Lord of the China flies
Progressives and Trumpists both envy China's tyranny and would make us just like them.
Credit where credit is due: a reader commented on my post yesterday about the danger of owning your own kids and kids owning their parents.* The commenter noted that China’s space race is “a simple answer to the question of why not go purely nihilistic/hedonistic?” That, as Wilbur Robinson said, “is an excellent question.”
Why do young white middle-class kids join Antifa? Why do teenagers like Bruno Cua assault the U.S. Capitol on the day Congress is charged with the Constitutional duty of certifying Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States? Why does Michaela Kennedy-Cuomo, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 23-year-old daughter, say she has come out as “demisexual?”** The simple answer is pure boredom.
Any parent knows this: The answer to boredom is motivation, in the form of goals, dreams, aspirations, or assigned tasks that, if not completed, result in some form of punishment.
Scaled up large, this translates to government. If we emphasize the “general welfare” aspect of our Constitution’s preamble, Americans can come to the conclusion that government is there to be a sort of parent to us. “Uncle Sam” so to speak. This is the view that many progressives have, as they believe there are technical solutions to every problem, if government would just set policy to force everyone to agree to them.
Conservatives are supposed to believe that the “common good” lies in protecting the liberty of individuals, and promoting the “general welfare” through the encouragement of positive motivation, setting noble and attractive goals, rewarding uplifting dreams, fulfilling aspirations, and assigning certain tasks which are required as a duty to society. Agreeing with every policy is not one of the cornerstones of the conservative conception of “common good,” yet with the Flight 93 election mindset, the progressive worldview has been smuggled in.
There’s a significant amount of China envy going on in both the Trumpist and the progressive camps. China has very little public dissent, because dissenters are jailed, or rounded up en masse for “re-education.” China’s government, as a disciplining parent, rewards good social behavior, and correct use of official doctrine. The CCP has a very well-thought-out system for evaluating “trustworthiness.”
It’s called the “Social Credit System.”
1. The goal of the China social credit system is to provide a holistic assessment of an individual or a company’s trustworthiness
2. The China social credit system, while still in development, is arguably an extension of existing social rankings and ratings in China which have existed for milennia
3. The consequences of a poor social credit score could be serious. It may affect travel prospects, employment, access to finance, and the ability to enter into contracts. On the other hand, a positive credit score could make a range of business transactions for individuals and corporations much easier
4. It is essential that any foreign business consolidating or establishing their presence in China seek professional advice for managing a social credit score. This applies both to individual scores, and the corporate social credit score.
Want to get rid of “fake news?” Want to set up regulation for social media companies to “fact check” posters? Want to force social media “mediation” rules so that some posters are penalized financially or socially isolated for daring to cross official dogma?
Where have we seen this besides China? Examples abound: “New rules for a new world!”
Journalist Matt Taibbi profiled podcaster Bret Weinstein, who was demonetized for posting “medical misinformation.” Weinstein and his wife are both biologists, not crackpot entertainers.
Between the two channels, they’ve been flagged 11 times in the last month or so. Specifically, YouTube has honed in on two areas of discussion it believes promote “medical misinformation.” The first is the potential efficacy of the repurposed drug ivermectin as a Covid-19 treatment. The second is the third rail of third rails, i.e. the possible shortcomings of the mRNA vaccines produced by companies like Moderna and Pfizer.
If you earn money from YouTube, and they demonetize you because you crossed standards that YouTube bases from official government sources, is that not censorship, and a form of a Social Credit System? Isn’t YouTube following China’s system pretty accurately?
Curmudgeon-comedian Bill Maher noted the political angle here.
If you stay off social media, but contribute money to a cause you like, you might find your name harvested and spread around the Internet. You might find journalists knocking at your door. You don’t have to be famous. A paramedic in Salt Lake City was ambushed at his own home by a reporter who wanted to know why the man gave $30 to support Kyle Rittenhouse’s legal defense fund.
The government did nothing to protect that man’s privacy.
The FBI had billboards up for a month in Atlanta looking for tips on anyone who may have been involved in the January 6th insurrection. Over 400 people have been arrested for their role, and the FBI is crowing about how they infiltrated a “bible study” so-called militia led by a 27-year-old who were “surveilling the U.S. Capitol in the weeks following January 6.
I understand the need to “get to the bottom of January 6th.” I don’t think it takes a genius to explain it.
President Trump was (is) a thin-skinned con-man who seeks the worst personal revenge on anyone who dares to criticize him or “beat” him. Trump publicly admired China’s tyrannical government on multiple occasions. When Trump was beaten, he exacted his revenge on Congress, Sen. Mitch McConnell, his own Vice President Mike Pence, and anyone else he could rope in. He summoned his “people” to a “Stop the Steal” rally for weeks, pumping up how he would show the world how the election was stolen. He worked the issue like he did when he was hawking supplements or Trump University. That’s his super power and Trump used it to full effect. He did this in full view of the media, the government, and his own critics.
Once he had his audience, he released them to mayhem. End of story. He’s still doing it, just on a smaller scale.
