Monday, September 21, 2015

As China's President Xi Visits America, Our Unique Democratic System Which Protects Private Property Rights, Individual Freedoms and Capitalism Is Under Attack ... Just Like Always

Communism, Socialism, Totalitarianism and Confucianism are among the many 'isms' competing against the American ideals of individual freedom, private property, capitalism and democratic self government.

The fight to preserve our individual freedoms will never be over for We the People. In fact, Russia, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela are just a few of the countries that stand in direct opposition to our unique American constitutional system of self government which is by, for and of We the People. It's been that way for a very long time and isn't likely to change anytime soon.

Why China Is Turning Back to Confucius is subtitled 'President Xi Jinping, set to arrive in U.S. Tuesday, is promoting traditions his party once reviled.' It says this in part:

"One Thursday morning in June, 200 senior officials crammed into an auditorium in the Communist Party’s top training academy to study a revolutionary idea at the heart of President Xi Jinping’s vision for China. . . .

Two years after outlining a “China Dream” to re-establish his nation as a great world power, Mr. Xi is backfilling his vision and seeking a fresh source of legitimacy by reinventing the party as inheritor and savior of a 5,000-year-old civilization.

The shift forms the backdrop for Mr. Xi’s visit to the U.S. this week and could shape China for years.

Mr. Xi appears to be seeking to inoculate Chinese people against the spread of Western political ideals of individual freedom and democracy, part of what some political insiders say he views as a long-term contest of values and ideology with the U.S.

The effort is gaining urgency now, as an economic slowdown and stock-market rout fray the social compact of the last three decades in which citizens traded political freedom for rapid wealth creation. With Communist dogma and Chinese-style capitalism losing appeal, the party needs fresh ideas."

Now let's consider briefly other recent relevant history before peeking into the future for individual freedoms, democracy and the American way.

In 1956 Soviet Nikita Khrushchev said to America, "We will bury you." He was wrong about that.

Thirty three years later in 1989 the Berlin Wall fell. We thought freedom and democracy had won forever as the example for the rest of the world to follow, which they assuredly would. We were wrong about that.

The world's a mess today, of course, and what's going to happen down the road is, as it always has been and probably always will be, an absolute unknown.

After reading Are Western Values Losing Their Sway?, I wanted to share it in these troubled and tumultuous times:

"THE West is suddenly suffused with self-doubt.
Centuries of superiority and global influence appeared to reach a new summit with the collapse of the Soviet Union, as the countries, values and civilization of the West appeared to have won the dark, difficult battle with Communism.
That victory seemed especially sweet after the turn of China toward capitalism, which many thought presaged a slow evolution to middle-class demands for individual rights and transparent justice — toward a form of democracy. But is the embrace of Western values inevitable? Are Western values, essentially Judeo-Christian ones, truly universal?
The history of the last decade is a bracing antidote to such easy thinking. The rise of authoritarian capitalism has been a blow to assumptions, made popular by Francis Fukuyama, that liberal democracy has proved to be the most reliable and lasting political system.
With the collapse of Communism, “what we may be witnessing,” Mr. Fukuyama wrote hopefully in 1989, “is the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”
But couple the tightening of Chinese authoritarianism with Russia’s turn toward revanchism and dictatorship, and then add the rise of radical Islam, and the grand victory of Western liberalism can seem hollow, its values under threat even within its own societies.
The recent flood of migrants and Syrian asylum seekers were welcomed in much of Europe, especially Germany and Austria. But it also prompted criticism from a number of less prosperous European countries, a backlash from the far right and new anxieties about the growing influence of Islam, and radical Islamists, in Europe.
“Nineteen-eighty-nine was perceived as the victory of universalism, the end of history, but for all the others in the world it wasn’t a post-Cold War world but a post-colonial one,” said Ivan Krastev, director of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria . . . .
The fight over values is not limited to democracy. “We think the world is divided by individualism and democracy, but it’s the sexual divide,” Mr. Krastev said — with radical disagreements over the proper place of women and the rights of homosexuals.
In its rejection of Western liberal values of sexual equality and choice, conservative Russia finds common cause with many in Africa and with the religious teachings of Islam, the Vatican, fundamentalist Protestants and Orthodox Jews.
Extreme interpretations of religion, especially in areas of great instability and insecurity, can be a comforting or inspiring response to the confusions of modern life, and can soon become an enemy to religious freedom and tolerance for others, notes Robert Cooper. A British diplomat who helped build a European foreign policy in Brussels, he defined the problem of failed and postmodern states in his book “The Breaking of Nations.”
A quick look at anthropology shows us that “what we consider universal values are not so universal,” he said.
For instance, “We talk about democracy as a universal value,” Mr. Cooper said, “but when was it exactly that women in Italy got the vote? And blacks in the American South? So we have pretty shallow standards for this.” (In Italy it was 1945; one could argue that voting was not unrestricted in the United States until 1965.)
Given the choice, “nearly everyone in the world would like to live in our societies, because they can live better and don’t have to lie all the time,” he said. “So perhaps it’s wrong to talk of universal values. But the society they deliver is universally attractive.”. . .

The essence of democracy . . . is popular sovereignty, implying political and social equality. Easier said than done, given the tendency of governments and elites to presume they speak for the inarticulate masses. . . .

That is a caution echoed recently by William J. Burns, head of the Carnegie Endowment and a former deputy secretary of state. The debate, he argues, is really about the meaning of individual rights in non-Western states, even those considered democracies, and the “authenticity” of inherited values.
“Our own preachiness and lecturing tendencies sometimes get in the way, but there is a core to more open democratic systems that has an enduring appeal,” he said. That core is “the broad notion of human rights, that people have the right to participate in political and economic decisions that matter to them, and the rule of law to institutionalize those rights.”
The result “doesn’t have to look like Washington, which may be for the good,” Mr. Burns said. “But a respect for law and pluralism creates more flexible societies, because otherwise it’s hard to hold together multiethnic, multireligious societies.”
That’s what the Arab world will be wrestling with for a long time as old state systems crumble, he added.
These pressures are visible in Western societies, too. “Even in what are seemingly modern societies we see the tension, the core appeal of nationalism,” he said, as well as the attraction of religious radicalism to minorities who feel shut out of the mainstream of identity politics.
Yet democracies in whatever form seem more capable of coping with shifting pressures than authoritarian governments. History does not move laterally but in many different directions at once, Mr. Burns said. “Stability is not a static phenomenon.”"
Summing Up

The universality of human rights, freedom of choice, religious tolerance, free speech and the right to make our own way are among the hallmarks of our American society.

However, they aren't always practiced. In fact, sometimes We the People behave as if we have forgotten these fundamental truisms.

Although we have countless imperfections both as individuals and as a nation, let's keep working to improve.

That continuing self improvement program is what has long made America the greatest place on earth.

So let's keep working hard, individually and together, to make the greatest nation in the history of the world even greater.

Our kids and grandkids are depending on us to do just that.

That's enough incentive for me. How about you?

Thanks. Bob.

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