February 16, 2012

Meet the New Confucianism, Same as the Old

Peter Berger, American Interest

On February 5, 2012, the New York Times carried a story about a Confucian academy in South Korea. It is one of some 150 such academies (seawon) in the country. Their main program consists of retreats, especially for schoolchildren. The program, apparently quite rigorous, is to provide training in moral behavior and etiquette (the two are closely related in Confucian thought). Park Seok-hong, head of a large academy originally founded in 1543, explained the basic assumption of these programs: “We may have built our economy, but our morality is on the verge of collapse.”

It is not a new lament. It recurs in many countries, including Western ones, wherever modernization has led to economic development, but also to a weakening of traditional...

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TAGGED: China, Confucius