How amazing that our “strategic competitor,” China, would undertake a study to understand what made western culture strong. What is even more amazing is what they found.
The key to our civilisation
The Chinese have recognized Christianity’s importance in Western culture, says Cardinal George Pell, so why don’t we?
Paradoxically, modern China can help us understand Western life today. Not because China must achieve economic supremacy (20 years ago we were ascribing that honour to Japan), but because this radically different culture is now searching for the secrets of Western vitality to provide a code for decency and social cohesion compatible with sustainable economic development.
In 2002 a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences described their attempts to account for the pre-eminence of the West. Originally they thought the main reason was more powerful guns. Then it was Western political systems, followed by the Western economy. Their final conclusion, however, was this: ‘In the past 20 years, we have realised that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity… The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.’
Zhao Xiao, an official economist in China, also published an article in 2002 titled ‘Market Economies With Churches and Market Economies Without Churches’. It made the obvious points that market economies promote efficiency, discourage laziness, force competition. They work and produce wealth. But, he pointed out, a market cannot discourage people from lying or causing harm and indeed may encourage people to harm others and pursue wealth by any means.
Zhao is critical of the corruption and exploitation in Chinese economic life.
As I’ve posted on this site before, America is the continuation of the social project melding of Athens (civic government) with Jerusalem (JudeoChristianity). Fascinating that those who wish to emulate our success “discover” this while our schools, media, and other “institutions” do all they can to weaken (and then destroy) the one foundation that makes us succeed.
Case in point is the recent financial meltdown. As I’ve also posted on this site, the crisis (and the recession it caused) is a moral crisis, not a financial one. Corruption will kill America sooner than Mexicans or Chinese.