How Does The Presence Of A Confucian Culture Affect The Operation Of Democracy?

1394 words - 6 pages

In 1979 the third word-wide wave of democratization was due to the overthrow of Portuagese dictatorship in Europe which spread to Asia during the 1980s. The third word-wide wave of democratization did not however affect the undemocratic East Asian countries as they challenged the notion of demoratization and avocated “Asian Values”. Asian values refers to the strong traditional cultural values such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism which co-exists in East Asian societies. The purpose of this essay is to explore Confucian culture and how it may affect the operation of democracy in East Asia.

Confucianism is tradition of political and social thought named after the scholar Kongzi (Confucius 551-479 B.C), it is still widely practiced/ seen in social, legal, theological, ethical and political thought. Kongzi was born into low aristocracy and held an administrative government post. He was a social and political critic throughout his life as a public administrator and teacher to future political advisors. His teachings were focused on how to live one's life in accordance with traditional virtues of ; hummaneness (ren), ritual propriety (li), righteousness (yi) and wisdom (zhi). According to Kongzi the key to social and political stability is the virtue of ren which means “the overarching virtue of being a perfected human being”. Everyone is capable of achieving ren although only a gentleman properly educated in ritual propriety (li), righteousness (yi), right action (xin), and revengance (jing) will be a superior man and able to rule in accordance. consistant with ren. Tu Wei-ming a scholar of Confucianism categorizes confucian thoughts into "political Confucianism," and "Confucian personal ethic". Political confuncianism consists of Imperial and gentry power, which is the hierarchical political system. While Confusian personal ethics emphasises the importance of family vaules, it is essential to obey family elders, personal behaviour must honour ancerstors and regulates day-to-day life. 1 Which is the core of Confusian culture.

In recent years the clash between democratic western civilzation and undemocratic civilzations, Confucian in particular has been seen. Huntington states in order for democracy to take roots in a Confucian society, undemocratic elements in Confucianism must be superseded by democratic elements.According to Schumpeter the definition of democracy the democratic method is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote.4 Most Asian countries avocate “Asian vaules” such as Confucianism which has been central to China's political and social system for many years. Democracy can not exist without individual liberty, equality and pluralism these values are opposite to Confucian values and therefore conflict may arise.

It is vital that East Asian's have other options and do not necessarly have to choose...

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