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Far too few of the good and intelligent now hold sway in the west. But it would be a terrible error for us to emulate the Chinese. There is a reason the West, at its best, excelled the East. True genius, while certainly correlated with IQ, is not equivalent to it.

Plato recognized that philosophical genius would always be in a tension with political power. The intelligent man has to be pulled out of the cave, and then uneasily induced back in.

Christianity emphasizes this insight by giving us what are arguably, dueling imperatives: be a good member of the community, but remember that your salvation is individual.

This has a profound effect: it leverages intelligence in a manner not available to other cultures. The Chinese may cram to their hearts' contents, but there will never be a Chinese Augustine, a Chinese Rousseau, a Chinese Copernicus.

The western way produces a society more variegated, more highly differentiated, more creative. However, it is riskier, less stable, and it excels all others only in its heights.

Now is not such a time. In fact, we should probably look kindly on the fact that a Chinese-Russian axis is taking leadership. At this point, at least, humanity as a whole will benefit.

Westerners, meanwhile, are going to suffer a chastening. Let the Chinese be the Chinese, but we need to be us, in the best way possible. I'm afraid this will happen only after a long period of suffering.

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Yes, I think that for the US, at least, a period of national trauma that by necessity enforces a majority consensus on policy direction is needed to accomplish a cultural re-set.

Something like the Great Depression or WWII.

And *why*? Simply because due to this nation's saturation of material wealth, which buffers even the poorest from the consequences of denying reality, individuals can entertain the sorts of self-destructive belief systems we see commonly.

30 years ago, would you have ever conceived in your most distorted dreams, that biological males, who self-identify as women (not females you understand, but the gender role of females) would compete against biological females, head-to-head, in vigorous athletics, and that the main sanctioning bodies of these athletic competitions would support this?

I'm not commenting of whether this is correct or not, but just using it as an example of how far the culture has shifted in relation to demonstrable fact. We can routinely deny reality and be backed by authority in this self-deceit.

It's like we're gaslighting ourselves on a national scale.

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there was already a chinese deng xiao ping, who accomplished vastly more than any of those thinkers. its on to the next round of competition now

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You consider it a greater achievement to (partly) modernize one (admittedly large) population than to invent modernity itself? You make my case.

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well its comparing apples and oranges. successive biologic and social advances have each built upon the previous accomplishment and gone farther. today's info society is building on the european expansion, the euro expansion built on the islamic expansion, the islamic expansion amalgamated ancient empires and diffused urban culture, ancient empires developed urbanism, etc. there have been great thinkers and doers pushing every successive advance along the human journey for knowledge. i wouldnt go overboard attributing specialness to specific quirks of the european struggle against the catholic formation - it contributed great things in its day, as have other inventions and constructions before and since.

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I was not denigrating the Catholic formation at all. "Modernity" was simply a shorthand for that part of western material culture the Chinese are building upon. And whatever Deng's merits as a politician or a statesman, they don't really go to the issue at the heart of the piece, which attributes the successes of Chinese civilization to the rigors of Mandarin meritocracy, and seem to hold this out as a kind of model.

And on these matters, cross-cultural comparisons can indeed be made. This is not to deny Chinese success, or the role of testing rigor in it, but to point out a limitation: rules, examinations don't facilitate genius, but at best perpetuate its products.

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Agree. I just got wang hui’s book maybe I’ll learn something about the influence of Confucius. More directly China borrowed the approach of Stalin to structuring state organs and deng is said to have borrowed Singapore’s approach in his initiation of incentives for state officials to expand businesses.

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What if Western default thinking about such things is so flawed in some fundamental manner(s), thus making your whole theory/model shockingly wrong, but it is not possible for you (or maybe even anyone, or even just almost no one) to realize it...or maybe even to be able to try to (for all people mentioned)?

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I think you'll have to be more specific than that if you want me to respond. In which way is it flawed? Ofc anyone could be wrong about anything, if we're speaking about logical possibility. But that's not yet a claim of any significance.

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Could there be any of this, or something *like* this, anywhere within your model? In one place, or many places?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error

That's just one thing. There are many others.