And Trump’s supporters, and those in elected office who want to be re-elected and not subject to Trump supporter wrath, are going along with China’s methods.
Meanwhile, Democrats are using January 6th as a cynical re-election play for 2022. They are using it to expunge anyone who voted for Trump, never mind if they like him, from the public square, as someone beyond redemption.
Americans are so bored, absent great goals and aspirations, that we invent our own, in the form of making the other side lose, and taking power. Both parties want to be the CCP. Both parties envy China, which has in the last few months landed its own rover on Mars, and completed its first Shenzhou-12 spacewalk in constructing its space station.
Americans say “been there, done that, we’re bored.” China has purpose, unity, and an authoritarian parental government which enforces both.
When many Republican and Democrat leaders, conservatives and progressives, look in the mirror, do they see China envy? Do they see boredom? Do they see nihilism and hedonism? I think they see all of the above.
We are going in the wrong direction and anyone with eyes can see it.
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*I’m terrible at headlining posts. I should have titled yesterday “Owning your kids to own the libs.”
** “Demisexual individuals can be gay or straight, bisexual or pansexual, and be of any gender — but the defining element, she told Tramuto, is that they can only have a sexual attraction to a person if it also comes with an emotional bond.” LOL. In other words: fall in love, then have sex. She has invented “romance.”
I just want to be clear on my comments yesterday on the space race with China so they are not misinterpreted - I'm not a fan of the Chinese regime and see them as a useful foil and competitor for Americans who are looking for a larger purpose and national aspiration beyond our political food fights or withdrawing into hedonism altogether.
Mona Charen also touched on part of this in her piece in The Bulwark yesterday:
"But the Soviets didn’t always have to invent lies to discredit us. The case of the Scottsboro boys became a fixture in Soviet textbooks, and Communist Party members in the United States did play a prominent role in campaigning for civil rights (if only in this country). When American cities went up in flames after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Soviet outlets made sure the world saw this as proving our hypocrisy on human rights. That they were insincere in their concern for blacks (as some African Americans who emigrated to the USSR discovered) did not invalidate their criticism of us. We were hypocrites, and many Americans were ashamed of it."
"Concern about how our treatment of African Americans made us look abroad was one rationale for the Truman administration’s decision to file an amicus brief in Brown v. Board of Education. The argument was explicit:"
"'The United States is trying to prove to the people of the world of every nationality, race and color, that a free democracy is the most civilized and most secure form of government yet devised by man. . . The existence of discrimination against minority groups in the United States has an adverse effect upon our relations with other countries. Racial discrimination furnishes grist for the Communist propaganda mills.'"
"In that sense, our enemies did us a favor by pointing to our flaws, because it played a role in spurring us to be better."
As I read what you had to say here Steve, it really had me thinking on several fronts. You mentioned about that paramedic whose contributions to the legal defense fund of Kyle Rittenhouse, resulted in lots of not so good publicity for him. I used to be strongly pro disclosure on political contributions, but given that there is much more vindictiveness on both sides of the fence against people whose politics we may not agree with, my views have been changing on that. There is nothing worse than to see someone's reputation and career potentially ruined because they had the temerity to vote for a particular candidate or publicly share their view on any matter, political or not. With a lot of talk these days about cancel culture, there is a tendency by many to make mountains out of molehills and to cancel people for the pettiest of "offenses", real or imagined.
Since you mentioned China, I want to share personal experiences that I've had regarding what China's been doing these days. One of my family friends lives in Hong Kong, and we've been in touch for several months now. Just yesterday, she mentioned about how morale there is low and depressing, given the forced closure of the Apple Daily, and the assault by mainland China on press freedoms. She told me about how there is a pervading sense of fear among the people there in just voicing their opinions. Political advocacy groups have been forcibly disbanded for "national security" reasons. Add to that church charities, and a purging in academia. She also mentioned that many of her friends, colleagues, and family members have been combing through their social media accounts, and deleting anything that could be perceived as political criticism of any kind. In our conversation, when the topic turns to Beijing, CCP, and Xi Jinping, I noticed that she chooses her words very carefully, even though it was a private Whatsapp conservation. My guess is that she is afraid that the conservation is being watched by the government and might land her in prison.
When she extended her best wishes for me and my family on the 4th of July, my friend from Hong Kong reminded me to count my blessings and to always appreciate and be grateful for the freedoms I have as an American. The very freedoms that the Chinese government are depriving her and other Hong Kongers.
Listening to my friend explain what is happening in Hong Kong, really puts many things here at home into perspective. Over there, they are actually losing their freedoms. It was a crown jewel in Asia for economic and social freedom for many decades, which has been eroding under Xi Jinping's China. These days, we more and more tend to use our freedoms and energy to squabble over trivial and petty matters. We definitely aren't a perfect country, and there is always room for improvement. But if I spent hours listening to the hard progressive left and the Trump right whine and moan, I would think they would be describing a third world dictatorship, not America. Many Americans too often don't realize how blessed we are as a nation, imperfections notwithstanding. I think more gratitude can go a long way into helping to improving things in our country.