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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/10/2013 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Mao is being replaced by Burke on college shelves.

A conservative Irish philosopher is all the rage in China's academic circles. The unlikely favor shines of philosopher Edmund Burke as the once revolutionary government of China becomes the establishment.

Mao's Little Red book has been central to the ongoing Chinese Revolution and is rumored to have outprinted the Bible. Now, the Little Red Book is being replaced in colleges with Edmund Burke.

Mao's Little Red book has been central to the ongoing Chinese Revolution and is rumored to have outprinted the Bible. Now, the Little Red Book is being replaced in colleges with Edmund Burke.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/10/2013 (10 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: China, Mao, Burke, one-child policy


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The revolution of Mao is routinely lauded in the Chinese society. Traditionally conservative, Mao and the Communists brought a new way of living and thinking to the Chinese state. While society became more equal and innovative, it also became more oppressive and restrictive under communism.

That restrictiveness was beneficial as the government consolidated and exercised power over the past half-century manifested in policies such as rural serfdom and the infamous one-child policy. However, in due time, those policies have become unpopular with the increasingly savvy Chinese people.

Now, in a move that sounds almost heretical, Mao is being replaced by Edmund Burke.

China has enjoyed a decade of economic prosperity with a middle class larger than any other in the world. The Chinese economy continues to grow and culture is changing as social networking and smartphones become ubiquitous. Once, the officials state-run media was the only news people received. Now, news travels in real-time, making it harder to control people and their attitudes.

With the communist regime firmly entrenched, it no longer serves the state to talk so loudly of revolution.

Enter Edmund Burke. Burke was the 18th century Irish-born philosopher who became the father of modern conservatism. Burke was a supporter of the American revolutions, saying that circumstances were such that when combined with the lack of reforms on behalf of Parliament, revolution became a worthy act. Conversely, he viewed the French Revolution less favorably.

Burke made the analogy of an old father and his son to explain his point. "...we are taught to look with horror on those children of their country who are prompt rashly to hack that aged parent in pieces and put him into the kettle of magicians, in hopes that by their poisonous weeds and wild incantations they may regenerate the paternal constitutions and renovate their father's life."

In other words, revolution was akin to murdering one's own father.

In Chinese culture such a thought is well beyond criminal. This is precisely why the Chinese government is permitting a Western conservative into their universities.

Burke's writings would have been burned decades ago, but today he is the voice that when properly filtered through the Chinese intelligentsia, tells people they should seek gentle reform of their government from within rather than dramatic revolution from without.

It's a natural move, given that the Chinese government is now firmly entrenched in power and The Revolution is now a distant memory.

For its part, the Chinese government has already pledged to reform things like the one-child policy and rural serfdom. These would be gentle reforms undertaken from within. Of course, they are necessary. China has a financially empowered middle-class that is worried about troubled times ahead. Like any economy, prosperity can't last forever.

China also has a huge population of males, a consequence of the one-child policy and sex-selective abortions and infanticide.

These pressures --or as Burke would call them, circumstances, color the present situation dramatically. Combined with social media, and a desire to be recognized as a superpower, Burke serves the Chinese state by telling the masses, especially college students, to remain calm and mind their place as the government implements reform.

So this is why the Chinese government is embracing British conservatism. It isn't that Maoist Communism has failed so much that Western conservatism is useful to the state.

Ironically, as Mao is replaced by Burke, one has to muse, the very practical Chairman Mao himself would probably be pleased by the change.

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