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I made no psychological or genetic claim. Quite the contrary.

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I love question dodgers, because it lets me pull one of my favorite moves: *re-asking the question that was dodged*:

------------------------------

Could there be any of this, or something *like* this, anywhere within your model? In one place, or many places?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error

That's just one thing. There are many others.

------------------------------

Now we get to all observe how you behave to a second application of the identical stimulus/prompt.

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Let me help you: there isn't a question until you apply your framework to something I've said. What has been misattributed?

Second hint: demonstrating that you know the names of formal arguments does not make you sound intelligent. It just signals that I've have said something you don't like, but you'd rather not engage on the point.

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One problem with China is that people can only write articles like yours that praise its government. No criticism allowed. This results in things like being 76th on Transparency International Corruption Perceptions index, despite all that Confucian virtue.. https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2023

Lots of folks wonder how economist Le Keqiang could have died suddenly, and so soon after he criticized the economic effects of China’s zero Covid policy. Was that a pursuit of Confucian virtue, too? https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/10/27/li-keqiang-obituary-death-china-xi-jinping/

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James,

No doubt you are aware of the fact that 95% of Chinese consider themselves authorities on cuisine, and scathing critics of poor cooking. Their criticisms of their government are far crueler and less considerate than their criticisms of their chefs. They expect the government to handle pretty much everything and become furious when it fails.

Can you share with us the methodology behind the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions index, lest its 'findings' be mistaken for empty propaganda.

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I pretty much agree with your comments, but I take issue with this: "They expect the government to handle pretty much everything and become furious when it fails."

It is very unwise to depend on the government for everything.

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Anything above bare sustenance is fundamentally dependent upon the government, if not directly, then indirectly due to the complexity of the system we live within. Large groups of people living together must have coordination of some kind, our playing style has just ended up with us having hilariously terrible government, and an angry public that will defend it ("The Democracy") nonetheless. I do not think people are joking when they say this.

We live in a bad movie. Like just dumb. Dumb like the people in those cheesy slasher movies that just don't use their heads, people watching at home are groaning at the ridiculousness, the *unbelievability* of it. But then they get off the couch and do the same God damn thing lol

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Was life better in the Middle Ages when most people spent their lives in the fields, slaving for a nobleman in return for his protection from other noblemen sending their armies to capture them and make them do the same thing elsewhere?

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I don't think so.

Do you perceive this as being contrary to what I've said in some way?

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What is it about the current government that you find "hilariously terrible?"

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"Anything above bare sustenance is fundamentally dependent upon the government,..."

We have allowed that to be the case.

"We live in a bad movie. Like just dumb. Dumb like the people in those cheesy slasher movies that just don't use their heads, people watching at home are groaning at the ridiculousness, the *unbelievability* of it. But then they get off the couch and do the same God damn thing lol"

I agree.

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SInce our representatives are democratically elected, I agree that "we" are responsible for the government we have. Anything above "bare sustenance" is dependent on a government which provides the organization and security to allow people to focus on production without having to constantly defend themselves against others who in the absence of the state, would take their production from them by force.

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"SInce our representatives are democratically elected, I agree that "we" are responsible for the government we have."

I'm not sure they are democratically elected, but we are responsible for our current situation because we allow it.

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> We have allowed that to be the case.

For the joke of governments we have, yes, but some form of governance is needed. There seems to be something about government where people can criticize the actors within it, but are not able to question the fundamental structure of it.

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"For the joke of governments we have, yes, but some form of governance is needed."

Indeed, it's crucial. But every government, no matter how well-intentioned, requires vigilant oversight from its citizens.

"There seems to be something about government where people can criticize the actors within it, but are not able to question the fundamental structure of it."

Or the devolution of its structure. But we are now in the period of our demise where we can not criticize the actors. Those who control the United States feel that now is the time to spring the trap, meaning total subjugation of the populace.

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Asking about methodology is one of the most brutal counterounches in existence, because 99% of humans won't have a clue for most of their deey relieved memes, and probably a good 80% would likely struggle with understanding the question *properly*, not could it be explained to them in realtime.

