Saturday, November 18, 2006

Change of Philosophy For Viet Nam

SEE THE ARTICLE, High-Rise Development Plans Threaten Vietnam’s Once Gracious Former Capital, in the New York Times:
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam, Nov. 17 — Meet the world’s next great metropolis, a once-gracious city bursting from the confines of its history, wide-eyed with the wonders of traffic jams and tall buildings, and thinking very, very big.

Held back by a half-century of war and privation, it is charging forward with gigantic plans for urban expansion and development, determined to seize what it is certain is its rightful place as a world leader.

“We are in a good position and determined to build a whole new Ho Chi Minh City,” said Nguyen Trong Hoa, director of planning and architecture for the city once known as Saigon.

“We want to become the biggest city in Vietnam and be the center of Asean,” the grouping of 12 Southeast Asian nations, he said, “and be the center of Asia and the center of the world as well.”
The United States fought an unsuccessful war in Viet Nam (1961-1975), defending the southern part of that divided Catholic country against atheist forces from the north. For a while, some Buddhists in the south supported the northern invasion, but they were reportedly infiltrated by Communists; like Catholicism, that religion was harshly suppressed after the fall of South Viet Nam, so that now the religion of 80% of Viet Nam's population is officially reported to be secular atheism. Ultimately, the war was subverted by many American Catholics, who were, like many Vietnamese Buddhists, discovered to be Marxists.

Its staunchly Catholic president, Jean Baptiste Ngô Đình Diệm, was assassinated in a U.S.-sanctioned coup d'état shortly before the assassination of his American supporter, President John F. Kennedy, who was also reportedly a Catholic. Diệm was a proponent of the left-of-center, anti-socialist and anti-capitalist philosophy of Personalism. This philosophy comes from Kennedy's home town of Boston, is derived partially from Kant, and is mainly practiced in contemporary Catholic circles, including most famously by the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II. [Note: Greek philsophy is better, in my opinion.] After Diệm's assassination, the government in South Viet Nam distanced itself from Catholicism, and instead embraced the secular philosophy of Hegelianism, in its "right-wing" variety that was popular with the American ruling elite following the death of Kennedy. Ironically, the North Vietnamese enemy also endorsed the philosophy of Hegelianism, but in its "left-wing" version, or Communism. The philosophy of Hegel assumes inevitable progress via conflict and competition, and is a heresy. Theologically speaking, Hegelianism can often become a form of the heresies of Gnosticism or Process Theology, and usually ends up with a form of State idolatry.

It perhaps should not be surprising that the Hegelianism of Viet Nam, like China before it, now shifts from the left-wing to the right-wing variety.
Neat, clean and orderly, it is a futuristic Saigon, leached of its history.

The fresh face of Saigon South is probably historically inevitable, uncannily similar to the version of a modern Vietnam created by refugees as Little Saigon in Southern California.
Ah, the "inevitable progress of history"—Hegel still lives and breathes here. The beautiful, gracious Catholic town of Saigon, filled with lovely traditional architecture, will become yet another ugly modern city, populated by peasants removed from their land, tradition, and families, and destined to become alienated, depressed, and rootless Moderns.

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