This talk is co-sponsored by Rutgers Global-China Office. It is open to the public, but registration is required. Click here to register.
Attempts to balance off citizens’ virtues and democratic rule are common in recent reflections on democratic theory. Democratic theorists, however, fiercely disagree on whether one ought to lean more toward virtue or rule-based order. My proposal for Confucian leadership democracy (CLD) offers a Confucian way of reconciling virtue politics and democratic rule thereby contributing to the diversity of democratic theory. CLD attempts to combine virtuous leadership with robust democratic accountability in Confucian societies. My interlocutors are primarily Confucian meritocrats and democrats. Adopting a comparative approach, I argue that CLD is better than Confucian meritocracy in addressing democratic tyrannies and undue influence from vested interests. It also outstrips participatory Confucian democracy in addressing polarizing social conflicts associated with excessive reliance on democratic participation. While all Confucian political theorists put a premium on virtues, Confucian meritocrats lose sight of the crucial import that derives from democratic rule and participatory Confucians quixotically align themselves with participatory and deliberative democrats and misplace virtues in civic action.
Yutang Jin is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Politics. His primary research interests include Confucian political theory, comparative political theory, and democratic theory. Along the matrix of interpretation/reconstruction, he specializes in Confucian scholarship (ruxue) and how it relates to political order, which involves the interpretation of Confucian political thought. In addition to interpretation, he is also interested in reconstructing Confucianism and bringing it into dialogue with Western philosophical traditions for both modern East Asia and the wider world.