Against Political EqualityThe Confucian Case

Against Political EqualityThe Confucian Case

Tongdong Bai

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780691195995

Publisher: Princeton University Press


This book argues that domestic governance influenced by Confucianism can embrace the liberal aspects of democracy along with the democratic ideas of equal opportunities and governmental accountability to the people. But Confucianism would give more political decision-making power to those with the moral, practical, and intellectual capabilities of caring for the people. While most democratic thinkers still focus on strengthening equality to cure the ills of democracy, the proposed hybrid regime—made up of Confucian-inspired meritocratic characteristics combined with democratic elements and a quasi-liberal system of laws and rights—recognizes that egalitarian qualities sometimes conflict with good governance and the protection of liberties, and defends liberal aspects by restricting democratic ones. The author applies his view to the international realm by supporting a hierarchical order based on how humane each state is toward its own and other peoples, and on the principle of international interventions whereby humane responsibilities override sovereignty. The book presents a novel Confucian-engendered alternative for solving today’s political problems.