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*nor could it

FFS SUBSTACK COULD YOU PUT EDIT FUNCTIONALITY IN YOUR APP PLEASE

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*counterpunches

*deeply loved memes

Maybe I should break down and get an iPhone. 🥹

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You can edit if you when you use a laptop. I posted the first sentence and then added this one as an edit.

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I think of the revenue these guys are bringing in, and that they can't be bothered to support edits on the app. Pathetic.

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They’re likely afraid to say they’re unhappy on that Happiness Survey.

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There is a YouTube channel called Asian Boss that does "man (woman, teen, etc) on the street" interviews, give the China ones a watch and see what you think. I don't think Westerners have a very good "read" on what Chinese people (their reality) is like.

Here's the man on the street playlist, except it is for all Asian countries so you will have to scroll a bit to find China if you were interested in just that. It's especially interesting to watch them ask people from different countries their opinion on the same global crisis topic du jour, you can kind of see how "the reality" is depending on which culture you are in.

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqXeWt98fEwrvKiIwsqVBOxMdwRMl2gy1&si=srLfOLer268JeQNp

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"This results in things like being 76th on Transparency International Corruption Perceptions index, despite all that Confucian virtue."

It all depends on who issues the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. The United States is currently the most corrupt, hegemonic, and bellicose country on the planet.

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I believe a New Zealander (ie anglophone) created the Index. Perhaps that is why small relatively liberal nations (Nordics, NZ etc) fare well in it.

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Are you joking, or just ignorant? The US is 24th on the index, not great, but hardly "the most corrupt, hegemonic, and bellicose country on the planet." China is in fact 76th. The bottom ten, in ascending order, are Somalia, Venezuela, Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, North Korea, Nicaragua, Haiti, Equatorial Guinea, with Turkmenistan and Libya tied for 10th worst.

https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2023?gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwjqWzBhAqEiwAQmtgTwtFGGn_jvsZDxhTq2nrMPzKEmF8IVSuLHnsHzmFYXPo2_-F4V0dCxoCKBoQAvD_BwE

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"Are you joking, or just ignorant?"

Can you read? I said the United States is 'the most corrupt, hegemonic, and bellicose country on the planet. And you argue that Haiti, among others, is farther down the list. How many foreign military bases does Haiti have? How many foreign countries has Haiti invaded? How many aircraft carriers does Haiti have?

The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index is a sham.

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OK, thanks for clarifying. You should have said that you were going by your own personal, subjective assessment. I thought you were going by the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. Silly me.

If the US is at the bottom, which country is at the top? I mean of the "Realist Corruption Perceptions Index."

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Perhaps, but this article is about China.

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The problem is, our “elite” want to rule like mandarins without submitting to rigorous selection and committing to the public good.

Confucianism is tied to China’s long history of filial piety and collectivism. Culturally, they are very different from Americans, and I do see where communism is consistent with their history. This piece is not about resource allocation or innovation, which is where I think the Chinese system falls apart.

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When thinking about where the US fits as a political entity, I think that it is very, very important to see it as a rare case of a political entity trying to form a unified *cultural* identity from diverse and established cultures who coalesced within its borders, by national policy, in less than 200 years--and continues to this day.

I'm not aware of many nations, besides those in the western hemisphere, who have attempted this, and at the moment cannot think of notable successes. The best chance was to create a New Model culture and gently push the immigrants toward adopting it *publicly*; at home, they could still practice their traditional culture as they saw fit.

This was the Melting Pot approach.

We've abandoned this attempt at unification and have no real strategy for creating a national consensus. It's a lot like the US leadership is Blanche DuBois, who relies on the kindness of strangers.

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Chinese premier Li kiqiang himself admitted Chinese data manipulation at all levels of mandarins for showing they performed.

Merit my foot.

