Before we start thinking about application of Confucianism to western society, first at all we should look at Confucianism from a historical perspective. In ancient China, but with minor changes until today, have been two main philosophical movements. Taoism and Confucianism.
Taoism or Confucianism?
I will shortly summarize how they differ from each other. Taoism spoke about “non-interference” into secular affairs (similarity with the prime directive – Star Trek philosophy – is highly visible), trying to tear off from the material world. Taoism was (and still is) more bound to human morality and ability to interpret things in many ways. Confucianism was (and still is) about bringing order to chaos. Confucius though that only with the order, you can create impossible creations without petty bickering. You must respect society’s rules, prefer society needs instead of yours. That is perhaps the main point of all Chinese questions. They do not act as individuals, they act as unit.
Clash of cultures
From my presentation, Confucianism looks like as precarious form of communism, but that’s not a truth and I have to highlight this fact. But there is a striking link between communism and Confucianism in todays China. The main question is not “What can Confucianism bring to our western modern society?” but “Are we prepared to renounce of our personal freedom?” Can be this goal accomplished without the loss of our privacy and freedom? Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?