Tuesday, July 12, 2016

465. Confucian Ideas Lifted Americans From Corruption

In today's New York Times, July 12, 2016, David Brooks published his OP-ED article, Is the U.S. On the Path to Ruin. He provided a very clear historical picture on the political crisis generated by moral corruption in the federal governments in the 1880s and the 1890s. According to him, in the periods, “America faced crises as deep as the ones we face today …The political system was worse and more corrupt than ours is today. Culturally things were bad, too. Racism and anti-immigrant feelings were at plaguelike levels.” 

In order to change it, “America responded.”David listed some specific measures to show how Americans stood up to meet the challenges. However, he missed the most important American response to fight against the contagious corruption. At this critical conjuncture, the American leaders adopted Chinese civil service examination system based on Confucian ideas. Under the help of Chinese civil service Examination system the Americans lifted Americans out of notorious corruption that tortured the whole nation. Both the inheritance systems in the colonies overthrew by the American Revolution and the Spoil System started by Thomas Jefferson Administration were replaced with the merit system. As a result, corruptions was greatly reduced.

According to Confucius, governing authority should be based on merit, and not inherited status. The public service positions should be given to those who passed the imperial examinations. The Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), which established Confucianism as its official philosophy installed the meritocracy as its governmental system to select officials in the second century BC. The Han Dynasty began choosing public service official based on civil service exams for the first time in the world.

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