Chinese are not so foolish as to worship at the church of Western values
Thorsten Pattberg says promotion of democracy and universalism is irrational and hypocritical
PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 February, 2015, 3:40pm, SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
Western “China experts” are ridiculing a recent speech by the education minister Yuan Guiren, who called for tighter controls on textbooks advocating so-called “Western values”.
Banning pseudo science like creationism or dangerous sects from classrooms isn’t exactly censorship. Oh, no, wait – in America, apparently it is. The dogma of “Western values” is an outdated, dangerous fabrication. Take democracy.
A Greek invention, democracy is highly overrated. For starters, it never worked in Greece. The first philosophers were fascists and, even today, 2,500 years later, the “cradle of Western civilisation” remains an incompetent state. Roman emperors and a vengeful, authoritarian God are the true European success stories.
The US, Germany, France and Britain were never real democracies, either. Far from it, the US is a plutocracy with a post-monarchal king’s court (the White House) and a holy scripture (the constitution). The three others are tedious class societies.
Germany “democratically” voted the Nazis into power and initiated the Holocaust. France and Britain first colonised, and then lost, the world. The US is a terrorist state (180-plus military operations abroad in 200 years) that sees only black and white, with a record of dishonesty and double standards.
No power in world history has ever attained greatness by being a democracy; on the contrary, democracy was always the prescription for the occupied and the conquered, thereby ruining the beaten rival’s chances of a comeback.
Next is the rule of law. The current international order, from Nato to the World Bank, is a shameless extension of Western interests, which is unfair and unacceptable.
Religion is a rotten, archaic state of mind. Sadly, a biblical sense of mission perverts all Western societies. There isn’t a town square in Europe without a church. Priests are trained in national universities. The ruling party of Germany is the Christian Democratic Union; America is God’s favourite nation; and we all live in the year 2015 of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Which brings us to universalism: The West believes it is the supreme civilisation, that its way is the only way, and that the rest of the world must “Westernise”. New members to this scheme are treated as family. Everyone who isn’t a member, however, or anyone who wants out, is deemed an enemy and must be ostracised and humiliated.
In China, this ideology is upheld by the so-called China experts, whose negativity poisons everything. The dogma that makes their abuses possible is called “freedom of expression”. Most of us know the unwritten rules of society: those who gossip, complain, lie, or constantly blame others are disqualified from high office.
In addition, society is strictly hierarchical; a truck driver can say whatever he wants in public, but not so the president. For every whistleblower, there are 100,000 US state employees who see corruption but look the other way.
That’s not to say we don’t need the disruptive. In fact, all societies nurture a particular kind of people: truth-tellers (journalists, satirists, comedians, etc.). They endure low social status, but, in exchange, are handed a fool’s license. They may say whatever they want without having to fear legal consequences because their “press freedom”, as they call it, blames the victim. It means that the targets of rumour, patronage, hate and propaganda are thought to have brought this upon themselves.
Honesty and facts are almost irrelevant: getting attention is key, causing offence is desirable and provoking a physical response is the jackpot.
So, what if a superpower, one with a monopoly on language and the mass media, makes a tool of truth-telling and builds an army of disrupters to demote, distort and defame foreign nations and their people? They still get a fool’s licence, but are now venerated as press soldiers scoring against enemy states.
When these disrupters land in China, they form clusters and cells, praise each others’ work, and look for easy prey by carefully auditing the Chinese about unhappy situations in their lives: “The cure to your unhappiness is Western values.” And they continue: “See, we in the West can speak our mind any time and without consequences.”
“The source of your discontent comes from oppressive society,” their victims are told.
Their goal is to insert themselves into school curriculums and recruit for the Church of Western Values as many potential dissidents as possible, especially up-and-coming celebrities who are showered with Western media attention, visa and travel grants, gifts, sinecures or even prizes.
The vast majority of the Chinese people, however, do not benefit from cutting ties with their own society, and they increasingly criticise the unethical conduct, militant methods and irrational beliefs of this Western cult.
Thorsten Pattberg (PhD, Peking University) is a German writer and cultural critic, and author of The East-West Dichotomy.pattberg’at’pku.edu.cn
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Most Chinese are not so foolish as to worship at the church of Western values