Kim Ku Speech

From an old archived post at Phil Cotsford’s locomote site, I found a link to a speech by Kim Ku which is somewhat interesting in its discussion of the relation between Confucianism, fascism, and modernization.

4 thoughts on “Kim Ku Speech

  1. I’ve recently been wondering about the philosophical connections between Confucianism and Fascism. I just got finished reading a book written in English by a Chinese author writing during the early period of WWI. He seemed to offer Confucianism and “the Chinese way” as a means of saving Western civilization. As he saw it, the “mob culture”–what you or I would call democracy–was actually causing Western civilization to fall apart, and WWI demonstrated this.

    It seemed to me an incredibly skewed perspective and paid little respect to the philosophical roots of progress in the West, but it gave me some interesting insights into a specifically Chinese way of thinking. The situation in South Korea is probably different, but in China most young people have this sort of awesome view of Adolf Hitler. If you mention his name in class, they all become very interested and when you question them about this, they’ll even start to call him a “great man.”

    Initially, I was appalled and then I started to take this as meaning they understood the fact that he influenced the course of history, but after reading this book I feel there may be some deeper connection. One of the things the author mentions is that the essential root of Confucianism is loyalty. In one word, that’s what the entire system hinges upon. That may also be what the students admire.

    I find it all kind of spooky, especially since the author was writing before Hitler’s rise to power.

  2. What’s the name of the book, Matt? I am very curious, and would love to get my hands on that book.

    And yeah, there’s a small number of Korean students who think of Hitler as a “great man”, usually stating that he was good for the German economy and a “strong leader”. I point out that he led genocides, started the worst war in world history, was an ally of Japan (who’d colonized Korea and is still hated, in a sort of detached way), and would have had no compunction about in putting Koreans in furnaces and making lampshades from their skin.

    These poor schmucks usually don’t have much to say after that.

  3. Sorry I would have written that earlier but I forgot his name at the time. The book is called “The Spirit of the Chinese People” and the author’s name is Ku Hung-Ming. You can see a picture of the cover along with a brief summary here. Some of the things he says are really shocking but if you don’t let yourself get too pissed off at him, it sort of comes together the further you go. I’m still not completely sure what to think of it, though.

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