By Joel Fetzer, J Christopher Soper
Responding to the “Asian values” debate over the compatibility of Confucianism and liberal democracy, Confucianism, Democratization, and Human Rights in Taiwan, via Joel S. Fetzer and J. Christopher Soper, deals a rigorous, systematic research of the contributions of Confucian notion to democratization and the safety of girls, indigenous peoples, and press freedom in Taiwan. depending upon a distinct blend of empirical research of public opinion surveys, legislative debates, public college textbooks, and interviews with best Taiwanese political actors, this crucial learn files the altering position of Confucianism in Taiwan’s fresh political historical past. whereas the ideology mostly strengthened authoritarian rule long ago and performed little position in Taiwan’s democratization, the idea procedure is now within the means of remodeling itself in a pro-democratic course. not like those that argue that Confucianism is inherently authoritarian, the authors contend that Confucianism is able to a number of interpretations, together with ones that valid democratic kinds of executive. At either the mass and the elite degrees, Confucianism continues to be a strong ideology in Taiwan regardless of or perhaps end result of the island’s democratization. Borrowing from Max Weber’s sociology of faith, the writers supply a particular theoretical argument for a way an ideology like Confucianism can concurrently accommodate itself to modernity and stay trustworthy to its middle teachings because it decouples itself from the country. In doing so, Fetzer and Soper argue, Confucianism is behaving very like Catholicism, which moved from a place of ambivalence or maybe competition to democracy to at least one of complete aid. the result of this research have profound implications for different Asian nations comparable to China and Singapore, that are additionally Confucian yet haven't but made a whole transition to democracy.
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Additional info for Confucianism, Democratization, and Human Rights in Taiwan
Even as staunch and persuasive a defender of Confucianism as Wm. Theodore de Bary (1998:156) has questioned whether the Confucian record on the treatment of women provides any opportunity to make a case for western notions of gender rights. What little discourse exists about women in these documents suggests that Confucius held a traditional opinion about gender roles. xxv), for example, the Master is quoted as saying “Of all the people, girls and servants are the most difficult to behave to. If you are familiar with them, they lose their humility.
It is also important to note that what one mostly gets from a close reading of Confucius on the status of women is silence. It is a subject that is hardly touched on at all in any of the foundational documents. The rigid sexism and institutional discrimination against women that developed in East Asia after his death was more a product of the Confucian tradition, and in particular the NeoConfucianism of the Song Dynasty, than it was a necessary byproduct of what Confucius himself actually taught about the role and status of women (Yao 2000:183; Chang 2009:6).
Is a similar process under way at the elite level, where an authoritarian Confucianism once held sway? This chapter opens with a brief history of the democracy movement in Taiwan. Following this account, we offer an interpretation of the Confucian texts on the four political variables that we highlight throughout the book: democratization, indigenous people’s rights, women’s rights, and press freedoms. We find that Confucianism offers competing narratives on these political values; depending on how one reads the tradition, Confucianism can either be an aid or a hindrance to the promotion of these principles.
Confucianism, Democratization, and Human Rights in Taiwan by Joel Fetzer, J Christopher Soper