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Another important principle of confucianism is self-cultivation: each person must become indispensable to their family, community and country by completing their true self. In other words, build skills and be useful to the people around you. important but often overlooked point by the West. Chinese invented many things and created the sinosphere (countries that were heavily influcned by China), which includes Japan & South Korea. Unlike the japs, which had a very well-trained and reasonably large STEM workforce by the end of the WW2, China's talent is just starting to hit critical mass, and the country is starting to move up the value chain. China invented a drug that is used to treat cancer, and the americans are importing the drug en masse. talk to any academic and researcher who has recently read or worked with Chinese researchers. (Steve Hsu has praised Chinese research talent) In the Edo period, japan reorgnized their society according to confucius principles (strict social hierarchy, etc.). Do they have a hard time innovating?

Resource allocation has always been a challenge for China. A population of 1.4 billion makes it almost impossible to govern.

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Sorry, but I disagree. I mean, not entirely, but I disagree. Chinese civilization has always needed very talented bureaucrats, because Chinese civilization has always been extremely populous, but prone to famine due to its heavy reliance on the Yangtze River. But that doesn’t make China’s scholar-gentry desirable for the rest of the world. Possibly not even for China.

The reason China is successful is pretty obvious. You have more than a billion people who have an extremely tight-knit ethnic identity and an average IQ around 104. Yes, historically it was not a billion people, but it was still much denser and larger than the rest of the world save India. Even when China has collapsed into pieces, the state of nature seems to bring its people back together. You would think that, with this, Chinese genius would soar past the rest of the world. And yet… It doesn’t. I mean, obviously the West won the race by a mile as a result of the “European Revolution” of the past 600 years, but even in the period between the Han Dynasty and the Renaissance, the Chinese did not have that much of an outsized influence in innovation compared to Europeans, Middle Easterners, and Indians.

There are two problems with the “meritocratic” system. Firstly, in a modern state, bureaucracy might not be a thing worth investing the best of the best into. Like, don’t get me wrong, it is good to have intelligent bureaucrats, but the returns diminish at a lower level than in something like theoretical physics or medicine. A genius involved in science is likely to make a breakthrough, meanwhile geniuses involved in politics often obscure the truth rather than providing clarity. Either for Machiavellian purposes, or unintentionally by virtue of their political convictions (intelligent people are more capable of rhetorically justifying heterodox beliefs).

Now, you may say “But what about elements of the test dedicated to moral character and creativity?” And that’s where probably the much bigger issue comes into play. This “scholarly elite” is directly encouraged to be complacent. Someone who thinks Confucius was wrong is not going to be particularly fond of memorizing and explaining large swathes of the Analects. The same thing has happened in Western academia before, and is seemingly happening again. Academic institutions naturally err towards a stronger devotion to the status quo unless some competitive institution usurps them.

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" I mean, obviously the West won the race by a mile as a result of the “European Revolution” of the past 600 years, but even in the period between the Han Dynasty and the Renaissance, the Chinese did not have that much of an outsized influence in innovation compared to Europeans, Middle Easterners, and Indians."

But the race is not over...it never is. Your comments could have easily applied to all empires/dynasties at a point in time.

"Like, don’t get me wrong, it is good to have intelligent bureaucrats, but the returns diminish at a lower level than in something like theoretical physics or medicine."

You don't seem to understand what merit is. Merit is the best person for a particular job; it may well include other traits, such as integrity.

"A genius involved in science is likely to make a breakthrough, meanwhile geniuses involved in politics often obscure the truth rather than providing clarity."

Your conjecture is without merit (no pun intended); I defy you to name a genius involved in politics.

"Academic institutions naturally err towards a stronger devotion to the status quo unless some competitive institution usurps them."

Only the crappy ones. And that is why most academic institutions in the West have gone to hell.

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> But the race is not over...it never is. Your comments could have easily applied to all empires/dynasties at a point in time.

Yes, but the race has gone on long enough that we can analyze patterns in it.

> You don't seem to understand what merit is. Merit is the best person for a particular job; it may well include other traits, such as integrity.

See paragraph 3. Also, I’m pretty sure the tests in question are based mostly around learned knowledge and cognitive ability

> Your conjecture is without merit (no pun intended); I defy you to name a genius involved in politics.

What standard for “genius” do you have? There are plenty of politicians who were almost certainly intellectually gifted, but obviously genius entails various other characteristics as well. An example of a political genius… I would say, maybe Otto Von Bismarck?

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"Yes, but the race has gone on long enough that we can analyze patterns in it."

Sadly, the patterns are pretty similar to those of the Roman Empire.

"See paragraph 3. Also, I’m pretty sure the tests in question are based mostly around learned knowledge and cognitive ability."

Do you have knowledge of this or are you guessing?

"What standard for “genius” do you have?"

You are the one who used the term. You also referred to genius and theoretical physics. Therefore, I will submit that a genius has an IQ=>140

"An example of a political genius… I would say, maybe Otto Von Bismarck?"

Are you implying Otto Von Bismarck could have matched theoretical physicists of his time if he had only wanted to?

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>Do you have knowledge of this or are you guessing?

I'm guessing. Feel free to demonstrate why I'm wrong, though.

>Sadly, the patterns are pretty similar to those of the Roman Empire.

How?

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"How?"

There is plenty of research on the Roman Empire...look it up.

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Yeah, obviously, but I’m not sure what you’re trying to get at with China here

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>Are you implying Otto Von Bismarck could have matched theoretical physicists of his time if he had only wanted to?

Maybe not because he was more of a wordcel, but I don't doubt he had a very high IQ. One who beats 140 though... Yeah, probably more like Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin. Those guys, I think were past 140. I was going by the "really influential person due to their brain abilities" idea of genius. For the "140 or higher" idea of genius, I could probably find some actual examples of confirmed political figures with IQs above 140. Off the top of my head, Nazi Economics Minister Hjalmar Schacht. He was tested at Nuremburg.

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"Maybe not because he was more of a wordcel, but I don't doubt he had a very high IQ. One who beats 140 though... Yeah, probably more like Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin. Those guys, I think were past 140. I was going by the "really influential person due to their brain abilities" idea of genius. For the "140 or higher" idea of genius, I could probably find some actual examples of confirmed political figures with IQs above 140."

You seem fond of guessing or estimating. Just throwing out names and IQ numbers is ridiculous.

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You can’t exactly know the IQ of someone who lived 200 years ago, but Benjamin Franklin was an eminent scientist himself and meritorious enough in that regard to be called a genius. Jefferson has always been estimated as having had a very high IQ by people who put a lot more effort into estimating government IQs than I have:

https://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~jcampbel/documents/SimontonPresIQ2006.pdf

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Fascinating, thanks. How does the Century of Humiliation, fall of the Qing and Communist Revolution fit into all of this? If the brilliant elites were so good, shouldn't they have been able to handle the various challenges of modernity and the Europeans more smoothly? Did they just get to be out of touch and unaccountable?

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May 23·edited May 23

"If the brilliant elites were so good, shouldn't they have been able to handle the various challenges of modernity and the Europeans more smoothly?"

But as I said below, these types of comments would apply to any of the numerous empires of the past that are now history.

The United States is quite possibly the next one.

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My sense is that a big problem for the U.S. is that it currently nurtures an unmeritocratic, incompetent and corrupt elite, due to Wokeism and perhaps other reasons as well. If the U.S. truly selected for competent elites, as described in this post, I think we'd be better off, at least a little bit.

Hanania obviously goes into this in *The Origins of Woke.* Sample paragraph:

"The USCCR, which advises the rest of the government on civil rights issues, sympathized with the EEOC position. In a 1970 report, it noted that the examination process was the main method for selecting federal employees. Out of 2.5 million applicants a year, 300,000 to 450,000 would be hired after being screened through tests.17 The USCCR criticized the exams for having an “impersonal, formal, authoritarian” aspect. Reflecting the view of the civil rights establishment of the time, it celebrated the fact that some tests used for federal employment had dropped arithmetic and algebra in the name of achieving equality."

If ***arithmetic and algebra*** were already on the way out as early as 1970, it's no surprise that most of the US Civil Service seem like DMV functionaries. But of course that just pushes the question further back - what made the US so susceptible to wokeist incompetence in the first place? And I think my original question (how did the meritocratic Chinese do so badly in responding to the Western challenge) remains open.

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In my opinion, the US and western European culture suffers from unchecked , uncritical empathy, and the cosmic, reflexive guilt that flows naturally from it.

