The effect of the liberal arts in Hong Kong

Progressive education, which tries to reduce everything to a narrow academic specialty, thinks “liberal arts” means “humanities.”  But in reality, the classical liberal arts refers to a whole approach to education– one that is broad rather than narrow, connected rather than fragmented, open to the past rather than favoring whatever is new, etc., etc.

It’s called “liberal” from the Latin word for “freedom.”  It goes back to the distinction in ancient Greece and Rome between the “servile” education given to slaves (nothing more than training for a job) and the “liberal” education given to free citizens of the Greek democracy and the Roman Republic–one that required the cultivation of the intellect and other human powers, as well as knowledge of the cultural heritage that must be transmitted to the new generation.  (I argue that much of “progressive education” is a revival of “servile education.”)  Interestingly, when Melanchthon and other Reformers opened schools to teach the masses how to read the Bible, they instituted a liberal arts curriculum, an education for freedom.

The British have done much with liberal education, and the schools they started throughout the British empire tended to follow this approach.  Today, the still-Communist Chinese are blaming  the liberal arts curriculum in the schools of Hong Kong for the pro-freedom movement currently roiling that city, with the protests generally led by liberal arts students.  The movement is being called “scholarism.”  In the mean time, the Chinese government wants to impose a pro-government purely economic curriculum. Sound familiar? [Read more...]

Alibaba and the 40 Thieves

In China, pretty much everyone buys pretty much everything from the online site Alibaba.  Last week, the company came to the United States, getting listed on the New York Stock Exchange, where it raised over $21 billion, becoming the second-biggest IPO in history.  Alibaba has a market capitalization of nearly $220 billion, making it bigger than Facebook, eBay, Disney, and Amazon.  There are plans to open operations in the United States.

But there might be some dangers in investing in a company that is under the thumb of a government that does not believe in capitalism or private property. [Read more...]

Nationalizing theology

Socialists often “nationalize” industries.  Totalitarian governments are interested in more than economics.  China has announced plans to nationalize Christian theology. [Read more...]

Tensions build with China

As our attention has been focused on the meltdown in the Middle East, big problems have been emerging with China.  Reportedly emboldened by American weakness, China has been asserting its claims on hundreds of tiny islands in the East China sea, which are also claimed by Japan, the Phillippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, and other nations, many of which have mutual defense treaties with the United States.  The navies and air forces of these contending nations are harassing and threatening each other, creating a tinder box that could easily ignite.  In the meantime, American diplomacy is objecting to the Chinese incursions, and it’s dragging down our relations with China on other issues. [Read more...]

25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, in which the Chinese Communists crushed the pro-democracy movement that had prevailed in the Soviet Union.

[Read more...]

Ten Forbidden Behaviours

Regional Chinese Communist officials have put forward a list of “10 forbidden behaviors” designed to improve the manners and  image of party operatives.  These do not have quite the moral heft of the 10 Commandments, but they give some good tips for getting along with “the masses.”

Read them after the jump.  And then I invite you to suggest equivalent behaviors in our society that deserve to be “forbidden” (not that they would be, hopefully, in a free society, but you know what I mean). [Read more...]


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