A question never really asked ...

... in force in American politics, but is the heart of Confucian thinking about leadership - how will this policy help the people?  The Confucian leader is judged according to that standard - and don't give me the innovation and tax-cuts-create-jobs crap.

What do you think of western civilization?

The question to Gandhi is now being asked again, this time by educated, sophisticated Chinese of each other.

This was the topic of a four-hour phone call a few nights ago between Chinese PhDs, both with extensive American experience and important midlevel career positions. 

In a word, their conclusion was the same as Gandhi’s – it would be a good idea. 

What is this moral freedom business?

Part 4  Solving the government’s problem under agency as freedom

All governments have two main tasks to fulfill, regardless of their culture or political system - provide sufficient personal freedom for people to conduct daily affairs, and maintain social order so that personal freedom can be exercised and the culture can function.  Personal freedom is freedom to buy and sell, make choices about work and leisure.  Social order is conducted via law and regulation and custom and etiquette. Civil society also functions as a mechanism of social control, as a transmitter of values. Governments have to provide for both tasks simultaneously.

Ci Jiwei describes two ways of securing agency for individuals –  agency as freedom and agency as identification.  It is this ability to exercise individual agency that contributes to a sense of human dignity – that one’s thoughts and hopes are considered in the world.  

Both ways are valid approaches to securing dignity if they function as intended. Both can fail.  But there is an aspect to agency as freedom as a social stabilizer that makes the government’s job of providing for freedom and order much easier.  I want to discuss that here.

Killer App

Trump, Xi, CCP, GOP is the title of a series of posts I ran about a year ago, pointing out some of the ways that Trump and Xi are alike, and CCP and GOP are alike.

We know that Mr. Xi and CCP wasted about six weeks at the early stages of the crisis.  This no doubt cost lives in China, as people died at home without being tested.

We know that Trump has wasted more than six weeks, since he knew about the virus from early in January when China informed WHO.   This waste of time has cost lives in the US, and is going to cost a lot more, as doctors and nurses work without a "safety net," preventive measures are ignored by Trump, people die from overdose on hydroxychloroquine and GOP derides the pleadings of the scientists and doctors.  The bungling will force the use of the "death panels" hypothesized by the GOP in Obamacare debates.  In overwhelmed hospitals, doctors will be forced to triage virus patients.  Public health and safety cost money, and Republicans say we can't afford it.

So let’s help in the election.  Let’s remind all Americans in our high-tech information age that the GOP has developed a killer app for the American people.  Call it Trump.  By June or July, Americans will have realized how true that is.