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.
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.
The Cultural DNA of farmers and buccaneers
America’s obsession with guns and warfares, for example, goes way back to the nation’s birth and development. Australia’s palpable eagerness to join any fight anywhere involving another WASP country is evidently based on racial and cultural kinship, contrary to the universalist principles which it claims to uphold.
Farmers seldom moved. They lived with the same neighbours, however obnoxious, for generations. Differences had to be digested through negotiations, compromises, and the passage of time. This relatively static milieu trained them to be tolerant and patient, inadvertently preparing them for 21st century international trade and relationship. On this tiny planet, we’re all obnoxious neighbours to each other, with nowhere to move to.