Friday, March 13, 2009

The owl of Minerva follows the gunboats

During the decades following the Qing Restoration of the 1860s, leading personalities, both Manchu and Chinese, tried to adapt Western devices and institutions. This movement ... was posited on the attractive though misleading doctrine of "Chinese learning as the fundamental structure, Western learning for practical use" -- as though Western arms, steamships, science, and technology could somehow be utilized to preserve Confucian values. In retrospect we can see that gunboats and steel mills bring their own philosophy with them.

-- John King Fairbank, China: A New History, chapter 11.

No comments:

Post a Comment