"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
4 The Culture War6 The Culture WarThe Culture WarChapter 7: US-China Relations and Wars2020-10-18Journal
For example, one should accept the fact that when choosing leaders most Chinese believe that having capable, wise leaders make the choices is preferable to having the general population make the choice on a “one person one vote” basis because they believe that the general population is less informed and less capable. Most believe that the general population will choose the leaders on whims and based on what those seeking to be elected will give them in order to buy their support rather than what’s best for them—e.g., the general voting population will choose those who will give them more money without caring where the money comes from. Also, they believe—like Plato believed and as happened in a number of countries that turned from democracies to autocracies through the millennia (most recently in the 1930-45 period)—that democracies are prone to slip into dysfunctional anarchies during very bad times while people fight over what should be done rather than support the strong, capable leader who will tell them what they should do. They also believe that their system of choosing leaders lends itself to better multigenerational strategic decision making because any one leader’s term is only a small percentage of the time that is required to progress along that developmental arc.\[10\] They believe that what is best for the collective is most important and best for the country and is best determined by those at the top. Their system of governance is more like the governance that is typical in big companies, especially multigenerational companies, so they wonder why it is hard for Americans and other Westerners to understand the rationale for the Chinese system following this approach and to see the challenges of the democratic decision-making process as they see them. To be clear I’m not seeking to explore the relative merits of these decision-making systems; I am simply trying make clear that there are arguments on both sides and to help Americans and the Chinese see things through each other’s eyes, most importantly, to understand that the choice is between a) accepting, tolerating, and even respecting each other’s right to do what each thinks is best and b) having the Chinese and Americans fight to the death over what they believe is uncompromisable.