Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A prescient thought on Iran, Russia, China...

...and other assorted rogues in our world:
The timid civilized world has found nothing with which to oppose the onslaught of a sudden revival of barefaced barbarity, other than concessions and smiles.
-Aleksandr Solzenitsyn
One wonders if we in the West will develop other means of opposition. And if so, will we do so soon enough to prevent our own destruction?

3 comments:

Eric M said...

"the internet," which is really just a proxy for "freedom of the press" is one of them. China tries to limit internet experience with their "Great Firewall," but even with that, many Chinese internet users manage to circumvent it. They see the West's press and know their own realities. If anything, the West is endangering itself not so much by not standing up to China and Russia but by exaggerating the bad parts of China so much that Chinese in China who read that figure freedom of the Press just means freedom to exaggerate and miss important contextual facts.

I've had more than one Chinese national point out that even according to international statistics, the U.S. has a higher percentage of people in prison than China does. How do we support our claims of freedom when we lock people up for exercising their human freedoms? Are human freedoms less important than political ones?

Eric M said...

"the internet," which is really just a proxy for "freedom of the press" is one of them. China tries to limit internet experience with their "Great Firewall," but even with that, many Chinese internet users manage to circumvent it. They see the West's press and know their own realities. If anything, the West is endangering itself not so much by not standing up to China and Russia but by exaggerating the bad parts of China so much that Chinese in China who read that figure freedom of the Press just means freedom to exaggerate and miss important contextual facts.

I've had more than one Chinese national point out that even according to international statistics, the U.S. has a higher percentage of people in prison than China does. How do we support our claims of freedom when we lock people up for exercising their human freedoms? Are human freedoms less important than political ones?

The Bullhorn said...

Political freedoms are a big part of what human freedom is all about. Freedom of speech is deeply cherished by yours truly. But unlike China, we don't lock people up for speaking their mind. Indeed, over here, criticizing one's government and leaders is the national pastime. Not so, in China or Russia, or in London, if reports about the origin of thallium poisoning there are to be believed. For me, freedom of speech and press is all about being able to say even outrageous or exaggerated things, and to engage in debate. Absent that, there isn't much freedom left.