Chinese President Xi’s “Secret Philosopher” Analyzed America And His Findings Could Reverse Our Country’s Decline
October 23, 2021 (1mo ago)

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China’s rise presents the US with a rival that is harder to understand than any who came before. China, with its challenging language, thousands of years of civilization, and bespoke mixture of Marxism with local innovations, is far more alien than Britain, Germany, or Russia could ever be. Even Japan, with its aggressive adoption of Western mores since the 1860s, is far more comprehensible than “The Middle Kingdom,” as the Chinese call themselves.

It’s no surprise then that Western takes on China, its goals, and its priorities often feel more like guesswork than substantive analyses.

But Americans hoping to understand the new global superpower have one excellent asset: a hitherto unknown power behind Xi’s throne has written an entire book revealing exactly what he thinks of America.

The book is America Against America by Wang Huning, the secretive grey eminence of the Chinese Communist Party.

Anybody who wants to understand modern China, how it sees America, and how it plans to overtake America by avoiding America’s mistakes, has a duty to familiarize themselves with this book. And anyone who wishes to reverse America’s decline would be well-served studying Wang’s thought. 

A recent article in Palladium profiled Wang at length:

Wang Huning much prefers the shadows to the limelight. An insomniac and workaholic, former friends and colleagues describe the bespectacled, soft-spoken political theorist as introverted and obsessively discreet. It took former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin’s repeated entreaties to convince the brilliant then-young academic—who spoke wistfully of following the traditional path of a Confucian scholar, aloof from politics—to give up academia in the early 1990s and join the Chinese Communist Party regime instead. When he finally did so, Wang cut off nearly all contact with his former connections, stopped publishing and speaking publicly, and implemented a strict policy of never speaking to foreigners at all. Behind this veil of carefully cultivated opacity, it’s unsurprising that so few people in the West know of Wang, let alone know him personally.

Yet Wang Huning is arguably the single most influential “public intellectual” alive today.

A member of the CCP’s seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, he is China’s top ideological theorist, quietly credited as being the “ideas man” behind each of Xi’s signature political concepts, including the “China Dream,” the anti-corruption campaign, the Belt and Road Initiative, a more assertive foreign policy, and even “Xi Jinping Thought.

Wang’s role as a top ideological theorist of a rising superpower would be interesting no matter what, but it is even more so thanks to the events of the last six months. Along with its growing economic and military power, China has also launched a dramatic social engineering effort meant to avoid the catastrophic social rot that has gripped America, South Korea, and other wealthy nations. Over the last few months, China has:

  • Limited children to three hours of video games a week.
  • Shut down the private school tutoring industry.
  • Banned TV shows starring “sissy” men and all reality TV shows starring the children of celebrities.
  • Restricted advertising for expensive cosmetic surgery.

As Revolver wrote last month:

This isn’t simply an effort to impose a more “serious” or “masculine” ideal on the population, and it’s not an attempt to crack down on fun. In fact, there appears to be a serious intention on the part of Chinese authorities to create a more balanced, healthy, and happier nation. In other words, a stark contrast to the dying, decrepit, neurotic malaise they see spreading in Westernized countries.

From his seat on the Standing Committee, Wang is likely a driving force behind these initiatives. And if he is, then the roots of this campaign are fueled by the understanding of the US he shows in America Against America. 

Wang wrote the book in 1991, three years after a stint as a visiting scholar at the University of Iowa. His purpose for visiting and for writing the books was straightforward.

Wang explains in the book’s opening pages:

The “Chinese phenomenon” is why this ancient civilization with a long history of more than 2,000 years has declined in the modern era. Why is it lagging behind the modern nations of the world?

The “American phenomenon” has a different dimension, and people wonder why this nation, with a short history of only two hundred years, has become the world’s leading developed country today. I believe that a scholar living in the twentieth century has a responsibility to study these two phenomena. As a Chinese scholar, he has a dual responsibility to study both the “Chinese phenomenon” and the “American phenomenon. In this way, he can better understand himself and the world, and better explore the path to China’s strength.

Like Tocqueville’s Democracy in America a century and a half before him, Wang’s book is an insightful snapshot of a country the rest of the world was fascinated by. The vast majority of the book is purely descriptive, as Wang assesses everything from America’s urban-rural divide to its manner of conducting presidential elections.

Wang’s visit in 1988 came at the moment of America’s absolute apex as a global economic, cultural, and military superpower. As he wrote his book, the Soviet Union was not merely humbled but destroyed. America appeared invincible, yet beneath this façade of impenetrable strength Wang found critical vulnerabilities.

“We can say that the United States is a stable and developing society, but we can also say that the United States is a crisis-ridden society,” says Wang.

To understand the crisis Wang identifies is to understand why he has pointed China down the path he has. And to recognize them is to see a way forward for America as well.

