Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Trump's Clash with Civilisation

Clash of Civilisation is an oxymoron. Truly civilised tribes clash over vital resources and existential issues, not values or beliefs. So what makes a society civilised? Clever technologies are not a defining condition. In uncivilised hands, they only make the world more dangerous and confused. 

   Queuing straight and calm on a hot day for ice cream is but a superficial indicator. When ten starving persons compete for three breads, those who insist on lining up nicely for their empty turn had long been eliminated by recurrent harsh reality in experienced old countries. Not long ago, no self-preserving Chinese would line up unless under supervision of a big stick. Now that there are eleven breads for ten well-fed folks, especially in the cities, orderly lines are the norm. It’s that simple.

Tolerance, if not necessarily respect, of differences is a fundamental attribute of civilised behaviour. 

   If you tell the typical Chinese that your god flies higher and faster than his ancestors and the Buddha working together, he’d be politely awed: “Wah! So impressive! Very good! Got to go now. Let’s have lunch sometime okay?” He won’t debate, and certainly won’t punch you for your amusing belief. He’d be even less inclined to comment on how your country elects leaders. It’s none of his business. Is it not? Before recent times, if you told him that Country A bombs Countries B, C, D, E, F… to make them vote for their leaders, he wouldn’t have believed you. 

Civilisation clash therefore seemed to me somewhat irrelevant to China, until recently. Trump’s trade war makes me think that differences in “cultural genes” could at least be partly responsible for the current conflict.

從貿易戰看 “不文明” 衝突