Failures of Civility and Social Capital in China Now   no generalized trust means no loyalty and no moral authority

This is the eighth post in the series on civil society in China now

In the west, the lack of an active civil society is politically worrisome. Civil society is the home of organized disagreement with government but also a home of innovative ideas and the force for change. Without it, democracy is politically adrift.

Rulers can never be certain of the quality of information they get. People lose the sense of community that comes with civility and social capital. There are information and emotional holes in society.

What does a society look like without civility? China is a good example.

International Difficulties  forget civil society, we’ll take civility

This is the ninth post on civil society in China now

One view is that without civil society fundamentals like generalized trust and freedom to express one’s opinion, China is doomed to … well, I don’t know what.  Decline? Fail? Disappear? Go into economic decline?

Moral Freedom and Nihilism    What, me worry?

 This is the seventh post on civil society in China now

 When you make the rules and then act as judge and jury, its hard to do the wrong thing. So, for CCP - If CCP does it, it must be the right thing to do. A couple of my government students, and another good friend, were judges. I was impressed, but I found out later that until recently being a judge did not necessarily have much to do with attending law school, and still less with balancing of rights. Justice is not blind, and sometimes it doesn’t even squint very much. Judges only nominally work for the government. They work for CCP.

The Civilization State and Freedom   What do you mean, Chinese lack freedom?

Try reciting the Emma Lazarus poem when you are thousands of miles from home, in a group of friends who, in their deepest wish, would return to the US with you. Tomorrow you can get on the plane. For them it is forbidden.  “… Yearning to breathe free …”  Can you do it without a shudder and a tear? I couldn’t.

This section gets a little deep in political and moral psychology – not really my area. I’ve done quite a bit of reading, and I hope what follows will be sufficiently clear. The ideas are important. The usual warning - this is a bit long.

The work of Joseph Chan on moral autonomy and Ci Jiwei on moral freedom are necessary reading for anyone wishing to understand the why behind what they see in China. In particular, Chan’s book Confucian Perfectionism and article Moral Autonomy, Civil Liberties and Confucianism and Ci’s book Moral China in the Age of Reform are my sources here.

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