Wang sees America in a values death spiral

Impressively, Wang is enormously well-read on American culture. At the time he wrote America Against America, he had clearly read more about American politics and society than most American PhDs. Wang’s book is littered with summaries of American books that the typical Chinese reader has likely never heard of.

Near the end of his book, Wang speaks positively and at length about Allen Bloom’s book The Closing of the American Mind, and mulls whether a “spiritual crisis” exists at the heart of American society, even as America externally seems at the apex of its success.

Bloom’s main idea is that today’s university education no longer enables its subjects to grasp the traditional values that founded Western society.

[In the 1950s], cultural relativism succeeded in destroying the idea of Western centrism, but at the same time weakened the status of Western culture. Dominated by this spirit, university education resulted in young people with no concept of the past and no view of the future. The universities responsible for conducting higher education do not provide knowledge of the glorious history of Western philosophy and literature. Students are unable to understand the order of nature and man’s place in it through this knowledge. Universities do not provide the self-awareness needed for a serious learning process.

What is the result? The younger generation knows very little about the classic works of Western history. Bloom said that once in class he asked his students what book had impressed them most, and surprisingly none could name a masterpiece. One person said the Bible, but this book is not taught in college.

Students watch “Kramer vs. Kramer” to learn about divorce and sexuality, but few saw “Anna Karenina” or “The Red and the Black” as indispensable in their own lives. Feminists are the enemies of the classic writings.

[A]ll literature is gendered, and how could writers of the past, Socrates, Plato, Shakespeare, Rousseau, Tolstoy, Stendhal, have the ideas of today’s feminism. With many forces at work, the classical masterpieces have become yesterday’s flowers.

Wang echoes Bloom’s description of a vast “nihilism” gripping America’s college-educated young adults, a worldview that could conceive of no unifying, bedrock truths and consequently has nothing to build society on top of.

The decline of the traditional value system of the West will eventually hit democracy. There is no value system in society that can be used as a value system to guide individual decisions, and university education does not provide such a system. There is a very close relationship between ideas and social development, and when ideas end, so do the social institutions and ways of behaving guided by such ideas.

As Wang visits various American cities, he sees the ramifications of this nihilism everywhere. Even though America is far wealthier than China, it has more drug addiction, far more crime, and its families are crumbling apart.

But instead of seeking values-based solutions to these problems, Wang’s America sees these problems as technological puzzles that can be solved with the right program, the right invention, or if all else fails, a boatload of money:

In the face of intricate social and cultural problems, Americans tend to think of them as scientific and technological problems. 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.

Remember, Wang wrote the above in 1991! Is it any surprise that China has stood aside in bemused silence while America has expended its wealth and well-being on decades-long wars to stamp out ephemeral dangers like “terrorism”?

Wang sees American “democracy” as transactional to the point of being fake

Early in the book, Wang writes:

The United States is also generally considered to be a Western democracy, and a typical Western democracy at that, and Americans are proud of it. The Constitution, election campaigns, separation of powers, citizen participation in politics, and so on and so forth show one side of this system, but on the other side, can commoners really dominate the politics of this country? My analysis in this book shows that the powerful groups that dominate politics are above the common people.

Often, Wang’s analysis feels constrained by the need to affirm Marxist doctrine. and the above is but one example. While corporate power does allow the rich to stand above “the common people,” any American knows that US politics isn’t that simple. The Globalist American Empire empowers many who are nominally not very wealthy and disenfranchises many who are.

Still, Wang is correct that American political culture has created a governing elite that is above and apart from the masses who nominally “elect” them. Wang is plainly fascinated by America’s network of lobbyists and activists who wield enormous influence over a small class of elected lawmakers.

Lobbyists are a very important phenomenon in American political life, and one cannot ignore this important area in understanding American politics.

There is nothing derogatory or dishonorable about the concept of lobbyists, and it is not sneaky or unseen. The lobbyists, all of them, were visible, even powerful. Frank Cummings wrote a book called Capitol Hill Manual. In this book, the author sagely teaches Congressmen that although many historical stories contain the implication that “lobbying” is a dirty word, there is no sin here. It is essential.

Wang highlights the range of interests that lobbyists can represent: Not just social welfare groups like labor unions or environmental organizations, but also private companies and even foreign nations (Wang cites AIPAC as one of the single most effective lobbies in the country). Interestingly, Wang also describes executive advisers to the president as, essentially, the president’s own “lobbyists” for negotiating with Congress, in direct cooperation (or competition) with those of private actors.

Wang clearly finds lobbyists to be an intriguing specimen of representative government. He tells the Chinese how lobbyists don’t just speak to lawmakers, but also conduct research, testify at hearings, draft legislation, make alliances with other lobbyists, and even answer letters from constituents. Their activities are so accepted that their behavior is governed by decades-old law, though Wang notes the law is “extremely flawed” and allows many who claim to not be lobbyists to still operate as such.

