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Missive #208

“In 1988, a young Chinese man traveled to the United States on an academic research trip. During his six month stay he visited 30 cities and 20 universities throughout the country. Upon the conclusion of his trip, he authored a book called America versus America, which described the contradictions of the American political and socio-economic system, as well as a critique of capitalism and democracy.

That young man was Wang Huning, who is currently a member of the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee (China’s top decision-making body) and the first-ranked secretary of the CCP’s Secretariat. He has been called the “Grey Eminence” of the CCP. This book may be widely read by high level Chinese political figures and bureaucrats but it is American political figures that need to be reading it. Tocqueville wrote about America after his visit in the 1830 and is frequently quoted but Wang Huning has not been. It is sad that he has not. He had more to say about America in the 1980s and what its future might be than what Tocqueville said. I recommend this book! As such, Wang is believed to be the chief ideologue of the Chinese Communist Party and the principal conductor behind the official political ideologies of three paramount leaders beginning with Jiang Zemin in the 1990s. 30 years later Wang is still helping to formulate Chinese domestic and foreign policy at the highest levels.

This book is an attempt by a scholar to explain the reasons behind the success of the United States in the 20th century, as well as offer a critical take on the various structural problems that were already facing the US in the 1990s. It offers a brief outlook of why the US is potentially heading toward a decline. Although America Against America was first published in 1991, more than 30 years ago, it is still widely read amongst high level Chinese political figures and bureaucrats. Any serious student of US-China relations will benefit greatly from reading this book that remains at the core of Chinese strategic thinking vis-à-vis the United States.” — Book promo @ Amazon

The problem facing many countries around the world today is a crisis of trust in the foundations of the system among the younger generation. If this problem is not addressed, the system will face challenges. The historical evolution of Amana is a very good example of this: the result of the interaction of two systems that influence each other. Amana eventually chose the dominant values of the United States because it was too weak, politically, economically and culturally, to overcome modern capitalism, which was stronger than it in every way. The fact that Amana is now a National Historic Preservation Site is what makes it most meaningful. It teaches that in such an environment, any other choice of values becomes history. When the prevailing dominant American values will become history depends on whether there is a stronger alternative.

The War of Independence pushed equality to a new level, and subsequent developments have continued to advance political equality. But equality in the economic and social spheres has been slow to advance because it is considered to be in the realm of liberty, and freedom is inviolable, especially the right to freedom of private property. Americans accept only equality of conditions, not equality of results. Once equality of conditions is established, then comes the realm of liberty. Many Americans affirm that conditional equality has been achieved and that any further talk of equality can only be about equality of results, which is an important reason why freedom has become the dominant value today. In today’s world of individualism, equality can hardly be the dominant value.

In the face of some intricate social and cultural problems, Americans tend to think of it as a scientific and technological problem. Or it is a matter of money (which is a result of the spirit of commercialism), rather than a matter of people, of subjectivity. This is also true in the political sphere. The approach to the growth of Soviet power was to desperately develop equipment superior to Soviet weapons systems, including the eventual proposed Star Wars program. The way to deal with terrorism is to strike the other side with advanced attack forces. The way to deal with threats in international waters is a powerful and well-equipped fleet. The way to deal with regimes you don’t like is to provide the opposition with a lot of advanced weaponry. The most typical illustration of this is the equipment that disabled people get, automatically guided wheelchirs, automated bedside service equipment, and glasses that guide the blind. People with disabilities are free to move around. But as human beings, their problems are not solved. This is also true in the field of politics and international relations.

It is important to have a union of a man and a woman to form a family. For most American men and women, this union does not interfere with the privacy of each of them. Many couples treat each other with respect and do not interfere with each other’s privacy. This pattern of relationship between them is not acceptable in China or Japan. Men and women are consultative on many issues, and it sounds like two people who don’t know each other very well are talking about one thing. Of course, there exist harmonious families. The development of American conjugal life to this point is the result of a society that has long pursued individualism. Americans have been trained in this way since childhood and regard this value as more important than any other value. On the other hand, as a result of this long-term education, have become less adept at dealing with people and no longer live with them. I personally believe that this is a problem for the future of American society. Marriage does not break the fortress that is built in everyone’s heart, especially young couples. Older couples seem to need to rely on each other more and pay less attention to maintaining the inner barrier.

Aristotle said more than 2,000 years ago that the family is the cell of society. In the years since the war, the cell, the family, has disintegrated in the United States. On the surface, the family is still the cell of society, but in reality, the real cell of society in the United States is the individual. Family organization and the concept of the family are accelerating this process of disintegration. The overly traditional family is too tightly bound to the individual and is not conducive to his or her development. But is an excessively loose family conducive to social progress? The family could have reconciled a number of interpersonal conflicts and relationships. After the family is divided, these conflicts will have to be left to society.

What has been the impact of the change in the concept of the family, and the loosening of its organization, in society, and has it contributed to social development, or the opposite? This question deserves to be studied. The development of individualism has resulted in concerns about who will take family responsibilities seriously. A frequent problem for young couples is how to resolve family responsibilities. In small and medium-sized cities and families in the countryside, I think the concept of family is still relatively strong. Those with higher education are also clearer about family responsibilities. Although the American social mechanism makes it clear that children are not dependent, responsible parents still do their part to raise their children to adulthood. However, the concept of individualism and private domain is so deeply rooted that it also hangs over family relationships. I think this family spirit – individualism and private domain – makes family relationships more difficult to adjust, and there is more Tension in the family. It is difficult for parents to manage older children, even though the parents may be right. Parents sometimes have difficulty considering the wishes of their children because they have to maintain their own private sphere. Problems can arise between couples for the same reasons.

I am trying this up for my post and and then will try to send it to my primary caregiver (my doctor) at the Sierra Vista VA Clinic.

We spoke last time about me practicing medicine. I just want to add that I’m all self taught and the teacher is incompetent. The probiotic supplements have not provided a preventive and I had another psoriasis flare on 25 January 2024 with all the usual symptoms. This one really laid me low from noon until the next morning, all I wanted to do was sleep. I have stated the Ibuprofen cycle and will have completed it by the time the next blood test is taken so I predict that all the inflammation markers will be in the normal range then.

Some further comments that we can talk about more in April. I’ll finish the probiotic refill that I just received but no more. I do believe the research that finds a correlation between the gut biotics and inflammation but the supplements don’t seem to act as a preventive.

I said that I would pay more attention to my resting heart rate hoping to get an early warning signal that a flare was imminent; sort of like predicting earthquakes and hurricanes. The research has found a correlation between them. So, my 7 day rolling average resting heart rate (as measured by a Garmin heart watch: calculated using the lowest 30 minute average in a 24 hour period.) was in a range of 41-44 bpm with a reading of 43 the night before the flare. Relying on the 7 day average is not working, the reading was 46 soon after the flare. I think I need to pay attention to the lowest RHR shown for a moving 4 hour period which is also show on the watch. With perfect hindsight I can now see that the lowest the RHR was starting about 24 hours before the flare was in the upper 50s and lower 60s with a 59 average for the day of the flare.

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