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How can we know what is enlightened governance? Well, there are some self-evident definitions. Historic moves forward are found throughout history. Those that ended up leaving humanity for the better are the ones to study. How did they start, how did they do it, and where did they end up are three questions one might ask in reviewing the evidence.

Their origins and movements might be categorized:

Kingdoms Moderated Democratically England
Right-wing Dictatorships Moderated Democratically Taiwan
Left-wing Dictatorships Moderating Democratically China
Successful Revolt Against Any of the Above Established Democracy United States

Of these it may be most instructive to better understand China. The October meeting of the Communist Party in Beijing was reported variously over the world.

  • In the US, a prominent comment had President Hu Jintao consolidating his power--somewhat. [Projection of how we see ourselves. This hang-up clouds not only what happened but the real issues as well.]
  • In the UK, the focus was more on what was said; that while China has leaped ahead at breathtaking rates, great disparities remain between societal needs and what was provided by the leadership. [Realistic and literal at least; British society sees the situation better than we do.]
  • In China, on the ground, it was near-universal approval of the new directions with new and well-qualified blood coming in to lead the new thrusts critical to progress. [Closest to, most affected by it, and most optimistic! This is where the reality/mood feature counts most. The Chinese middle class is strongly behind these changes.]

The Beijing event came only a few months after China had announced it was rejecting the US model for democracy. For now it is sticking with democracy within the Communist Party, on their own terms. This is so even though classical Communism is now dead in China in all but name. The problems the Soviets had with succession seem to be solved. Corruption remains a problem that the party recognizes; it openly moves against it.

Have the Chinese made a study of the history of governance and modified their system accordingly?

It would seem so.

Visitors to China and Chinese nationals alike agree that the reforms in China have been hugely successful, while still leaving much to be desired. This happens to be what the government itself is admitting. Compare that openness with that of the most secretive pair of Administrations in US history, and you can see a strong correlation between openness and progress. It is working against us.

It need not be that way. From its inception, the US was the leading innovator in governance. Potential for decay was always there, but it accelerated with the winning of the Cold War and the many strategic mistakes made in its winning. The Cold War was won in spite of our leadership, not because of it. Soviet Communism largely self-destructed as it was based on unitary power. Chinese Communism is now fundamentally different; it is based on collective power within the party. How that can ultimately avoid decay some time in the future is anyone's guess. But for now, China is so ascendant it will win the immediate war for hearts and minds, whether or not they are consciously engaging in it. The US will be the loser.

One recent visitor to China found the typical Chinese much more interested in their visitor's peace activities than anything else. Peace is a common item of discussion in Chinese society.

Compare: American Society which projects our economic and military powers shamelessly to protect "American Interests," with how China exerts influence in the rest of the world: trade, simple two-way trade, nation to nation. We meddle in an "America First" mode. China stands aloof, consistent with their non-expansionist history. To be sure, China has had a turbulent and often violent history. But touring China, one gets an unmistakable feeling that China just may have learned something from its heritage, from its multiply-walled Forbidden City, through its many dynasties to its Great Wall--one of the greatest engineering feats of all time. For the wall's history, see: Great Wall

When the real war is over ideas:
  • How can we neglect the progress made
    by one of the oldest societies on earth?
  • Why are we engaging in the WRONG KIND OF WAR?
Our future critically depends on how well we see reality and how well we respond to it. For starters, the hold the Neocons have on our system must not only be broken but a constitutional amendment must be passed to prevent any such future extremists from taking hold from any quarter. Before that happens, heaven forbid, we should study what has worked best in the past. That study must be unbiased with the whole of humanity in mind. For what is most wrong with our system see Bush on the Couch and Actions for Peace for some ideas about how we might proceed. Maybe most of them will be needed as well as some not yet conceived.


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