Ultimately, Wang sees America’s lobbying system as market capitalism imported to politics, with some advantages, but also crippling disadvantages:

One of the characteristics of American society is that the political arena has been turned into a big commodity market, and politics has become a kind of trading market like the economic market. You can sell your own “products” or buy other people’s products in it. Politicians bargain in it, you compete with each other.

The advantages are that in political competition it is generally easier to sell quality products, which forces those who want to compete to come up with good products. On the other hand, large companies can monopolize the market, promote their own products or promote inferior products, and obtain “monopoly profits”.

Another cultural factor reflected in this is the secularization of politics.

People engage in politics like anything else, such as doing business, scientific research, making money, etc. There is little sense that politics has a special status.

Ultimately, what Wang alludes to here is the reality of state capture. Because American politics is so transactional and so exposed to outside forces, the state can become the domain of powerful outside interests rather than a central authority secure enough in its power to seek the good of the entire country.

No doubt, Wang is unsurprised that in 2021 defense contractors shape foreign policy, tech monopolies set their own regulations, and the elite press dictates America’s level of censorship. And Americans in turn should not be surprised that in China, the Communist Party wants to ensure that no institution will ever be in position to contest its ultimate control of policy.

Interested readers might like to consult Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, and assess how Wang’s observations about out of control commodification fulfill Tocqueville’s concerns about a specific type of “manufacturing aristocracy” that could arise in America. See in particular, Democracy in America Book II Section II Chapter XX.

Wang saw American society as increasingly incapable of reproducing the prosperity it depends on to survive

Wang finds many praiseworthy things about America. He admires how energetic and visionary its people can be, he admires the speed and innovation of its companies (Wang spends several pages marveling at the wonders of travel agencies), and he is awed by how much the country has accomplished in its short history.

At the time he wrote the book, Wang was clearly a visitor from a backwards society, deeply impressed by America yet also willing to lend a critical eye.

Yet precisely because he came from a country where the basics of life could not be taken for granted, Wang saw that flaws in our value system would erode the bedrock of America’s security and well-being.

When Wang traveled to America, the China he left behind was still 80 percent rural. Even today, 40 percent of Chinese live in the countryside, compared to 20 percent in America. Wang spends many pages early in the book breaking down America’s urban/rural divide and focusing in particular on the decline of farming in American life.

For Wang, one of the most remarkable things about America is, quite simply, that in America farmers are middle-class.

The farm I visited was one of many farms and was very typical. There were only two people in the farm owner’s family, he and his wife. The son was away at college and working in another state. In the middle of a large open field, they had a very nice house, in comparison with the house seen in the city, almost. The house had all kinds of modern equipment and everything, such as telephone, electricity, running water, etc.

This is a phenomenon worth discussing. Generally speaking, no matter where you go, this basic equipment is always available. There are times when you walk a long way to meet a family. This family will not lack anything. Various companies are also willing to provide services for this family, which actually kind of pays for itself. In terms of living conditions, the farmer is no less than anyone else. A “farmer” is, in fact, a farm owner. The farm is private and the land is private. When you talk about farms, you should never use the Chinese concept. We may have thousands of people on a farm; in the United States there are usually only two or three people.

Wang raves about the productivity of an American farm: A single farmer can raise thousands of pigs, plant hundreds of acres, and even run an agricultural bank in his spare time, all while remaining an active member of wider society as well.

Yet Wang also sees the problems of America’s system. Despite their middle class status, farmers live a tenuous existence, dependent on mechanized equipment whose cost might equal several years of output from their fields. But more importantly, farming is simply something most Americans don’t want to do.

Pig farming can be described as dirty and smelly. This farm is highly automated, but dirt and odors cannot be excluded. Pigs do not know about cleanliness, there is no way out. When we visited the pig shed, the stench was so bad that it was discouraging. But the farm owner had to do it. He said that after work every day, it takes several showers to wash the smell away. This is something that I’m afraid not many people can accept in the United States.

The third is the boredom of the younger generation, which aspires to urban life due to the above-mentioned problems and the attraction of big cities. City life has cultural and recreational facilities that are not available in the countryside. This farm owner told me that he was devastated when his son graduated from college and told him he didn’t want to come back for a while. But he believed he would come back eventually. If he doesn’t come back, the farm will be a problem because he has only one son and there is no one to succeed him.

[T]he high output of agricultural production ensures the stability of political and social life. Imagine what will happen one day when Americans do not have enough food.

One senses that, in the world Wang grew up in, there were millions of people who would be perfectly happy to stay on a farm all their lives, if it didn’t mean living on $300 a year and having a tapeworm infestation. Yet as he stares into American society, Wang recognizes there is something about modernity, something about the prosperity American capitalism creates, that makes people unsuited and unwilling to farm, and that this unwillingness is only distantly related to money.

Wang’s perceptive eye sees the long-term crisis that could be brewing. American political stability fundamentally depends on the unthinking, automatic availability of basic goods, food first of all. But what happens if those skilled farmers who make America’s land so productive with so little labor fade away?

