Originally Posted by TenThousandThings
Menzies' book had no peer review (serious or otherwise) -- it was and is basically a joke to anyone with training in the field, something he lacks entirely. Martin Powers is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. The phenomenon I was talking about has nothing to do with science and technology -- it is about cultural and political practices and ideals, an area China was far ahead of the rest of the world starting around the 11th century. The Manchu invasion in the 17th century and more than two hundred years under their yoke ended China's role in science and technology, but thought and society is another matter. Your comment makes clear you don't know anything about this, which is fine, but don't pretend that China's lack of achievement in science and technology beyond the distant past mean that its culture as a whole is somehow insignificant in the shaping of the modern world. To say so is just foolish -- mistaking ignorance for certainty.
Glad you agree yet you seem uncertain yourself as to what China's decisive, pivotal contribution to American democracy was/is. But you could have mentioned Native American contributions to institutions such as the constitution, which predated any possible by China even if your fantasy scenario were the case, which it's not. As for there being no peer review of Menzies I suggest you start with Gibson http://nabataea.net/1421.html .
In your previous post you allude to (but fail to specify) China's 'invaluable contribution' to the 18th century English Enlightenment, then in your most recent you seem to desperately cite the relative 'enlightened' status of China during Europe's late Dark Ages (Celtic scholarship aside, it's not too difficult to look good compared to anyone's 'Dark Ages'). But this was period which followed by millennia the contributions of Greece and Rome to later European development—civilizations which were as far ahead of China in their times as America was/is in its. Arguably, the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Sumerians, Inca, Khmer, and Indus Valley civilizations were also ahead of China in theirs; i.e. Chinese emissary Zhou Daguan being just as put in his place by the sophistication of Angkor Wat in the 13th century as his 20th century counterparts were by the airplane and radio. In other words, China's 'vast superiority' over all contemporaries throughout its entire history is a Chinese-created myth, and always has been.
The Greeks (via the Moors) for example had far more impact on said European revival (note 'revival' or 'restoration', not 'emergence') than the Chinese, who remained (remain) hidebound by Confucianism not only in terms of scientific development but also in terms of conceptual, ideological and political development—hence why the only 'revolutions' in China were those of the "Cultural" variety circa 1966, the Boxer variety of 1900, or the more recent nationalistic versions of. China's current economic windfall does not stem from some genuine in-house Renaissance—scientific or philosophical—but from patent violations, stolen technology, western scientific R&D, and other economic ideas from the west—the pace of their incorporation into the 'Chinese Miracle 'accelerated by the sucker-punch combo of globalization, the Internet (hacking of western trade secrets, technology transfer agreements, etc.), and the the death-of-a-thousand-cuts meted out to foolish western CEOs blinded by the mirage of exclusive access to Chinese markets. The influence of the west on China has been massively positive for China's GNP, and massively negative for the west. Or do you actually assert that the Great Leap Forward is responsible for the ideas, culture, and products we in the west seem to like—rock music, iPods, social media, and freedom fries?
Your attempt to paint China as the reoccurring savior of the west is diametrically opposed to reality. In the final analysis China was merely one of many players that made a contribution to the medieval world, but it had no more (and actually far less) of an impact on Europe's development than ideas originating from the Americas, or going back in history India and the Fertile Crescent civilizations; but most crucially it was those ideas originating from within Europe itself (Greece, Rome, Italy, England, France, Norway) which proved the most influential.
While this was going on China continued to trudge along at medieval speed due to its own misguided sense of superiority while the west (and to a lesser extent Japan) invented the modern world. This is not a point for debate. Or, to put the massive gap in perspective there were more groundbreaking proofs and inventions in a single Boeing 747 than in all of Chinese technological history combined. What's more, I can't think of a single Chinese political idea that had any direct influence on me or the vast majority of western culture. Confucianism? Taoism? Maoism? I don't think so. Next you'll be telling us it was the Soviets who adapted Chinese Communism and not the other way around, or that the Free Tibet movement is itself a product of Chinese political philosophy 'no doubt' historically grounded in democratic values and a pursuit of human rights.
Then again, none of this is exactly news, is it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18741088
Edited by Radar - 7/9/12 at 4:04am