Apathetic Political Minds Lose Sight of the People

Peter J. Morrison seems to always want to believe that issues are black and white, and that only one extreme can be correct and the other incorrect. The truth of the matter is that physical reality is a complex process; one that is comprised of interactions and precedents and reactions on the whole range of scale from small to large. History has shown us that rational solutions to problems lie in the subtleties of the problem at hand, not in an immovable reaction. It should be obvious to anyone with the willingness to consider all sides of the story (rather than just one, as Peter does on a weekly basis so confoundingly) that his prescription for China makes no sense and would only serve to worsen the situation and harm real people. After all, we must always strive to keep in mind that the purpose of our political beliefs, wherever they are on the spectrum, is to alleviate the pain of and benefit real people. Now, whatever the historical reasons, Peter is right to say that China’s current governmental situation is horrendous — egregious abuse against human rights, the situations in Tibet and with Taiwan, environmental atrocity. But personal ideology be damned, let’s look at reality. China is a huge country, virtually on the brink of utter chaos, with staggering unemployment, growing starvation, a skyrocketing population, and crumbling, archaic institutionalized industry. The government, forget petty corruption, is just barely even holding the country together. To turn such a giant, old boat around, let alone rebuild it, while keeping it afloat is not a task left to Western finger-pointers. It is much more complicated. We’ve seen what happened to Russia when it liberalized so quickly — why doesn’t Peter go ask the people over there how things are? Is he surprised that communism is making a comeback all over the world? It’s because the golden hopes we gave third world countries materialized into exploitation, rife poverty, corruption, a loss of culture, and, in total, a situation worse after trying to force our ideology on them than before they started. Look at Russia, population 146,001,176 (July 2000 est.) and with a decent infrastructure even during communism, and now extrapolate it to China, 1,261,832,482 people strong and crumbling at the seams.Mr. Morrison’s “Wealth of Nations”-thumping, reactionary views won’t help the Chinese people, and they won’t help anybody else in the world either, truth be known. Especially if war broke out. China’s situation is tenuous, and should be treated as such. Flagrantly supporting Taiwan and especially imposing economic sanctions would only serve to instigate something terrible. The human mind can only begin to comprehend the scale of destruction and bloodshed that a confrontation with China would entail. Would that be a preferable situation to the current one? If Peter wants to help the Chinese people, and help continue the spread of relative peace and democratization through the world, he should support a policy that urges China towards careful modernization through economic incentives and insistent but respectful political urging. Hawking from an extreme ideology does not build bridges or heal wounds, it further polarizes people and galvanizes differing opinions against each other. Let’s move forward as a world by relying on our hearts and minds rather than our basest animal instincts. Progress takes patience and reason and, above all, a willingness to empathize.