Wang was right to worry. The average American farmer is 57.5 years old, and in dozens of counties the typical farmer is over 60. As these farmers age, America isn’t just losing workers. It’s losing a huge reservoir of experience and ability, something that can’t simply be replaced by importing former subsistence farmers from Oaxaca.

For Wang, the crisis goes beyond food production. It’s about a society capable of evolving such that critical knowledge and critical roles are no longer replenished, where demoralized youth flock to cities or pursue easier, service-based careers in search of a way of life that, thanks to their collective decision-making, will be steadily harder to achieve.

Wang’s observations add new context to China’s recent crackdown on powerful tech companies like Tencent and Alibaba. While foreigners often frame this crackdown as a general attack on monopolies or rival power structures, it’s not that simple. China is attacking companies that dominate the “soft” side of tech—video games, social media, and online shopping—while leaving the “hard” side largely untouched. It may very well be that this campaign reflects Wang’s desire to protect the core engines of Chinese well-being, while weakening the companies that pull young people into the land of the lotus-eaters.

“Thin” socialization as the nature of American life

One of the recurring themes to Wang’s work is the way modern life, in all its complexity and speed and intensity, reduces the intensity of basic bonds between individuals and, eventually, seems to make them something less as human beings.

In the abstract, American relationships are less complex, but interpersonal interactions are also less deep. … [I]t is rare to have a close friendship. It is easy for Americans to have a fast friendship, but not a deep friendship.

[O]ne-fifth of American families [move] each year, and material abundance creates the conditions for this choice. The high mobility creates two kinds of impetus: on the one hand, people move a lot and need mechanisms to find friends quickly, and on the other hand, this mobility makes it difficult to establish truly unbreakable friendships.

The mechanics of college also make it difficult to form deep friendships; college students are largely solitary, with no concept of classes, taking whatever class they choose and going their separate ways the next semester. Good housing conditions isolate people, as does college and as does society. Americans live alone for long periods of time, so that they often have an introverted and passive mentality, not knowing if they should deal with a stranger.

T]he concept of “foreigner” is foreign to Americans, they often cannot tell who is a “foreigner” and who is a “native”.

Some people think it is not good for the development of society, because there is no deep friendship between people, and human feelings are too thin, and social life is not harmonious.

This concept of “thin” socialization penetrates to the core of American life. Wang observes how the sexual revolution has turned relationships between men and women from a profound, lifelong bond into a temporary partnership in pursuit of shallow pleasure. From there, it is almost inevitable that even family bonds decay.

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.

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.

[C]hildren love their parents, but parents cannot depend on their children for their old age, and children cannot afford it, so children cannot love either. This relationship has far-reaching consequences for society. Parents have to rely on the social security or welfare system in their old age, but not on their children. The elderly must build a life of their own.

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.

Of course, evenly atomized, thinly-socialized people might at least share a common culture and values. But as Revolver readers know, America no longer has that. Americans rather explicitly compete all-against-all not merely for relative status but for their basic livelihoods and the ability to fulfill pieces of one’s life script, such as owning a home, raising a family, or even holding a stable job. Meanwhile, enduring values are shoved aside in favor of an almost deliberate nihilism.

Today, China is terrified that the same fate may befall its people. The Middle Kingdom has undertaken a struggle to assimilate its ethnic minorities to ensure a shared national identity and values. It is promoting larger families, and attacking the addictive video games, apps, and TV shows that silo young people apart from each other, in cocoons of digital pop culture consumption.

Wang recognized that America uses technological progress to mask societal rot

With so much atomization and nihilism, what is it that keeps America confident and even arrogant about its position at the top of the world? For Wang, the most important thing is America’s technological prowess. For nearly a century America was by far the dominant power in industrial, scientific, and technological innovation; this dominant position has ensured material prosperity and practically defined America’s self-worth as a nation. But if that disappears, Wang sees that America’s shock will be profound.

Sometimes it is not the people who master the technology, but the technology that masters the people. If you want to overwhelm the Americans, you must do one thing: surpass them in science and technology. For many peoples it is different; having technology does not work; there must also be cultural, psychological and sociological conditions. Americans have been in a privileged position for a long time … and a psychological stereotype has been formed. As a result, the United States is also a nation that can not afford to lose. Technological superiority has gradually developed into national superiority, and they cannot imagine that any nation can surpass them.

Americans for a long time did not want to recognize the success of Japan. Harvard professor Fu Gao-Yi spent a lot of effort to make Americans understand this point. His “Japan Ranked First” woke up Americans like a dream. A similar situation, I think Americans will encounter again.

For half a century, America’s position at the leading edge of aeronautics, military hardware, electronics, medicine, and countless other fields has been the balm that covers obvious decay. It is revealing to read the above words from Wang, and then think about China’s intense drive to become the world leader in high tech fields like artificial intelligence, solar power, hypersonics, and nuclear fusion.

