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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Enlightenment and China

A recent article in the Economist mentioned the US and Europe need to have better relations so the can propagate the ideas of the enlightenment, since in the next 20 years other world powers will be shaping the world (the comment is at the end of the article).

So which powers - my guess is China and India. Both have major challenges and have made amazing progress economically. Other nations have expanding populations that are definitely going to have an impact on the world, but I don't see the educated population and working governments needed to compete in the world economically in them.

The question I have, is what does the enlightenment really mean?

For me, it refers to when people were given the knowledge due to the printing press and had the ability to start questioning the world they lived in., which is also known as the age of reason. With the increased ability of filtering the Internet and other communication vehicles, it limits the information people give. This could be seen as a threat to the foundation of Western Thought, in those countries that put such filters in place (and they are becoming increasingly popular). These filters allow an elite to control their populations through controlling information. The enlightenment is also seen as the foundation that created democracy, replaced superstition with science, and reduced intolerance. Some countries have the belief their citizens need to be guided, so there is an avoidance of what happened in the USSR when it fell apart and became just Russia.

For the European Diplomat, my guess is it refers to democracy, human rights, and individual freedom.

My daughter recently studied the enlightenment in her European AP class and guess who helps her study - yes, the Father with the History Teaching Credential, so it was fun to write this.

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