(An earlier version of this paper was given at a Sinology conference in Beijing at the beginning of November, 2018) Has Western Europe lost its soul? Before beginning, let me set a more personal context. My parents emigrated from the Netherlands to Australia in the late 1950s, so my nationality (or ethnicity) is Dutch, although … Continue reading Has Western Europe Lost Its Soul?
After researching this material more than a decade ago, I did not think I would return to it. I speak of the curious philosophical positions of Alain Badiou – an old French philosopher (older than me) in whom some people happen to be interested. Recently I ran a small seminar on one of his first … Continue reading False Universals: Why Alain Badiou Misunderstands China
‘Do you think Europe – especially Scandinavia – is more socialist than China?’ This question used to be more common 7 or 8 years ago. But it came up recently while I was in Yunnan province, in the far southwest of China. It is of course connected with the impression that Scandinavia had a developed … Continue reading The Socialist Welfare State: A Brief (and Intriguing) History
This is the third part of a draft concerning the philosophical basis of Deng Xiaoping Theory. In the previous two parts I dealt with liberating thought as the correct theoretical line and with democratic centralism. The topic here is a crucial feature of Deng theory, seeking truth from facts, which also has an element that … Continue reading Liberating Thought, Part 3: Seeking Truth From Facts
One of the standard lines you hear out these days is that East Germany never went through a proper process of ‘denazification’ (Entnazifizierung), unlike the good people in the West. Instead, goes the narrative, nearly all the ex-nazis in the east simply joined the new communist government, which explains the ‘totalitarian regime’, the dreaded Stasi … Continue reading Denazification, East and West
The DDR was an ‘inhumane regime’, one that built a wall in 1961 to stop the whole population fleeing to the ‘freedom’ of the West, a land flowing with milk and honey and useless consumer goods. Or so the sustained propaganda would have us believe, propagated by those who invaded and occupied East Germany and … Continue reading Was West Germany really a beacon of freedom?