What happens when China’s push to be the world’s tech leader becomes a reality? Wang anticipates that, once its technological deficit is clear, America will suffer a profound crisis. It could be the shock the country needs to right itself… or it could jolt America into a disastrous confrontation as it seeks to reaffirm its vanished superiority.

Wang sees America’s racial time bomb… but fails to truly understand it

While the subtext of America’s racial divide permeates much of America Against America, Wang only explicitly addresses it very late in the book, when he turns to what he calls the “black challenge” or, more frightfully, the “black storm.”

“Some people have compared the black issue to the biggest social problem, saying that it will eventually become a fatal problem,” writes Wang. “In the United States, it can be deeply felt that there is some truth in this statement.”

Wang then launches a torrent of observations about American life, observations that are obvious but would of course be unthinkable to print in an American book or newspaper today.

I have been to black neighborhoods in San Francisco, New York, New Haven, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, and the impression is extremely bad. Generally speaking, they are more dirty and poor than the areas where white people live, and it is obvious that they are poor areas. In front of many houses, there are some lazy black people sitting. [When] young people stand in groups on the street, people’s hearts beat [faster].

The black population is living in extremely poor conditions, and after desperate times, most of them take the path of crime. The crime situation of the whole society can be ranked among the top in the world, and blacks are especially strong.

[Black] criminals specialize in robbing Chinese people of their money. The NYPD had to put mounted police in front of the consulate, and the general police were no longer enough. … This was in broad daylight.

Bafflingly, though, after noting the cyclical and steadily-worsening nature of America’s race problem, Wang pivots and sounds like a delusional MSNBC commentator warning that the KKK will return any day. The likely endgame if America’s black neighborhoods remain poor and dangerous, Wang warns, will be a major wave of anti-black violence.

As a result of the system’s inaction, a wave of anti-blackness is emerging, in the sense of what neoconservatives call “inverted discrimination. Apartheid is history, but the black challenge is growing. The days of the KKK are behind us, but we cannot say that they are gone. If society fails to find fundamental ways to improve the situation of blacks, it is likely to end up with more violent anti-black actions.

This bizarre conclusion is the most jarring blunder of the book. Wang was unable to imagine or predict how America would actually respond to dysfunction in black neighborhoods: By indulging it, making excuses for it, and finally by attempting to export it to the rest of the country, while describing even the most violent acts as “mostly peaceful.” Perhaps Wang’s blindness reflected his Chinese mindset. Certainly, the PRC’s reaction to problematic minorities like Uighurs or Hong Kongers has been one of strict repression.

Interested readers might profit from comparing Wang’s thoughts on race in 1991 with the analysis Tocqueville presents on the very same question.

Wang’s misfire on American racial issues reveals the number-one shortcoming of America Against America: While Wang spots a great many of America’s problems, he totally fails to anticipate “wokeness.” This is a forgivable error; wokeness only became a highly-visible phenomenon around the time of Obama’s election in 2008, and it only became the dominant force in American life around 2012. However, bits and pieces of it were already present in the early 1990s, especially in America’s handling of race. Affirmative action was already rampant, and with it the pervasive sense that, if America couldn’t bring blacks up, it could at least shove others down.

Instead of anticipating this, Wang falls back on Maoist anti-colonial shibboleths to assess America’s racial dynamics. For him, the danger of America’s unsolved racial divide is that blacks might rebel or whites might crack down on them. He never considers that American elites might intentionally stoke this divide by indulging crime, riots, and academic failure, and embrace an ideology of attacking and dispossessing the white middle class in the name of “anti-racism.”

Now, today, wokeness is essentially America’s state ideology, and Wang is likely as surprised as anyone. And lo and behold, even today China struggles to comprehend or engage with woke America. The country’s comments on Black Lives Matter have been cringeworthy; they feel like a time capsule from the 1950s where China is still trying to rally the Third World against colonialism.

Yet in so many other ways, China’s 2021 agenda shows a deliberate rejection of wokeness. The Middle Kingdom has chosen to reject “effeminate” men and LGBT mania, revere national unity over multiculturalism, cultivate national pride rather than smash old idols, and celebrate talent and merit rather than elevate the ugliest, least capable, most parasitic aspects of society. Instead of acting like the weaker nation by taking pot shots at America for its problems, China could easily realize that it is an equal superpower and offer a real ideological alternative to what is happening in the United States.

But in 2021, the real lessons of America Against America aren’t for China. They’re for the United States. Studying Wang’s book is invaluable for Americans because it captures a key turning point in America’s existence vis-à-vis the rest of the world. Before Wang, America was studied by others for its successes. Wang, writing at the absolute zenith of America’s global power, studied America for its failures as well. In the same year the USSR fell, Wang anticipated the day many years in the future where the US might collapse as well.

As America’s decline becomes more obvious, there will be more smart foreigners who, at a distance, offer detached takes on the fall of a once-great nation. For Americans, defensiveness and denial are natural reactions, but also reactions that must be overcome.

