Philosophical Anthropology and Practical Politics

By F. S. C. Northrop | Go to book overview

16
The Remarkable Short-Run Success of Mao's China.

President Mao's task in modernizing his fellow Chinese with Marxist Communistic goal values at the end of World War II was far more difficult than the similar task which faced Lenin when he attempted the same thing with his fellow Russians at the end of World War I. None of the elementary beliefs of post-Kantian and post- Hegelian Western Europe, of which Marxist Communism is merely a novel permutation, were in either the educational system or the mentalities of Mao's fellow Chinese. Nor was there the Western contractual legal science, which even tsarist Russia had inherited from Stoic Rome by way of Justinian at Constantinople. Insofar as the modern contractual legal and political mentality imported by Chiang Kai-shek's regime was concerned, everything in it was opposed to Marxist Communism. Also, the Confucian-Taoist-Buddhist mentality and ways of most of the Chinese people who are in the villages are equally alien to contractual legal and political institutions of any type, whether they be free democratic or Communistic in their normative content. Truly, therefore, Mao's present success is remarkable. What made it possible?

In answering this question we can dismiss the usual controversial political reasons that are given in the United States. To suppose that anything any American Secretary of State could have done, be he either a Democrat or a Republican or even a divinely inspired Monday-morning military quarterback, would have altered the outcome so far as Chiang Kai-shek's regime on the mainland was concerned

-281-

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