Everything you mention relied on that sort of underlying sentiment to take hold.

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"My sense is that a big problem for the U.S. is that it currently nurtures an unmeritocratic, incompetent and corrupt elite, due to Wokeism and perhaps other reasons as well."

Yes, that is possibly one cause. But it is also a loss of vigilance on the part of Americans. Life became relatively easy, and people became insouciant and took for granted that government was there to help them.

"And I think my original question (how did the meritocratic Chinese do so badly in responding to the Western challenge) remains open."

As I stated above, they most likely lost their focus. Plus, what focus they did have was concentrated on internal challenges, not external challenges.

But all empires go through very similar downfalls.

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I explained that in the post.

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Where? You said at the end that all their troubles were from factionalism within the civil service, which is ridiculous. Being invaded by foreign powers and going through a communist revolution is not the result of factions within a brilliant civil service disagreeing with each other.

Honestly the whole article is ridiculous. I couldn't quite tell for most of it if it was sarcastic, but it seems you actually believe this stuff?

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Apologies if this is too simple-minded, but if factionalism in the civil service is/was such a disaster, such that even the brilliance of the meritocrats couldn't solve the problem, then maybe meritocratic brilliance isn't all it's cracked up to be. I don't know, just thinking out loud.

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By their works shall ye know them, Ranger.

I recommend 'Imperial China,' by FW Mote. Though it catalogs a dynasty 1000 years gone, it is perfectly applicable to modern China. Very little has changed at the top.

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But they're so far behind. What is there to learn from them? Their recipe had been tried in the iron fires of international competition and they are not amongst the winners. Their leadership is just bad.

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Can you name one significant area in which they are behind us, and explain your choice?

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GDP/capita, because it correlates well with good life outcomes. Military power, Ditto.

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Apologies, but all I found in the post was this sentence: "Although China has had its share of instability, this was usually because weak emperors allowed strife within the civil service to undermine national unity." Still wanting more...

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800 words allows no more. If you want to know more, I highly recommend FW Mote's wonderful, and wonderfully readable, "Imperial China”. You will enjoy it and, when you're done, will understand everything that's going on the the Middle Kingdom today.

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Thank you very much - appreciated.

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The problem with Confucianism is that it left China stagnant and unable to respond to challenges.

That's why China's response to barbarians always amounts to "assimilate them after they conquer China".

That's why China's proto-industrial revolution during the Song dynasty got suffocated in its crib.

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"Yet when it comes to society’s most critical need and difficult task – running the country – our smartest five percent seem poorly represented."

Our most brilliant five percent are entirely unrepresented. However, other human traits other than intelligence are essential in a meritocratic government, such as integrity.

The only form of government worthy of existence is meritocracy.

I want to thank Aporia for giving Godfree Roberts a platform for his article. He is somewhat of an anathema in the West. I don't agree with everything Godfree writes, but I do most of it.

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Realist, do you suppose that at some point between the end of WWII, when by default the US was de facto world leader in most tangible goods, and, oh, let's say Carter, the *quality* of national leadership became unimportant on the world stage? This because the rest of the industrialized world was recovering from the effects of WWII?

Such that the national leader become more of a figurehead, a brand crest like Rolls Royce's insignia?

If there's accuracy in this--and I don't know if there is--effective political leadership has devolved to a matter of chance: which entertainer is, by chance, more skilled and talented in governance?

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Thanks for your interesting reply.

Here is my take on the effect of WWII (I was born before that war ended). The United States was virtually unscathed as opposed to the tremendous damage in Europe. Our manufacturing capacity was at its zenith, and many military personnel were coming home. Those who, let's say, had a penchant for rapaciousness and megalomania saw the immense wealth from war profits as an excellent opportunity for hegemony. The CIA was an excellent tool for hegemony during the late 40s and throughout the 50s. As a child, I remember hearing about the Dulles brothers on the news: John Foster at the State Department and Allen at the CIA. The book;

The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War by Stephen Kinzer is an excellent account of the CIA's exploits. The book is pricey but well worth it; the electronic version is more reasonable. Allen Dulles was a nasty, unscrupulous bastard, and it is my considered opinion that he was behind the assassination of JFK, who had fired him from the CIA a year earlier.