The German polymath Johan Wolfgang von Goethe once wrote that “He who knows no foreign languages knows nothing of his own.” Similarly, a person with no understanding of foreign countries cannot truly understand, appreciate, or assess his own country. Wang visited America from a country with thousands of years of history and achievements which had fallen into several centuries of poverty and backwardness. By studying the successes and shortcomings of America, he was able to envision a way forward for China. For the past 25 years, as a central figure in China’s ruling elite, he has put that vision into practice, and been very successful.

Like Wang’s China of 30 years ago, America is a highly accomplished country that has fallen off a step. In order to become “great again,” America must learn to view itself with the critical eye of a foreigner, and it must be willing to consider that other nations might even have developed values and priorities superior to our own. To simply fall back on “American exceptionalism” without the greatness and achievement to back it up is to embrace a crass and stubborn parochialism, a smug belief in one’s invincibility even as America’s buildings crumble and its society implodes.

The rise of Wang Huning’s China, then, is not a calamity for the United States. It is an opportunity for a deep, harsh, even brutal self-reflection. This is the necessary first step toward the fundamental transformation we need if we want future observers to look at us as a positive example for anything, rather than a cautionary tale of a once great empire that eagerly hurled itself onto the ash heap of history.

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Fred Stevens
1 month ago

Simply getting rid of Democrats would reverse this country’s decline.

Fred Stevens
1 month ago

Cancel your Netflix subscription.

Also: Let’s go Brandon!

Brenda Price
1 month ago

Return to God. We have forsaken Him. He will let us go into perdition and oblivion if we do not turn back to Him. Period.

John Howard
1 month ago

It would be nice to know where one can obtain Wang’s book.

Robert Powell
1 month ago

Fascinating – One can now understand the quote: History is the “engine” of the future – Where can one find the book?

Kenneth A.
1 month ago

Our America has been a thorn in the side of the “owners” for it’s entire history and their calculated forms of destroying nationhood has now reached fever pitch. Characteristically American values have been attacked for a century, and now that they have become obsolete we’re just a flu season or two away from being eradicated. Yang doesn’t seem to grasp the intentional aspect of bringing down all nation states, not just America.

Eunice Farmilant
1 month ago

China treated indentured slaves well into the 20th century. Binding feet to keep them hobbled and submissive and allowing those who could afford it multiple wives . Bad as it gets in America, we don’t have organ snatching ambulances driving around looking for involuntary donors.

This poor schmuck knows almost nothing of the social history of the US and how the education/medical/health and cultural norms were all deliberately hijacked and perverted by the Rockefellers and J p Morgan’s, etc to ruin our health, farming and,educational systems. Marriage has been a particular target for several generations.
Ignorance is not bliss, it is just plain stupidity.

Those lazy blacks sittiñg on the stoops are victims of generations of welfare& programs set up over 50 years ago to kick black men out and reward welfare Mamas for having babies out of wedlock.
When China was enforcing it’s strict family policy millions of women were forced to have abortions and unknown female fetuses were murdered.
His country has a very bloody, nasty past and all the technology does not improve life it just makes easier for authorities to control.
Lastly, pigs are intelligent creatures and when pastured in sufficient land they don’t stick.Joe smoe trying to emulate big Ag makes the same mistakes and creates an ecological nightmare.
Biggest good news folks, the grand solar minimum is here as well as the age of Aquarius so byebye to the elitist run world & their worthless fiat money and hello to American free enterprise once again.
And I will not be wasting my time reading this misguided chap’s take on a country he can never comprehend.

Craigg Cody
1 month ago

One critical and decisive point completely missing from Wang’s analysis and the the critique of Wang’s analysis of America’s downfall and division: God and Judeo Christian values upon which it was founded are waning. When you leave God he will allow you that free choice and he will leave you alone.

Waiting for Galt
1 month ago

Good suggestions below. Great article. I too would like this guy’s book. My first intro to China came via Pearl Buck novels of China under Japanese brutal imperialism.Lately, I have rad much about Mao, including his Little Red Book, where I found ideas like our corp. TQM, not all good. I did notice, while US is rearing down statues of Washingon, Mao felt he was a great general, and read extensively about him! More currently, I was rading about Chinese Navy, and how they sailors read Alfred Thayer Mayhan’s “Improtance of Sea Power……” It was a favorite of one of our last intelligent POTUS, JFK, one of his favorite books. Our country once expected academic excellence, not excuses. HS once required a foreign language, I had 4 years of Latin, and some Spanish. We translated CVirgil from Latin while studying his philosophy. Same with Cicero and war tactics. We have weak citizens, undereducated, careless rich people. We have no respect for wisdom of age and no respect for ourselves gained via a God-centered belief system. China is not all good, but as Biden attemps to depopulate by 75% to please the stupid UN agenda, we are worse.

