Re: Made in China

From: Neal Blaikie (
Date: Fri Apr 20 2001 - 15:57:26 MDT

Michael Lorrey wrote:

> Actually, the PLA is one of the largest industrial conglomerates in
> China. However, the point is that it is a fiction to presume that every
> Chinese person doesn't bear some responsibility for the actions of their
> government, not by sins of commission, but by sins of omission. Being
> satisfied with being a serf or slave is the reason why the communist
> party is still in power. The soviet union fell because the people got
> tired of being punished economically by the west for being so agreeable
> to serfdom. So long as the Chinese people get fatter and happier, they
> will seek no significant change in their system, they will get more and
> more nationalistic, and their government will get more and more
> belligerent.
> Just as we are shutting Cuba out of the Free Trade Area of the Americas
> for being non-democratic, we should be similarly treating China. Revoke
> its 'most favored' trade status.

As long as you keep running everything through that hyper-individualistic
jingo filter, you'll never understand how complex social systems actually
work. It's easy to say that the Chinese people are "satisfied with being a
serf or slave" while sitting here safe and happy in our more enlightened
society, but we don't ordinarily get shot for expressing dissenting
viewpoints (at least, not any more). It's a common fallacy among people who
have had freedom for many generations to place undue emphasis on the
responsibility of each individual in a more repressed society, but it's
just not that simple. Individualism has little to do with it. Social forces
& pressures are powerful and overwhelming, and the dissemination of
information is tightly controlled. Mix this with a basic fear for one's
safety & the safety of one's family, and it's easy to understand why
individuals aren't willing or able to stand up to a repressive regime.
Paranoia is rampant.

Now I'm not saying that the Chinese people aren't collectively responsible
for their own lot, because in many ways they are. But it's really more of a
group dynamic than something that can be pinned on any one person. And it
will take a group effort to change things, just like it always has. We here
in the West, and the US in particular, have the privilege of being at the
end of a many-generations-long struggle to win and refine individual
freedom. Sometimes we forget how many people had to fight and die to
achieve this for us. The Chinese have only been at it for a half-century,
and unfortunately their first time out they replaced one form of
totalitarianism with another. Calling them fat and complacent is an
arrogant and insulting over-simplification.

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