Certainly, a society doesn't have to be stolid and pragmatic to perpetrate great evil. On the contrary, the more idealistic, utopian societies like Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia were no slouches in that department.

I'm not tallying up the wrongs being down by the East versus the West or laying all the blame on China. Instead, I'm looking at the differences in cultural content and in the ethos of different civilizations, and I'm wondering whether Christianity's erosion means the Western will become more pragmatic and amoral like China. This would mean, for example, the loss of the American Dream.

I agree there are some cultural universals. I've written about what I call nature's default social order, which accounts for the dominance hierarchies that tend to form even in egalitarian, collectivist societies (link below). With its meritocratic practices, though, China has gone out of its way to resist that gravitational pull. Individualistic societies like the US give free rein to that pull, and repeat the gross economic inequality of a monarchy.


Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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