1 month ago

The aim of communism is to destroy capitalism. It is not a secret that America is eating its own poop. You got to be blind to not see it: A country falling down the steep, and with it, will carry on and over the whole world, including the communist Chinese.

1 month ago

To be great again, America must keep God’s commandments again, and repent of not.

Michael Lederman
1 month ago

Give me a break China is a nation that builds bridges and dams that collapse, roads that have massive sinkholes, rockets that miss their marks, ships that sink like rocks, steals organs from their oppressed minorities, and needs to buy rice and soybeans from other nations just to feed their people. Look it up their still listed as a “developing nation” at the United Nations.

John C
1 month ago

Communist China is a group of evil savages who are enslaving the Chinese people. Only Taiwan is free China and that is why it prospers. Communist china will eat itself and implode./

1 month ago

The media are part of the cloud of globalists who see American individualism and sense of freedom as the great stumbling block to a global world. The media are essentially “story tellers” who mold opinion to suit global interests. That engineered opinion and divisiveness will be our downfall if we do not figure out how to move the MSM away from its globalist masters and start molding American opinion toward a positive envisioning of our future.

Chris Houston
1 month ago

BLM is a Chinese Communist project all the way.
Go look at it’s founders “I am a trained Marxist” Yeah Alisa Garza went with Alex Tom of Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco to meet with leaders of the Chinese Communist Party.
They are trying to fan the flames of black storm.

1 month ago

Wang may not have foreseen it but Chinese now are definitely hip to the absurdity of woke manners. They have a great term for it: “baizuo” (which my iPhone autocorrects to “BWI up” for some reason)

Baizuo are not coincidentally some of our most avid worshipers of tech & The Science.

Bryan Leed
1 month ago

great report, thanks!

1 month ago

It won’t happen. There are too many sissy fathers in positions of power. Steve Bannon disagrees that men are superior to women. A few weeks later he admits that if transgender men were on the volleyball team @ Westpoint w/ his daughter , she would never had made it onto the team.
Then you have those drill sergeants that make the men pick up the rucksack of the women.
Then you have all those that voted no to the female draft. Democratic women voted no to women doing something equal to a man as being drafted.

There is no voting us out of this.

Brian Richard Allen
1 month ago

Lost me at: ….China, with its …. thousands of years of civilization ….

All revised, edited and reissued, post 1948.

Jack Rail
1 month ago

Who authored this piece?

1 month ago

The real problem with anyone writing about America is that they think we are a nation like any other. We are not. We are the world.That is our strength and it is our weakness. Our people are not of one culture we are not so much a melting pot as a salad with lots of interesting ingredients that sometimes clash on a too refined palate.
I read once that we are a nation that is reluctant to go to war because within our being is every nation that we might go to war with. It is a battle with outselves. America cannot be so easily defined by a visit to a pig farm.
Our culture is not so easily defined because we are Americans, we have no real culture, but we have a culture that is a patchwork of many. Our people are mongrels and we all know one thing about mongrels, they are survivors. Pure breds often weaken themselves with inbreeding. Our people intermarry, across the divides of the world. That will be our strength in the end, imposing values from a central control has never worked but perhaps the Chinese will succeed where others have failed. Only time will tell.

1 month ago

What dribble. The author embraces the Stalinist mandates of China in response to the cultural decline of USA. How much was he paid? What about the Freedom Liberty God and Family Values? USA has been undermined by lethargy sloth and gluttony. Freedom has to be DEFENDED, nothing else is relevant

James Johnson
1 month ago

this is one hell of an essay. thanks, Darren. well done.

1 month ago

Nice article, but if Wang is the genius behind the CCP’s Belt and Road and Xi Jinping Thought, he might also be the chief influencer of the CCP’s Unrestricted Warfare against the US, and well aware of how the CCP has infiltrated every aspect and element of American society. Moreover, China is a parasite on the body of the international community; for example, it does not innovate technologically; it steals. As corrupt as US society is, China’s society is infinitely more so. As rotten as America is, China is orders of magnitude more rotten. My guess is that the CCP will fall well before America falls. If so, Wang will be responsible, if he is indeed the intellectual éminence grise within the Chinese leadership. The American Spirit is not yet dead, whereas in China, the LaoBaiXing have long ago surrendered their culture and their liberties to a parasitic, international criminal organization. What we we are seeing in America today, I believe, is a sort of cleansing of the rot that has built up over the past four decades. America is waking up! China is on the road to collapse.

1 month ago

Very good insight and assessment from an outsider in China. Lobbyists, monopolies, the breakdown of families, our food system and the family farmers are problems Americans need to address to grow strong again. The corrupt politicians and government agencies, corporate control of our media, a failing school system, poor leaders, poor medical system controlled by pharmaceutical companies, all add to the decline if the USA. Many scholars agree that the USA is not mentioned in the bible in the last days. So it’s possible that the USA will fall for whatever reason. Americans should take note and control our destiny by upholding the things that have made us great. Good assessment that every American needs to take.

