Confucianism and communism
Nghia M. Vo
         The fratricidal war between North (communist) and South (nationalist) Vietnam represents a fight over the nature of the Vietnamese society. Vietnamese fought over whether the country should become a western democratic society or a totalitarian communist country. If the Americans called it the Vietnam War (it was fought in Vietnam), the communists talked about the American War, or the "War of Liberation" or the "Anti-US War of National Salvation." The South Vietnamese labeled it as the "War against Communist Aggression" or simply the Anti-communist War (it was fought against the communists). It was thus the same war seen and fought through different perspectives and lenses.

         In the end, it turns out to be a fratricidal war of aggression of the North against the South as the South Vietnamese have always claimed. The American literature rarely, if ever, mentions about the Anti-communist War although the South Vietnamese have lost close to 300,000 soldiers in that conflict. This "failure in accounting" reflects the authors' ethnocentricity and their lack of academic integrity and historical accuracy.

         The fact that the North Vietnamese communists had won the war does not imply they were more nationalistic or morally better than Southerners; it simply means that they had out-maneuvered and out-administered them.

         The communist victory has been on occasions attributed to their "Confucian ideals." Jamieson has mentioned communism to Confucianism and suggested that they are both "ethical systems" without giving a detailed explanation. Duiker writes, "The ethical core in Nguyen Ai Quoc's (Ho) list of behavioral norms was reminiscent of traditional Confucian morality" again without adequate explanation. FitzGerald argues, "To many Vietnamese...Ho Chi Minh was perfectly sincere, since he always (italics in the text) acted in the "correct" manner, no matter what cost him." Halberstam refers to Ho as "pure, uncorrupted in a corrupting world, a man of the land and its simple virtues." The last two authors see Ho as the perfect Confucian who led by "virtuous" examples.

         The purpose of this paper is to compare Confucianism and communism. Since the above authors did not clearly define what they meant by ethics, we will have to compare the two systems in terms of working ethics, morality, or simply behavioral rules. A better knowledge of Confucianism-an Asian concept that has not been well analyzed in the past-is in order before we can discuss about their similarities and/or differences.
        Please read the rest of the story in THE MEN OF VIETNAM.
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