Asian values disputes
1 / 30

Asian Values: Disputes - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Asian Values: Disputes. Critics (West) AVs are used to justify the power of authoritarian governments, to resist democracy and violate human rights. Supporters of AV Avs are incompatible with human rights & democracy-which originate in the West b/c:

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Asian Values: Disputes' - erek

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
Asian values disputes
Asian Values: Disputes

  • Critics (West)

  • AVs are used to justify the power of authoritarian governments, to resist democracy and violate human rights

  • Supporters of AV

  • Avs are incompatible with human rights & democracy-which originate in the West b/c:

  • 1. Emphasis on individual rights and freedoms is the source of social decay: ↑crime & divorce rates, teen pregnancies . . .

  • 2. Imposing HRs is imperialistic: a reminder of past colonization

  • 3. HRs rhetoric is used to lessen economic competitiveness of Asian states and maintain Western hegemony

Do asian values exist
Do Asian Values Exist?

  • Critics

  • Avs don’t exist

  • Asia embodies diverse cultures, traditions, religions and histories—no single set of values called AVs

  • Mauzy for Asian Values

  • Agrees that there’s no single set of Asian Values for the whole of Asia because there is no one culture for the region

  • But there are ‘shared values’

  • In general, West is characterized by liberalism & East by ‘conservatism’

Shared asian values
Shared Asian Values

  • Equilibrium/moderation

  • Communitarian emphasis: putting family or community over the individual

  • Consultation and consensus for conflict resolution vs. contention and litigation

  • Respect for authority

  • Strong family ties

  • Frugality

  • Hard work

  • Saving and sacrifice vs. state welfare

  • Punitive measures for criminals

Shared vs western conservative values
Shared vs. Western Conservative Values?

  • Some of the ‘shared values’ seem common to Western conservative values, e.g.,

  • 2. Communitarian emphasis: putting family or community over the individual

  • 5. Strong family ties

  • 6. Frugality and

  • 7. Hard work

  • But Mauzy stresses differences between Asians & conservatives; 2 examples she offers are:

  • Preference for a strong vs. weak government &

  • Insistence on strict vs. minimal gun control

Shared asean position on hrs
Shared ASEAN Position on HRs

  • Despite the diversity of Asian values, Mauzy finds an ASEAN position on human rights due to:

  • A consolidation of the Asian Nations’ views through conferences sponsored by UN (e.g. 1993)

  • A collective rejection of Western pressures, especially that of U.S., in form of trade sanctions and imposition of human rights conditions for aid

  • Victory of the Asian position is manifested in the 1993 Bangkok Declaration regarding the dispute over the universality or relativity of human rights

1993 bangkok declaration
1993 Bangkok Declaration

  • The Declaration accepted that rights were universal but added the qualification that “they must be considered ‘in the context of’ national and regional particularities, and various cultural, historical, and religious backgrounds, and with the understanding that norms and values change over time” (Mauzy, 221).

  • This Declaration (adopted by more than 40 Asian countries) enabled the Asian nations to argue for their case with respect to human rights—

East west disputes about hrs
East-West Disputes about HRs

  • manifest themselves through the types of rights (UDHR) supported by each

  • Westerners emphasize the ‘1st generation rights’, which are also the civil and political rights, e.g.,

  • A3 life, liberty and security

  • A7 equal protection of the law

  • A18 freedom of thought, conscience & religion

  • A19 freedom of speech; A20 assembly

  • A21a take part in government (in/directly); 21c right to vote

Asian emphasis 2 nd gen esc
Asian Emphasis: ‘2nd Gen’ /ESC

  • A22. economic, social and culturalrights needed for one’s dignity and the free development of one’s personality

  • A25. the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control

Asian emphasis on duties
Asian Emphasis on Duties

  • A29. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible

Defending asian interests
Defending Asian Interests

  • Universality (stressed by the West) is a static concept vs. values which change

  • Therefore universal claims regarding human rights need to be reduced

  • Must put socio-economic development ahead of democracy and political rights because

  • Econ development is a prerequisite for democracy

  • Move to democracy and liberalization must be slow to not undermine government competence and order