Mary jo
1 month ago

The decimation of the family was ramped up by LBJ and has not stopped.

We need to look to God for answers and reduce our dependence on federal government.

Steven L. Parker
1 month ago


1 month ago

In South Korea, farmers are marrying women from Vietnam, Philippines, China because South Korean women do not want to live on a farm. Other farmers live in the city, and farm part time.

1 month ago

I mean to be fair the guy wrote the book in 1991. How many American intellectuals could’ve predicted our current state in 1991. Wang is Chinese and was only in America a couple of months. Did you guys expect Wang to spell out the evils of SJWism in 1991? I have no doubt the very top of the Chinese ruling class knows exactly what the deal with SJWs and feminism and cultural marxism is.

I J kuvalanka (@jkuvalanka)
1 month ago

Where is Wang’s book?

1 month ago

America Against America by Wang Huning is free at archive. org

J White
1 month ago

I’m taking the Benedict Option

Tax Payer
1 month ago

Show your feelings about the forced lgbqt ideologies.

1 month ago

Two places where you can read Wang Huning’s book; America against America.


1 month ago

Interesting article. At the end of the day the elites will take this as far as they can until it implodes, by revolt of the people. I don’t think this guy is privy to the elites round table group. China has never really prospered because they suppress their people so much that they stifle self thought, expression, and most importantly ingenuity. The US on the other hand has become so complacent that we’ve forgotten what made us spectacular in the first place. God, family, farming, hard physical work who didn’t rely on anyone or anything to feed us, and ingenuity. All nations will fall at the end of the day and most of the survivors will be the ingenious hard working, hopefully God fearing people, sprinkled with some POS people.

1 month ago

China’s rise was parasitic, not organic. U.S. jobs, U.S. capital investment, and U.S. invention/innovation were deliberately diverted en masse to communist China harming the U.S. national interest, U.S. workers, and so the U.S. society.

1 month ago

Great great article. Thank you for posting it. Indeed, it all comes back to how visionary “Make America Great AGAIN” was! Why so many people don’t get the profound meaning and ramifications of this simple statement, is beyond me.

1 month ago

I have found an online version but the actual book is out of print.

1 month ago

Here is the PDF version

1 month ago

Well-written, a welcome introduction to this hidden “eminence gris” and his ideas. Combine what he apparently wrote, with “Camp of the Saints”: you see the U.S. circa 2040.

Geoffrey Britain
1 month ago

“In order to become “great again,” America must learn to view itself with the critical eye of a foreigner, and it must be willing to consider that other nations might even have developed values and priorities superior to our own.”

I presume, given the emboldening of that text, that it is a quote from Wang’s book. If so, other than China’s cultural values of the importance of familial obligations and its traditional respect for elders, I can’t think of any other superior values and priorities it has to offer the world. Ans those values are cultural and independent of Communism.

Yet even those values are easily abused, age does not in and of itself confer respect beyond common courtesy. Respect is earned and if the elderly have not in their lives behaved in a manner worthy of respect, then they deserve only a minimum of courtesy. So too with familial obligations, which can and often are used to control the lives of the younger.

As for America’s failures, they are mostly due to an abandonment in the belief that there is a beneficent creator. The rejection of that belief, that we are answerable for our actions in this life to our creator in the afterlife has led to multiple generations wedded to hedonism and nihilism.

BTW, that analysis was first promulgated by Whitaker Chambers back in the mid-50s. In his book “Witness” he concluded that Marxism would win in its struggle with the West not because Marxism was superior but because the West had abandoned its cultural, philosophical and religious foundations.

Kelly Searer
1 month ago

Very good article! I will have to find the book & read it. America has had a problem with arrogance, I’m sad to say. We are not invincible.

1 month ago

Xi Jinping; Wang Ba Dan.

ngised laitselec
1 month ago

He did predict wokeness take your own advice and use a little intuition, the one that the learning institutions neglected

1.Using technology to hide the social rot (wokeness as propaganda)
2.Intellectual rot of institutions (wokeness as brainwashing)
3. Using the energy of the racial time bomb to create wokeness

Max Hathaway
1 month ago

Christians will never admit that Christian tolerance and backwardness are the primary reasons for the Fall of America. A non-evolutionary or ahistorical understanding of God and human spirituality guarantees God’s death via irrelevance.

Spiritual evolution must eventually move beyond primitive Christian guilt induction as the solution for evil (i.e., sin, repentance, salvation). Humanity urgently needs to reconceive good and evil as a continuum of energy that must be balanced by living solutions and choices made to maintain balance.

Christianity has failed because guilt induction is a grossly ineffective tool against the broader spectrum problems of inflammation in an age in which technology ignites new lusts at a faster rate than limiting, inhibiting mechanisms can be deployed to control the fires and their consuming destruction.

Terry Joseph Taylor
21 days ago

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