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Introduction for the Chinese Reader

My lectures to the Chinese, Eight Bads-Eight Goods, are being published, and I am happy. For I could not deliver them personally. In these pages I speak frankly about the bad side of the U.S.A. Otherwise, when I speak of the good side, you will not believe me. I am compelled also by a feeling for the truth and by a sense of patriotism to stress that there is a good side, and that it is a strong side.

I describe the United States to you as a country beset by contradictions, because I know how readily you have come to grasp Chairman Mao's idea of contradictions. Thus I ask: "How could a clever and energetic people, the Americans, blessed by every natural resource and a protected geographical location, arrive within one lifetime at a condition of scarcities, confusion, and moral despair?"

The answer is simple. The Americans think and act in a number of contradictory ways, and have not yet managed to cope with their contradictions. Most of these reduce to a struggle of forces, within the Americans' souls and among them, between a culture of coercion and a culture of freedom. The coercive culture works through the eight bads, which are treated in the first eight chapters. The free culture works through the eight goods, described in the second part of the book. Thus the Contradiction is composed from a set of eight constituent contradictions.

I hope that these will enlighten you as much as the six contradictions, eight fallacies, eight canons, and five vermin about which Han Fei Tzu instructed your ancestors. But you are you, here today, with terrible problems of today. Before he died in 233 B.C. Han Fei Tzu said that "the wise man neither seeks to follow the ways of the ancients nor establishes any fixed standard for all times but examines the things of his age and then prepares to deal with them."

When I tell you now that the contradictions are being resolved in favor of the culture of coercive bureaucracy, you may be pleased. It is natural to wish that an opponent will be unhappy; and you understand that the Americans detest their fate. Furthermore, as I show, the country suffers weakness and decline from this trend.

However, the same frankness that impels me to announce such facts also requires me to declare that the question has not reached its final resolution. An enormous capability crouches in the American system. I must tell you what this capability consists of, how it could work its way free, how America could become a marvelous instrument for freedom in the world, terrifying, indeed, were it not a friend. The country is gravid with the future. I would certainly have failed in my duty to you if I let you conclude from my work that America is a paper tiger.

It is becoming customary in America, in introducing a work, to apologize for its method. Why, for example, do I not give you many statistics? The very word comes from the word "state" and statistics are facts that are supposed to help us operate the state. "Statistics is the true method of ministers and rulers and the essential of a state," declared Lord Shang, who lived in the time of Aristotle. And Han Fei Tzu, who came afterward, said, "Indeed, those who are most intelligent in governing by law rely on statistical methods and do not rely on men."

As you know, facts and figures grow like mushrooms in the myriad offices of America, and if I wished to darken my pages they would grow abundantly here too. However, I must travel many li with light baggage and place trust in the proverbial accuracy of perception and coolness of mind of the Chinese. I cannot burden my argument with statistics, reports of experiments, and footnotes. I drop some strange terms along the way, but be assured that they can be forgotten without harm.

In America, scientists are numerous and influential, and among their practices is one called "scientific terminology," the naming of conditions that interest them. The names are usually exotic and of Greek and Latin origin, and writers who do not use the names are often excluded from serious reading. Furthermore, because of a justified suspicion that nothing but prolonged controversy can come from working with words like sin, evil, good, and happy, psychologists, sociologists, economists, and even philosophers have abandoned them and substituted words like equilibrium, neurosis, dysfunctional, and euphoria.

Not for a moment should one consider cutting the ties that link scientists to social reality. Therefore, to honor science and promote the public welfare, the eight bads and the eight goods are granted scientific titles. So one can warn the world of the spreading of exartysia (dependency) and prescribe dianomia (sharing) and pathesis (cooperation). But, as I said, you can forget them and remember only the common English forms.

I wish merely to symbolize that science is on our side, which should help to reassure people who go to dwell in the bizarre and frightening world of politic where leaders don't lead, officials do not execute, constitutions do not specify, governments do not govern, and the public cannot find itself.

Obviously, one does not become a scientist by using strange words. Nor does one become an expert on China by speaking Chinese or on America by speaking American. We have in America professional students of every country--"China-watchers," Kremlinologist, Vatican observers, Specialists on Everywhere. I have never passed a day, I think, from the age of six, without reflecting on my country. I finally fashioned a profession from my mental absorption. I have seen changing shapes of the past and now of the future. It is correct to call me an "America-watcher." Despite your profoundly different vision of the world and despite our separation by thousands of li, you will, I hope, come to understand what is going on in America.


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