One could say that after November 22nd, 1963, the Deep State (unelected bureaucrats of the three-letter acronyms) started their coup of the federal government. I contend that all 'presidents' since then have been titular to increasing degrees since then.

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Thanks.

I read your bio earlier and while I'm just a bit younger (born 1947), I felt that you'd have had a lot the same early life experiences, so far as the cultural *feel* we lived thru (can you imagine*today* putting a quarter taped to a box top in an envelope and sending it to Battle Creek MI, and expecting it to *get* there, much less get a toy back in the mail?), and you mentioned the policy level stuff.

Long ago I got passive/reactionary in the sense of adapting at the macro level rather than trying to control since I could see few areas *outside of my immediate ambitions and duties to family* where I had any meaningful control.

So I just played within the system, not enjoying what I had to do, but doing as good a job as I could at optimizing our position. We used traditional methods like thrift, careful investment in which we had maximum control, etc.

I wish it would have been a culture with more integrity, but I held on to mine as best I could.

It seems much worse now. I see that the emergent generations have no intention of compromise, and have no use for integrity, dignity, or personal honor. They see everything in life as a zero sum game, apparently.

But my family's OK, and that's what I needed to get done.

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"I read your bio earlier and while I'm just a bit younger (born 1947), I felt that you'd have had a lot the same early life experiences, so far as the cultural *feel* we lived thru (can you imagine*today* putting a quarter taped to a box top in an envelope and sending it to Battle Creek MI, and expecting it to *get* there, much less get a toy back in the mail?), and you mentioned the policy level stuff."

Yes, we have had very similar life experiences. Looking back on those experiences, I get the feeling that they were from a different lifetime—it seems like a prior life.

"I wish it would have been a culture with more integrity, but I held on to mine as best I could."

It is sad to see the misdirection our country took during our youth and the terrible lack of integrity. But many empires have fallen in the past; this shall be no different.

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Yes, you're correct about empires having lifespans; any casual reading of history (now a rare pastime) pushes this idea forward, front and center. That phenomenon, "lifespans" of polities and hence possibly the cultures they are associated with, led me to consider that social darwinism needs to be more thoroughly examined, and refined, if need be. It think its tenets are in operation,like it or not.

...and just as we cannot become smugly chauvinistic about our own culture--which like all others has pluses and negative--so too is the *species* likely a transient phase. So we need to get outside our human-centric worldview. And by this I most certainly DO NOT mean giving equal time and empathy to other species, a la PETA, but more along the lines that we need to recognize that mankind is of the animal kingdom, governed by the saw physical laws that apply to all other species, past or present. So where might we fit on the scale of geological eras, etc.

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"...and just as we cannot become smugly chauvinistic about our own culture--which like all others has pluses and negative--so too is the *species* likely a transient phase."

I hope our species will live on, evolve, and ascend to great heights.

I see you have taken your pseudonym from Warren Zevon; I hope you didn't run amok in Kent.

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This kind of articles are the embodiment of the "engineer fallacy": where is this wonderful meritocratic system aimed?

Technocracy is the correct answer if you asks the proper question and Chinese history is the history of wrong questions.

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That quote by Fernand Braudel is hilariously ill advised. China falls so short from Europe on a civilizational achievement scale that he ends up making the opposite case than what was intended.

Who is that historically illiterate dumb-dumb anyway?

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China is run by the princelings 太子黨。

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Can you share their names with us?

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nice theory and data support but this contradicts with reality of painful Chinese corruption at all levels.

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"nice theory and data support but this contradicts with reality of painful Chinese corruption at all levels."

Where did you get this 'information'? Elaborate.

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forget corruption indices, I had the opportunity to interact with Chinese during my education period at the United States and also India has a very similar mandarin system in place. These countries are corrupt to core esp at lower levels while American lower bureaucracy (all depts incl. police (esp)) are really genuine at those levels.

