walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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Published on: June 22, 2011
Confucius and Religious Freedom
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  • Jim Murphy

    Dear Sir,

    I much admire the article. But maybe its best in an evolutionary manner for the State to be in Control? When the Church was primary, not many efficacious results were realized over the centuries. The problem is complex and deep.

  • charlie s

    Wonderful article — social theory with its boots on the ground. The “fundamental freedom,” however — if there is such a thing — must be the freedom to associate, not the freedom of individual conscience. As Tocqueville saw, a free society depends on pluralistic groups that maintain some independence of the state, even while they may attempt to influence it.

  • Marie Zhh

    Rem should be ren.

  • Wayne Lusvardi

    Professor Berger is right that Confucianism has frequently served as a kind of bell weather of Chinese politics.

    Banishing Confucianism is nothing new in China. In the second century Qin Shi Huang, the first Chinese emperor (known for his Terra Cotta army), had a large pit dug and “asked” Confucian scholars to enter it, whereupon he filled the hole and though he had rid China of Confucianism for good.

    The 1931 novel “Family” by Chinese author Ba Jin tells a story of how everyone is blind to their corruption by a veneer of Confucian hypocrisy. Sort of the Chinese version of Marx’s view of the Bourgeouise family.

    In the 1900’s Lu Xun published a series of comic book like illustrated stories of “Ah Q,” a pitifully fictional character portrayed as a victim of Confucian hypocrisy. During the 1960’s and 1970’s when anti-Confucianism reached its peak, many streets and statues were named after Lu Xun.

    After Mao died in 1976, there was a notable resurgence of Confucianism. Harvard educated scholar Tu Wei-ming formulated a “New Confucianism.”

    By the early 1980s’ China began to promote Confucianism as part of globalization but this did not extend to universal human rights or free speech as demonstrated in the Tian’anmen Square crackdown of 1989.

    Hyundai Motors reportedly sends their managers on “Confucian retreats.” Confucianism became the perceived root of the industrial might of the Asian Tigers – Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea.

    All of this is majestically described in a sort of Weberian framework in historian Thomas David DuBois’ new book “Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia” which I highly recommend.

  • Danthemason

    Mr Murphy says”When the Church was primary, not many efficacious results were realized over the centuries. The problem is complex and deep.”

    It is no more than the vesting of unchallenged absolute power. Religion and governments temper one another. The struggle continues until one side wins and then we all lose.

  • William Schenck

    The first freedom, the most fundamental, is the right to think as one may; the freedom to believe as one may choose. All other freedoms spring from this.

  • Pingback: Confucius and Religious Freedom – A Canary in the Coal Mine? « professorruml()

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  • Ormond Otvos

    The first freedom is agency, the freedom to act as one sees fit. Both religion and the state restrict this freedom, but the state, if democratic and constitutional, can be changed. Religion, based on pretended channels to gods, cannot.

    (Organized)Religion is best seen as a relic, although I mean groups of people brainwashed to another’s views of the nature of the world, who gang up on individuals to compete for power.

    Confucianism goes a bit far against individuals, but has had good times and bad as governance.

    The government I want to see is one with firmly instituted feedback mechanisms, i.e., voting, that are not subject to propaganda by groups, the rich, or corporations.

    The USA, nor China, has reached this ideal, and I’m not sure either of them will. I’ll feel better when they both cede the use of force to the UN.

  • http://gabrielbear.com gabriel bear

    “render unto Caesar” strike my ear as a rather Federalist sentiment.
    freedom of faith has the inherent power to show the dissonance of rapacious predators pretending to be Marxists, and thus have them fade; rapacious oppressors pretending to be Surrendering; Randian objectivist predators pretending to be Christians equally so.
    in time..

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