Wednesday, 17 February 2010

When In Rome...

Do As The Romans Do Not?
"Just as the Iberians, and Libyans, and Thracians were hungrier and more enterprising than Italians back in the bay of Naples, so too we, the beneficiaries of this wealth, lost the values that were at its heart, in a way that the Indians, Chinese, and others have not — yet."
That's Victor Davis Hanson drawing parallel lines on the blackboard. The last word in that quote carries a lot of weight for me; my experience of the Taiwanese is that although there has been and certainly still is something of the entrepreneurial spirit throughout the island, there is also a disturbing imitation of nihilist and anti-intellectual trends from the west. The western tradition of rational criticism with its accompanying institutional channels for opening, stimulating and managing intellectual conflict just don't seem to find quite the same traction in Chinese culture and I have little doubt that the ubiquity of different methods of conflict evasion has quite a lot to do with this.

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