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"These countries are corrupt to core esp at lower levels while American lower bureaucracy (all depts incl. police (esp)) are really genuine at those levels."

This idiotic statement discredits your prior statements

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Let's conduct an experiment:

1) Speed on a US highway.

2) When the cop pulls you over for speeding, try bribing him into not giving you a ticket.

3) Let us know how it goes.

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You burned him off buddy.

He Is a nut crack.

Does US not have problems, ofc it does but the best thing is people want to improve here instead of say USA number 1 hurrah murraaah and for Americans and west the spirit to improvement is Patriotism and I admire that

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Your comments are always inane.

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Aww, did I force you off your CCP-provided script?

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ok

think what you may

have fun with winning all online debates you white Incel while you repel everyone in real life because you can't see reality and are mad-adjusted.

These are just scare-exuberance cycle porn stirring emotion, while Chinese try getting western citizenships for themselves (everyone), a sign that western style countries is what all want. No worries we shall swamp you and claim your cuties.

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"No worries we shall swamp you and claim your cuties."

LOL. You have exceeded your prior inanities.

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I think this article grossly understates how fucking insane china can be. Execution vans, social credit scores banning bus passes, complete centralization of currency usage, intentional prostitution of women for state use (military, imperial, or otherwise, many historical examples). And, Chinese society has also been rife with corruption since time immemorial, and massive civil conflicts, and all other kinds of shitshows.

I agree that the smartest and most selfless should be awarded important positions - such is meritocracy. But this author, Aporia, does not understand what China truly is. It is a meat grinder. And, it is built on thieving. Please re-examine

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You are the type that U. S. propagandists love.

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Wherein my comment am I denying china's effectiveness? Please reply with something more substantial. My main point is to say, don't worship China. It has many, many faults - most chinese will tell you this in honest conversation

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May 25·edited May 25

"Wherein my comment am I denying china's effectiveness?"

Wherein my comment did I say, you were? It is the goofy propaganda like this that was my complaint: "Execution vans, social credit scores banning bus passes, complete centralization of currency usage, intentional prostitution of women for state use (military, imperial, or otherwise, many historical examples). And, Chinese society has also been rife with corruption since time immemorial, and massive civil conflicts, and all other kinds of shitshows.

But this author, Aporia, does not understand what China truly is. It is a meat grinder. And, it is built on thieving."

That is U. S. propaganda. These bullshit claims would better describe the United States.

But I do agree China is not perfect.

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The "Happiness by country and demographics" graph is rather misleading.

It does not include the small print from the Ipsos survey, which is that "The samples in Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and the UAE are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population."

In addition, the graph shows the combined percentage of those surveyed who are "very happy" OR "rather happy".

In other words, the graph merely shows that 91% of more urban, more educated, more affluent parts of the Chinese population are at least "rather happy".

Thanks for an otherwise interesting article!

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"Ordinary men and foolish women rush forward in excitement and humbly prostrate themselves in the dust stirred up by his carriage. This is a scholar’s joy. This is when his ambition is fulfilled. "

So the best and brightest don't care about improving society and advancing knowledge. Their greatest desire is to be worshiped by plebs in the same vein of the Gua'uld from Stargate.

Wow! Such a great society!

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the professional state vs the representative state. there are pros and cons of each and each has admixtures of representation and professionalism. what is more important than inherited style of institutions is performance in problem solving which is largely the ability to align policy to the needs of ascending economic structure levels (to discrete processing, comprehensive processing, or information processing). the contribution that any style of state makes to policy formation and state evolution is the input of plural ideas to policy formation and the allied task of creating hegemony of the governed

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If China's so smart, why aren't they rich?

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"If China's so smart, why aren't they rich?"

Intelligent people do not covet wealth; they seek knowledge and truth.

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That doesn't describe China

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"That doesn't describe China."

Chinese average IQ is higher than the average white IQ in the United States.

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The Chinese cover wealth though, so something is amiss in your model

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"The Chinese cover (sic) wealth though, so something is amiss in your model"

I take it you mean covet. All Chinese covet wealth? On the whole, I believe most Chinese prise knowledge. No country is more rapacious than the United States.

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