As soon as you can.
Shen means divine or divinity. Yun means feeling or rhythm. Shen Yun means “The beauty of heavenly beings dancing.” Shen Yun, based in New York, comprises 7 dance companies that perform all over the globe. We just saw it in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It is simply spectacular; a show that should not be missed. If you go to one ballet this year, Shen Yun should be it.
The show uses Chinese mythology to tell stories that transcend particularism. The themes are essentially universalist. In some ways they are Shakespearian, in some ways Christian. The themes address the ideas of right and wrong, sin and redemption, truth, compassion and tolerance. These are qualities that recognize the dignity of the individual human person. They are also ideas that are an anathema to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Shen Yun intends to recapture the traditional culture and values of China; a civilization has been with us for 5,000 years. Since Shen Yun is an offshoot of the Falun Gong movement, the CCP has forbidden the performance of Shen Yun in China. The traditional values it espouses are a mortal threat to the CCP. So the Party has been trying to stamp out religious belief and traditional Chinese culture ever since Mao and the Communist Party came to power in 1949.
They, like all totalitarians, mean to make a New Man, one who is infinitely elastic and perfectible; one who fits the the proper image of the ideologues. That alone is worth thinking about, particularly when considering the joyless idealogues who have captured so many universities in America. After all they are attempting to do precisely the same thing. First they come for the statues; then they come for the people. What is cancel culture all about, if not to de-platform and silence people guilty of wrong think? And what happens to the robust debate that is part of our heritage if stifling conformity becomes the norm?
As conservatives never tire of pointing out out, politics is downstream from culture. It should be painfully obvious that the goal of the new authoritarians is the destruction of Western culture that lies at the heart of our civilization. The better to re-create the ever malleable New Man who will do what he is told. Perhaps progressive camp followers in the media are simply too naive to realize it.
Shen Yun provides an effective retort to the attempt to the new cultural vandals. By telling stories based on Chinese mythology, it champions the dignity and worth of the individual human person. It is a rebuke to the social planners who seek to create a New Man in their own image. (Take a look at the Video below).
It is also worth noting that the horrors of the 20th century were not brought about by the Scottish enlightenment, now in so much disfavor, and derided as justification for colonialist white supremacy. Rather it was Adam Smith, David Hume, John Stuart Mill and others of the Scottish Enlightenment who provided the intellectual framework for developing modern institutions of liberty.
Classical liberals are not the problem. It was instead Western utopians who provided what became justification for the world’s most prolific killers. Stalin, Mao, Castro and Pol-Pot among others originated in the writings of Marx, Engles, Sartre, Proudhon, Robespierre and Lenin; and not to put too fine a point on it, cheerleaders in the press like Walter Duranty.
It was widely reported, perhaps incorrectly, that when queried about all the death and destruction wrought by Stalin, Walter Duranty is said to have replied, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs”. To which George Orwell replied, “Where’s the omelet?”
We are still waiting for that omelet–the one that will never appear.