headhonchoII wrote:Well done for laying it out to Kevin. Not much more to be said really, if he doesn't get it at this stage he should go to China and support free speech, religion, rule of law and multiple party voting, he can learn the hard way.
Kevins views are very common among Chinese and taiwanese who had an idealistic viewpoint on the US and then saw how messy and flawed real democracies are in reality when they study or work there. Then they question everything and make false equivocations with other countries.
But the thing is, democracies are the best we have to work with because they are all based off the flawed unit of the human individual.
I'm Chinese and I've been living in both east and west, and I have no compunction when I say the US constitution is the best the world has ever seen. there are of course abuses and problems in the US, but that doesn't mean the US Constitution is to be tossed out or is the cause of same (baby with the bathwater and all that). It's certainly better than the PRC constitution which doesn't actually say anything definitive or can be used to shield one's rights from government (it's more of a set of idealistic "statements" and "wishes")
I think the problem with many Chinese (including my parents, just to show you I'm not biased) is that basically they're brainwashed; I attribute this to the strong cultural heritage when it's good to be deferential and not question authority. where the line "the nail that sticks out gets hammered" says it all about society's attitude to individualism, where the fear of "disorder" stretching all the way back before the Shang is such a FEAR, whether real or more likely, just apparent, that most Chinese readily give up their rights in return for safety, peace, to a father-figure government, that instead of being suspicious of Big Brother, it's Big Daddy can protect us.
The other side of that coin is a persistent cynicism and extreme pragmaticism leading to a sad fatalism that says: we can't fight the system, let's just game it as best as we can (cuz our neighbour will do the same if we don't). While I don't entirely condemn this approach as it's just a way of surviving, it can be debilitating to a society over the long-term (and my theory is that this is why older civilisations like what we see in the ME and China stagnate in the long term)
I think the other major key point, perhaps to borrow from Milton Friedman, is that it's best to build a simple system with few laws and less intervention rather than rely on and hope for a "good king". I think this is antithetical to Asian thinking and culture, because there haven't been a plurality of systems to understand that point (compounded with the legacy of Legalism and Confucianism) (other than the imperial good king system). BTW, this same problem has affected European civilisation for a long time via the curse of the Pharoanic system (which influenced Macedonia, Rome, and in turn, the later nations of Europe).
The final point is that your comment on Kevin reminds me of how ABCs come to Asia and think how great it is living in Shanghai or Beijing, because they are an expat with a foreign passport. They aren't subject to detentions, black police, one-child policy, and all the rest in the same way a local is. They can always leave, so of course it's easy for them not to notice the dark stuff, because they have no need to be afraid (as long as they can leave). I have relatives on the inside who are fed up with the system, but deal with it as best as they can; they have no illusions about the PRC government, and they are often surprised how wonderful it is outside (though they are not foolish enough to expect perfection). They are the type who will appreciate democracy the most like most new immigrants who flee from despotism and tyranny - which is probably why the 1st generation immigrants are so fricking hardworking, because they realize they have got it good in places like the US (even with the discrimination and other problems), it beats what they left.
crap, sorry for the ramble, I will try to edit this later (or not).