Justifying avs by comparisons with the west
Justifying AVs by Comparisons with the West

  • Move to democracy and liberalization must be slow just as it took a long time for the West to democratize

  • The West is a greater violator of human rights for proponents of AVs b/c

  • Westerners distinguish between crime and human rights violation

  • Getting rid of this distinction means that the West is a major human rights offender

Mauzy s conclusion
Mauzy’s Conclusion

  • AVs debate is not just about the power struggle between the Western dominance (through human rights rhetoric) and

  • the Eastern preservation of authoritarian government (through AVs rhetoric)

  • Rather, it is a struggle between rival views of what makes a good society and what kind of government is good in the face of modernization

  • And how to balance individual freedom and social responsibility so as to provide effective government and protect against social decay

A different asian approach to democracy
A Different Asian Approach to Democracy

  • Fukuyama is less skeptical about the value of liberalization & democracy for the Asians than Mauzy

  • Even though both seem to agree that democracy is not incompatible with Asian/Confucian values, they agree that democracy must wait for a certain degree of social and economic development before implementation

Same avs different conclusions
Same AVs, Different Conclusions

  • Whereas Mauzy thinks that the Western emphasis on the first generation human rights and individual freedom contributes to social decay that is contrary to the cohesiveness of the family and the society,

  • Fukuyama thinks that the very cohesiveness of the Chinese family is antithetical to being cohesive as a community

  • Ironically, this lack of cohesiveness as a community in the Chinese is actually a resource for making them friendlier to Western rights and democracy

Universal condition for democracy
Universal Condition for Democracy

  • Fukuyama thinks that the ‘modernization hypothesis’ applies to Asia, namely that “rising per-capita incomes and educational levels in the region will be accompanied by an increasing democratization of political systems. . . . because there is a universal tendency of human beings to seek recognition of their dignity through a political system that allows them to participate as adult human beings.” (Fukuyama, 32).

Mauzy vs fukuyama
Mauzy vs. Fukuyama

  • Whereas Mauzy subscribes to the communitarian emphasis (i.e., putting the family or community over the individual) with respect to both the family and the community

  • Fukuyama drives a wedge between the family and the community: individuals are loyal to their families, but not to those beyond the family

  • Hence, Confucianism is not necessarily accompanied by inherent loyalty to the state, nor do they have the coherence to sacrifice for the sake of the state

Chinese individualism
Chinese Individualism

  • Contrary to most commentators who assert a continuity between the Confucian individual and the state, Fukuyama thinks that Chinese familism makes them individualistic—he likens them to a tray of sand rather than a block of granite

  • This quality of weak ties between unrelated Chinese people leads Fukuyama to think that they’ll move toward political liberalization and democracy the wealthier and more educated they become

Mauzy vs fukuyama1
Mauzy vs. Fukuyama

  • Whereas Fukuyama thinks that Confucianism is compatible with political liberalization—which he denies is a Western value—for he asserts that political liberalization is a universal tendency of the well-educated middle class,

  • Mauzy is more skeptical of the compatibility between AVs and liberal values which she associates with the social decay in the West

Correctness of interpretations
Correctness of Interpretations?

  • Is Mauzy correct to think that the freedoms or liberal values associated with 1st generation rights (free speech, thought, association, participation in government) will lead to social decay?

  • Is Fukuyama correct in maintaining that Chinese familism is individualistic and is the ticket to political liberalization?

  • A look at some of the values Confucius advocates in his Analects will show that both of their interpretations are not supported by Confucianism

Selections from confucius analects
Selections from Confucius’ Analects

  • There is textual evidence for a communitarian emphasis apart from strong family ties, e.g.,:

  • When questioned about 仁(humane person*), C answers that he is one who loves others and knows others (12.22)

  • He is devoted to what is appropriate (yi義) for the people (min民) (6.22)

  • He considers if he has done his best (zhong忠) for the people in his daily self-examination (1.4)


  • One’s character develops in the family:

  • The philosopher You said, "They are few who, being filial (xiao孝) and fraternal (di弟), are fond of offending against their superiors and fond of stirring up confusion. The superior man does his utmost for what is the basis. That being established, the Way (dao道) grows. Filial piety and fraternal submission are the root of all humane (ren仁) actions.“ (1.2)

From family to community
From Family to Community

  • That virtues in the home are extended to the society is exemplified by:

  • The Master said, "A youth, when at home, should be filial (xiao孝), and, abroad, respectful to his elders (di弟). He should be prudent and truthful (xin信). He should overflow in love to all, and be intimate with the humane (ren仁) . When he has time and energy, after the performance of these things, he should study the arts (wen文).“ (1.6)

  • Fukuyama’s claim about the discontinuity between the family and the community seem questionable in light of these analects

Response to mauzy
Response to Mauzy

  • How about a Confucian response to Mauzy’s skepticism about liberal values associated with democracy and the first generation human rights which she associates with social decay?

  • Recall that one of the shared Asian values Mauzy mentions is the Asian preference for consultation rather than litigation for the resolution of conflicts

  • Let us consider the Confucian attitude toward law to see if Mauzy is correct in her characterization of the Asian negative attitude toward law

Anti law sentiment in 2 3
Anti-Law Sentiment in 2.3?

  • The Master said, "If the people be led by laws, and boundaries sought by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame. If they be led by virtue, and boundaries sought to be given them by the rules of propriety (li禮), they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will order themselves.“—in contrast

  • The Master said, "The superior man thinks of virtue; the small man thinks of comfort. The superior man thinks of the sanctions of law; the small man thinks of favors which he may receive." (4.11 see 13.3 where he advocates the use of laws) . . .

Rule by example
Rule by Example

  • Confucius’ preference is exemplary rule rather than legal sanctions

  • The Master said, "When a prince's personal conduct is correct, his government is effective without the issuing of orders. If his personal conduct is not correct, he may issue orders, but they will not be followed.“ (13.6)

  • The relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend, when the wind blows across it. (12.19)

Role of the people in politics
Role of the People in Politics

  • But Confucius believes that the people are not passive; they ought to be educated

  • When the Master went to Wei, Zan You acted as driver of his carriage. The Master observed, "How numerous are the people!" You said, "Since they are thus numerous, what more shall be done for them?" "Enrich them," was the reply. "And when they have been enriched, what more shall be done?" The Master said, "Teach them.“ (13.9)

  • As such, he believes that they have a role in government

Role of the people
Role of the People

  • That the people’s opinions are significant for the legitimacy of a government can be seen in 12.7:

  • Zi Gong asked about government. The Master said, "The requisites of government are that there be sufficient of food, sufficient arms for defense, and the confidence of the people in their ruler." Zi Gong said, "If it cannot be helped, and one of these must be dispensed with, which of the three should be foregone first?" "The arms," said the Master. Zi Gong again asked, "If it cannot be helped, and one of the remaining two must be dispensed with, which of them should be foregone?" The Master answered, "Part with the food. From of old, death has been the lot of men; but if the people have no faith in their rulers, there is no standing for the state."

First gen rights for confucius
First Gen Rights for Confucius

  • If Confucius is not anti-law, even though his preference is for exemplary rule

  • If he advocates a role for the people in legitimizing the government’s authority

  • Then there is room for first generation rights like equality before the law and participation in government

More first gen rights
More First Gen Rights

  • That there’s even room for more first gen rights like freedom of thought and speech:

  • The Master said, "In serving his parents, a son may remonstrate with them; when he sees that they do not incline to follow his advice, he should remain respectful and not disobey them or be resentful.” (4.18)

  • The Master said, "When one is in pursuit of humaneness (ren) he may not yield even to his teacher.” (15.36)

  • The Master said, “A man can enlarge the principles (dao道) which he follows; those principles do not enlarge the man.” (15.29)


  • Given the textual evidence for the role of the people in participating in politics

  • The place that first generation rights for freedom of thought and speech in the Analects

  • Mauzy’s claim that Asian values are antithetical toward the first generation rights and liberal values doesn’t seem to be supported by Confucianism

  • Like Fukuyama, her interpretation of Asian values is not supported by Confucianism