Monday, May 26, 2014

And so they’re talking to Jews, not about capitalism but about Judaism.

I don't know how accurate but quite interesting. From The Chinese and the Jews by Michael Ledeen.
In their amazing way of organizing most anything, the Chinese launched churches, and of course millions upon millions of them attended Christian (mostly Catholic) services. To be sure, the Party kept a suspicious eye wide open, and some of the churches were deemed too dangerous, even in the cause of Communism. But on they went, convinced they were on the right path. If anyone doubted it, they had mountains of research and even Tocqueville to justify the turn to religion.

After a couple of decades of this, there were still problems, and their social scientists took another look. This time around, they found–surprise!–lots of Jews involved in capitalist enterprises, from banks to stock exchanges to corporations. Indeed, the Jews had a history of doing it. Maybe the Jews knew something the others didn’t? Well, look at Israel…or New York…

And so they’re talking to Jews, not about capitalism but about Judaism. State radio now broadcasts in Hebrew. The Jewish experts who are brought to China find themselves speaking Hebrew with their Chinese interlocutors. Chinese students can now learn Hebrew, and immerse themselves in Jewish studies (maybe they’ll give Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree sometime soon?).
An illustration of the importance of real diversity. In the West, our clerisy have largely abandoned and disavowed religion as a central component in human well-being. Interesting to see the secularist, command-and-control Chinese attempting to harvest the benefits of religion without letting it become an independent societal element which might challenge the control of the party.

The clerisy's constricted thinking and enforcement of that restricted thinking on others, via the mechanism of political correctness, means that it is up to the Chinese to ask and seek answers to questions we have put beyond the pale. A paradoxical outcome when you have heirs of the enlightenment avoiding questions that repressive totalitarians are now willing to ask.

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