Saturday, February 20, 2016

433. David Brooks, Barack Obama and the Founders

I like reading history. I have been attracted by the founders' efforts to borrow from Chinese civilization in the time when they unfold the history of this nation. One of the most important Chinese cultural elements they borrowed is some Confucius moral principles. I say some because that they didn't borrow all teachings of Confucius. They chose to use the Confucius teachings on personal moral cultivation to build new virtue for the citizen of the new country. I don't have to talk about that here. You can read Dr. Dave Wang's paper, Confucius in American Founding.

David Brooks' op-ed article, I Miss Barack Obama, The New York Times, February 9, 2016. caught my eyes several days ago. I have perceived something familiar with my findings in the founders, who urged new Americans to advance their virtue to meet requirements of the new nation. "Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I am beginning to miss."

Obama's following founders' example in virtue building is by no means a matter of coincidence. Like the founders of the United States, President Obama has drawn wisdoms from Chinese classics. In a speech he said, "Thousands of years ago, the great philosopher Mencius said: 'A trail through the mountains, if used, becomes a path in a short time, but, if unused, becomes blocked by grass in an equally short time.' Our task is to forge a path to the future that we seek for our children -- to prevent mistrust or the inevitable differences of the moment from allowing that trail to be blocked by grass; to always be mindful of the journey that we are undertaking together."

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Washington, D.C.

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