I believe in American exceptionalism and I'd bet that America will survive the next four years, despite the socialists being in charge. In the end, we will still be the shining city upon the hill that the world longs to live in. ''
Incidentally, the subject being discussed is whether the Chinese will come to dominate us. Another comment:
...But we still have a core of people who love life, love freedom, love God, love to build stuff, love to invent stuff, and who love anyone from anywhere who loves the same things. Thats why we’ll be fine. To paraphrase another poster, the very best Chinese will wind up here, where they can really blossom.
And their kids will grow up wanting to be rock stars and real estate agents just like ours. Thats our revenge.''
Apparently, 'assimilation' conquers all.
Those comments illustrate very well the belief common among many mainstream conservatives that people really are interchangeable, and that immigrants, including the Chinese, can and will be 'Americanized' and that provided they learn our ways, all will be just hunky-dory and life will go on much as it has, for the foreseeable future.
This willful pollyannaism, while admirable in a rather perverse way, is highly unrealistic, in my opinion, and it will be our undoing. Put these 'conservatives' together with all the liberal xenophiles and multicultists, and you have a formidable number of people who refuse to see that we in the West have a problem. Together, the ''it's culture, not race" right-liberals and the left-liberal traitors are holding us back from reversing our course, and avoiding the cliff over which we are about to plummet.
And to which of these groups does the journalist known as 'Spengler' belong? It's his article that the FReepers are discussing. In his cheerful little piece, Spengler tells us about China's six-to-one advantage over the U.S.
...It must be a conspiracy. Chinese parents are selling plasma-screen TVs to America, and saving their wages to buy their kids pianos - making American kids stupider and Chinese kids smarter. Watch out, Americans - a generation from now, your kid is going to fetch coffee for a Chinese boss. That is a bit of an exaggeration, of course - some of the bosses will be Indian. Americans really, really don’t have a clue what is coming down the pike. The present shift in intellectual capital in favor of the East has no precedent in world history.
China's commitment to classical music will have effects that are at once too subtle and too powerful to categorize easily. It is not that classical music helps to train good scientists, for example. Music and the sciences are different disciplines to begin with. Mathematicians who learn music, though, are more likely to cast an ironic eye upon their craft, and look for flaws and opportunity in its cracks and crannies. It is not Mozart's sense of order, but his sense of irony that refines the mind of the mathematician. Mozart goes unerringly toward what is not mathematical in music, but instead is asymmetrical, strange and ambiguous. He can be inspiring, or frightening. Years of instrumental practice, knowledge of repertoire and study of theory are necessary to approach this sort of genius.
It is hard to explain what is important about something that most people never will understand. That is what makes America's music gap with China so difficult to remedy. Except in a vague way, one cannot explain the uniqueness of Western classical music to non-musicians, and America is governed not by musicians, but by sports fans (the lone recent exception was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is both). Hearing music is a skill somewhat like understanding a foreign language, and to appreciate music is like getting jokes told in a foreign language. Rare is the listener who can do this without having been reared in the language.''
So, based on China's apparent mania for Western classical music (and it IS Western) they are certainly due to dominate us in all fields.
Until now, the West has tended to dismiss China's scientists as imitators rather than originators. As a practical matter, China had little incentive to innovate; an emerging economy does not have to re-invent the wheel, or the Volkswagen, for that matter.
This was not true in the remote past, of course. China invented the clock, the magnetic compass, the printing press, geared machines, gunpowder, and the other technologies that began the industrial revolution, long before the West. When it comes time to develop the next generation of anti-missile radar, or electric car batteries, Chinese originality may assert itself once again. Chinese who have mastered the most elevated as well as the most characteristically Western forms of high culture will also think with originality. Anyone who doubts this should watch Lang Lang's performance of the Mozart C Minor Concerto once again.''
All these little cliches about East Asian cultures vs. Western are familiar from my old college classes. I studied a great deal of East Asian history. It fascinated me. When I was in college, political correctness was picking up speed, but there were still some curmudgeonly old professors who had not bowed the knee to the multicult yet. The consensus was that yes, the East Asians (Chinese and Japanese particularly) were intelligent and gifted in many ways, but their societies tended to be inward-looking and quiescent rather than dynamic and innovative, as were Western cultures.
