Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

This, exactly. It was a huge surprise to find that asian people do not think of themselves as equals. Incidentally this is also one of the reasons democracy is struggling here, in my opinion.



Don't think it is an equality thing.

If I were to distill it into one central theme, it would be centered on how each culture views and values conflict.

The principles of the US has themes of "cooperation by conflict". Voting is the entire population fighting each other in a controlled setting. The 3 body system of checks and balances uses conflict as the central mean to prevent power accumulation.

Rationalism is the underlying reason for this acceptance of conflict. A dictionary definition: "Rationalism is the practice or principle of basing opinions and actions on reason and knowledge rather than on religious belief or emotional response."

From an emotional perspective, conflict is seen as detrimental, tearing down relationships, creating unresolvable discord and enmity, and the possibility to lose control over territory, position and power. However, from a rational perspective, conflict is positive. It puts the most logical, structural, or prevailing idea to the top.

The American revolutionists had gone through a lot. The history of western Europe was one where your lives were in the hands of emotional kings who could reward you one day and behead you the next without rhyme or reason. They were under the excessive, unchecked power of Britain, exhibited time and again through taxation without representation. They saw how much control the Bank of England had over the commonwealth. It was a time of rampant monopolies, major powers that had consolidated all control, and where conflict was an affront to power.

Because of all this, they baked conflict into the system.


As a narrative about how the US works, that's a great story.

As an east vs west philosophy debate, it completely fails to recognise that European cultures have also "baked conflict into the system".

It also fails to recognise that SE Asian cultures were also colonised by European powers.

A better explanation is that the American values were straight-up inherited from European ones because America (and Australia similarly) was wiped clean of indigenous culture during colonisation, while SE Asian countries were not. Better because it explains why all "western" cultures share these values, and why SE Asian cultures do not.


not sure how Europe got in this, was comparing American values versus Asian values. Conflict is the center of attention in American values (you could say western values, I don't know enough about modern European sentiment to say that). Conflict is indirect in Asian values.

Do you mean that American values aren't so anti-European that I depicted, or rather are derived from European values? I think I allude to it with rationalism, which originates from Europe. The history of European civilization is the foundation and backdrop for American ideals.

As much as America has tried to lay a foundation for a better western civilization, I think a mature modern America still has the problems that they were running away from in 18th century Europe - power eventually gets consolidated and individualism is compromised despite the checks and balances against it.


This: "The American revolutionists had gone through a lot. The history of western Europe was one where your lives were in the hands of emotional kings who could reward you one day and behead you the next without rhyme or reason. They were under the excessive, unchecked power of Britain, exhibited time and again through taxation without representation. They saw how much control the Bank of England had over the commonwealth. It was a time of rampant monopolies, major powers that had consolidated all control, and where conflict was an affront to power."

this ignores the fact that Britain has also "baked conflict into the system", and that Britain shares an idealogical framework with Europe, that America inherited, but SE Asia did not.




Applications are open for YC Winter 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: