News & opinion on Greater China and the even Greater Beyond: by Biff Cappuccino.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

For an idea of the lunacy that erupts when free speech is curtailed, check out the following forum discussion, which includes this:

I believe China should start researching a type of nuclear bomb that, when detonated, has the ability to destroy the entire globe. ... One thing we need to consider is that the survival abilities of the Chinese people are very very strong, so if there are a few lucky people who survive this nuclear blast, then they are probably Chinese people. Then we can start another civilization and perhaps unite the entire world again.

Note that the author focuses on the 'survival abilities' of the Chinese people. A thought-provoking turn of phrase given that the Chinese population has gone on tremendous benders over the past 2000 years as the national population has been starved to death, diseased to death, and slaughtered to death, to put it in a grammatical form the Chinese speaker will find warmly familiar. I beat you to death, hate you to death, kill you to death. These are all standard Chinese tropes for pungent sentiments. Death, death, and more death. Here's a viable sentence in Chinese: "Beat me to death and I still never would have guessed that Elvis was creeping around Wal-Mart." For a chirpy happy people, with scarlet red holidays and finger-shredding fire crackers, they have a great love of the word death. Perhaps if the survival skills of the Chinese people had been honed to a greater virtuosity, there would be less flippant talk of death because the people as a collective would have controlled routine population explosions and resource exhaustion and avoided several millennia of internecine slaughters, tree-bark and dirt-eating famines, and children-swapping cannibalism.

But more to the point here is that the author considers the starting of another civilization and the uniting of the entire world all over again to be paramount to his doomsday bomb proposal, a sort of global spring cleaning, an ethnic cleansing of the sterile planet Neutron. By civilization he's referring to one that is moral and harmonious, and in sync with chi, human nature, and the natural world and which gallantly kills splittists and heretics to death to protect us from bad elements. By uniting the entire world again, he's referring to uniting the entire known world: i.e. China. Given that many Chinese patriots have far-flung patriotic imaginations, they make claims on reuniting the motherland and recovering sacred national territory which, by the way, includes Alaska because Alaska means 'my home' in Shanghainese. Uniting the entire world means pasting imperial scarlet double-happy signs over the illiterate graffiti of inconsequential languages such as English and Spanish.

The sweet talk about how we can start another civilization fires the imagination. But who is we? Does he imagine he's going to survive a nuclear bomb that "when detonated" can liquidate the entire globe? Probably not. He's really thinking of the collective we. And the reason his thoughts have soared so high is because his self-worth is so low. Although one may not think of the Chinese as a people who make decisions through consensus, to a large degree they do. This also helps account for the familiar weaseling that takes place behind the scenes and the loose fealty to morals behind the door, despite all the fire-breathing tall talk in public. And decision-making through consensus is a sign that the participants in the decision-making have very weak reasoning and critical thinking skills. A person who has a strong opinion does not go for consensus making; he's a trouble maker with a fancy for heresy, apostasy, and hot gospeling. Souls in a collective who have strong opinions don't form a consensus: they squabble and backstab and jockey for political supremacy.

Here however, you have someone who is abjectly, nay, gloriously, willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the collective we. We're introduced to the Chinese suicide bomber. Again, this sort of thinking arises because he does not see himself as being any more worthy than any other member of the collective. And again, this is because he has no substantial opinions of his own and when he does have them he expects everyone else to share them and is astonished, offended, and hurt when they don't. (I've seen this plenty of times in action and I've been naive and romantic enough to do it too.) Again, this is because his fellow mortals strive heroically to remain free of and untainted by personal opinions (which, by owing of being different, can only be heretical and thus perilous) and even less by way of logic and critical thinking skills. To understand China under the communist yoke, it helps to view its intellectuals as being extraordinarily self-effacing: willing ants in the ant farm. But perhaps I overstate it; having little sense of self to begin with (due to the Chinese family culture), there is little effacing necessary.

This also helps explain the oft stated willingness of China's peacetime patriots to sacrifice a couple hundred million citizens to bring Taiwan back to mother's lap. After all, when no one is worth any more than anyone else, then everyone is essentially replaceable and expendable. Like ants bridging water with their own bodies. Their role in life is reduced to serving as glorious cadavers sacrificed to the greater good.

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