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The major difference - at least as it seems to me after my time here and with my background of "not" being here - is that in America - and to be fair, other so-called western countries (including my home country Canada) as well to a lesser degree - the focus is on the individual rather than the nation. Not that the various governments can't stimulate a facade of support but it doesn't mean there exists a true feeling of love of country.|
There is admittedly a defense of country, but when push comes to shove, in the above mentioned countries it always comes down to "what's in it for me?" rather than "I should consider the greater good rather than the individual."
In China it is different, but that is in itself indicative. For example, it isn't all that easy to place the good of the nation above the good of the self. That's why so many people from other countries - including China - flock to those "other" countries mentioned above. It's easier. They don't have to think about the good of the nation. They can join in with the others around them and think only of the individual, only of themselves, or, using pinyin to quote a common Guangdong saying "Ziji guan ziji" - "I am concerned about myself."
It is to China's credit (as so very many things are) that so few Chinese people actually do turn their backs on their motherland and run away to a place where they can hide in anonymity and wallow in love-of-self rather than love-of-country.
The government in those "other" countries know this of course - and I commented on it long ago (back in 2004 someplace in the archives). The idea they absorbed from Machiavelli was that if you allow the people to be able to cater to their own base animal instincts and convince them that it is best if they do focus on themselves rather than the country, then the people will accept anything and will not try and change their corrupt ineffective system because that could endanger their freedom to wallow in love-of-self.
That is another reason why I have said so many times that perhaps China has one of the few real governments in the world today. The American model is certainly not a government by any stretch of the imagination. A government does not simply say that it is alright for the individual to be more important than the country. A government "governs" - and at times there are things that need to be done for the good of the country that mean the individual MUST be relegated to a lesser position.
A government is not and must not be in a beauty contest or a popularity contest because to do so eliminates them as a government; and they become simply a tool for those individuals that have the biggest mouths - or bank accounts.
The idiocy in so many countries of allowing vacuous non-governmental groups and religious cults to dictate policy to the majority is exactly that - pure and simple idiocy.
The individual is NOT the be all and end all of a country. Rome tried it and look where it got them.
This "love-of-self" is also far too easily manipulated. Threaten to take away - or suggest that another intends to take it away - the basest animal urges from the individual - their guns, their perversions, their ability to just be concerned about themselves, and they will flock to whomever is spouting the opposite. Tell the people that you will protect their right to be corrupt, perverse, and will entrench their right to individuality rather than try and get them to gravitate to a greater ideal and you will have them hook-line-and-sinker.
Kennedy sort of tried with his "Ask not what your country can do for you but rather what you can do for your country"...and it got him shot.
Americans don't like to even consider or have discussed the possibility that the individual is of lesser importance than the whole - especially if the individual is the one being considered or discussed!
I guess it could all boil down to T-shirts:
American - My country right or wrong!
China - Stand up!
Not all Chinese of course feel this way - but the majority certainly do. The individual must sometimes take a back seat.
This is also not to say that all Americans are pathologically narcissistic. If they were, the well over half of them that have finally realized that the problems they have are and were caused by themselves (or actually by those they mistakenly thought had the best interests of the people at heart rather than the reality of those others having the best interests of their corporate bosses at heart).
This is also how the American corporate governance manipulates the media. Cater to the media's self-granted right to do and say anything they want and they will allow whoever caters to them to continue to exist. Threaten to take that self-granted right away - or deny that it even has any credence - and the media will fall all over themselves to pillory whoever is doing the threatening.
This is actually a good way to identify a forum troll or bunyip. They are always the first ones the mince around blubbering "But what about my freedom of speech" when they have an attack of projectile vomiting that they like to call writing that is used to insult of which they know less than nothing.
The religious cults are exactly the same way - same sh*t, different pile. They gave themselves the right to do whatever they want and as along as they are agreed with they will fawn over whosoever agrees - and attack whomever it is that dares deny them their self-granted godliness.
China is different. Chinese people are different. Vive le Difference!