The Chinese may have invented a number of useful things, but historically the East was not the source of most of the technological advances that proved to be history-making advances. Like it or not, the West was always in the forefront. Even as the East was exposed to Western culture and science, they have tended to simply adapt or modify what was invented by Westerners rather than lead the way in invention.
And for all of China's vaunted power and its supposed coming dominance, by all appearances it remains very much a third world country in the standard of living and in its societal arrangements. The fact that China produces a certain number of technical geniuses or musical prodigies does not alter that fact.
The reality is that practices like infanticide and forced abortion are not unknown in China, and yes, I know we have a shocking number of abortions, but we are still not on a par with China in matters of respect for human life, or more correctly, lack thereof.
They may emulate us in certain ways, but when you come right down to it, they are of a very different temperament and outlook than Westerners. The liberal multicultists say we cannot judge other cultures or peoples because each culture is valid for the people who live it.
But surely it's self-evident that all peoples and the cultures which they give birth to are not the same, and not interchangeable. And all differences are not 'skin deep', but are matters of spirit and mind and heart. Each group expresses something unique in its culture because each group is unique.
Spengler makes much of the supposed superior talent for classical musicianship among the Chinese. Again, as I said, it is not ''classical music", it is European or Western classical music. It's an art that comes from the soul and heart of the European peoples and their descendants. Other peoples may learn to play the music, but have any non-Westerners ever contributed in any significant way to the composition of this genre of music? And would it be authentic, if they did? They are essentially simply mimicking an alien art form, without being part of the living tradition from which that music springs.
Again, culture is not a suit of clothes or a costume that you can put on to 'become' somebody else, like an actor on a stage. It is part of who you are. Certainly some people do 'assimilate' to another culture, but is it ever really theirs, though they adopt it outwardly?
When I search the You Tube videos for various kinds of music, I've found oddities like bluegrass music played by Japanese people. Apparently there are a number of bluegrass fans in Japan; certainly not as many as there are rock fans in that country. But there are musicians who play bluegrass music. I've watched a few video performances of Japanese bluegrass musicians, even some with bluegrass tunes on the shamisen. It's amusing, and enjoyable by its sheer novelty, but there is a certain rote, mechanical quality about the performance. I am touched, really, that they enjoy our music and that they have taken the trouble to learn to play it, but somehow it does not come across the same. I wonder if someone from such a different culture can really understand bluegrass, at least in an other than technical sense.
I think most Asians would scoff at the idea that an American, or any Westerner, could learn and master their classical styles of music. Perhaps somebody who was a gifted student of their culture could technically master some traditional Chinese instrument like this one but he would likely be seen as only a mimic, not a master of the instrument as a native musician would be.
I've seen many Asian musicians playing Western classical music, some of them technically brilliant. But somehow it comes across as rather rote, technically skilled but rather lacking. This is not to their discredit; I simply think that only Western people can compose true Western classical music, and perhaps only they can perform it with the same spirit that animates the composers of the music.
Of course this is highly subjective on my part -- just as Spengler's adulation of Chinese classical musicians is subjective.
I also fail to see how Spengler jumps from admiring Chinese devotion to classical piano to concluding that they will therefore dominate us. It's a fanciful bit of speculation, or perhaps wishful thinking.
If we are dominated by the Chinese, or anyone else, it will not be because they have bested us in performing our classical music. I understand his point that their mastery of the music reflects their discipline and diligence. But the idea that they have some hidden reservoir of creativity and dynamism that is being released by classical musicianship is rather far-fetched.
To somewhat paraphrase Jeremiah, can the leopard change his spots?
The Chinese have been in existence as a people for thousands of years. It seems that whatever they were capable of accomplishing, they would have long since accomplished by now. I think we have seen their 'creativity'' and 'originality' for centuries, and it has not so far led to world conquest for them.
They are apparently smart enough to have us buying billions of dollars worth of shoddy, cheap, sweatshop-produced junk, but that is more a testament to our dumbing-down than to genius on their part.
If they succeed in dominating us and relegating us to servitude, it will be only by default. It will be because we have been, like Gulliver bound, held back from acting in our own interests, and indoctrinated into stupefaction and passivity.
Meantime, we are foolish if we keep indiscriminately welcoming everybody to our country, like those FReepers quoted above who think only ''culture'' matters.