Blogs > Liberty and Power > On the Death of Ba Jin

Oct 19, 2005 11:41 am

On the Death of Ba Jin

The great Chinese anarchist writer, <a href+”,1280,-5349362,00.html”>Ba Jin</a> died, October 17th, at the age of 100.

In all of the nonsense written about the “clash” of Civilizations, it is amazing how little effort is given over to exploring the “borrowing” back and forth, for better and for worse, between cultures and nations.

In viewing, for example, the excellent presentations at the recent Mises Institute conference on Fascism, I saw nothing about Fascism in China or Japan, surely as important as Argentina.

One cannot understand Japanese history since 1945, for instance, without realizing that New Dealers in the Occupation helped bring Fascist bureaucrats back from Manchukuo to run the Finance Ministry in Tokyo because they both hated corporations.

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William Marina - 10/22/2005

The Philosophes were, of course, much influenced by China, as were most of the Enlightenment thinkers including Jefferson, the info coming via the writings of Jesuits returning from the Middle Kingdom.

Kenneth R Gregg - 10/20/2005

I should have been more familiar with Ba Jin, but I was not. An error which I will correct. I used to read some writings on Chinese anarchism years ago, but did not continue. Your article is a good reminder to us all.

I've been working on a piece on the polymath Diderot. He was too smart for his time, and realized (after being jailed for his honesty) that his libertarianism was best written pseudononymously, such as in the underground classic of his time, "The History of the Two Indies" (about 700 pages of the work was his). Originally a supporter of the physiocrats, he eventually came out in opposition to them because they were insufficiently free-trade and supporters of a benevolent dictator notions (much the same problem that he had with Voltaire).

His views about politics and culture were far too dialectical in approach (reminds me of Sciabarra, although I don't think that Chis has read him) for most to pigeon-hole him, but as he aged, he became more open and radical in his stances. In the last of his writings, "Essai sur les regnes de Claude et the Neron" he was to say to his fellow philosophers, "What use is philosopy if it is silent? You must either speak out, or renounce the title of teacher of the human race."

Ba Jin would have certainly approved of this.

Just a thought.
Just Ken