Monday, June 23, 2008

Asian versus Am. View regarding Politics -- easy quizzes

Do you hold an Asian or American view regarding politics?
Take 4 easy quizzes.

1) What a presidential election is about:
Asian View: To vote for the best candidate according to national interest, although what national interest is could vary widely according to individuals.
Am. View: To maximize one's own self interest or enlightened self interest.

2) Standard for judging if Affirmative Action (AA) is good/bad?
Asian View: The standard is whether AA serves the national interest, although what national interest is may vary widely from "need to correct historic wrongs" to "meritocracy is supreme." Am View: what is best for one's own self interest or enlightened self interest.


If the above representation of the American view regarding politics is correct, how could the US survive if most Americans are for their self interest, enlightened or otherwise?

Answer: America applies the principle of market economy to politics. That is, let every individual/group/community maximize his/her/its own interest. The struggle between different interests will create the "checks and balances" which shall serve as the "invisible hand" guiding the conflicting interests towards the the best interest of the nation.

Question: Is there evidence that American politics is centered upon "self interest comes first"?

Evidence: When obsolete military bases are to be closed to eliminate waste, every senator/congressman will state: "Obsolete military bases should be closed, but not the ones in my state/district, because they are still serving vital functions." Why? Because in American politics, one is expected to take care of self-interest first.

Question: Any evidence that educated Americans hold the same belief?

Evidence: President John Adams said, "It is not true, in fact, that any people ever existed who love the public better than themselves." President John F. Kennedy referring to the heroes in his book "Profiles in Courage" wrote, "not because they 'loved the public better than themselves.' (but) because they did love themselves -- because each one's need to maintain his own respect for himself was more important to him than (a list of other needs)."

3) View towards a political action committee e.g. 80-20 PAC:
Asian View: 80-20 seems politically effective in fighting for the rightful concerns of the Asian Amercian community, but 80-20's approach to politics is so different from the politics practiced in Asia.
Am. View: How can a small minority of recent immigrants like the Asian Am community not have at least one organization like 80-20? How else is the smallest immigrant minority to defend its rights in the rough and tumble world of politics?

4) Attitude towards High Officials:
Asian View: High officials are like parents to whom we should respect & devote. Many Asians subconsciously expect high officials to whom they've donated generously to "take care" of them when they are in real need. They expect the officials (acting as parents) to come to their aid (suffering as children in need). Is such an expectation realistic? Not in America!
Am View: Officials, high or low in ranking, are public servants who are subject to reward or punishment by American citizens who are the bosses. They expect law to be applied equally.

Concluson: While being proud of our Asian heritage, when it come to politics, do as Americans do.

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Warmest regards,

S.B. Woo
President, 80-20 Educational Foundation, Inc.