamic powers, in spite of the Chinese regime practice of killing Muslims in its central asia provinces) shows intelligence.

    It would be nice if China did not follow a policy of world domination, and (indeed) Chinese culture has tended to oppose this historically. However, for such a radical change of policy (i.e. giving up the lust for power, power without limit) a new regime would have to come to ppwer.

    And I see little sign that the “Mandate of Heaven” is going to move any time soon.