Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What It Means to 'Belong to the State'

As I understand it, the text above this picture reads, "The Happy Life Mao Gives Us".

Mao Zedong - ruler of communist China from 1943 to 1969 and a man to whom, just to be clear, is rightly credited with the murder/deaths of up to 78,000,000 people - believed that (his) government owned all the people of China. Notably, this was a life much less happy than is depicted in the above propaganda.

"The people" in Mao's China belonged to the state.

Government was father & mother, brother & sister, and aunt & uncle to all... All choices, all ideas, and all activities were - and often still are to this day in China - controlled entirely by the state and all production (or as much as the Communist Party could keep tabs on) was dictated, mandated and distributed through the auspices of government. All this was as it should be, if you understand the practical ramifications of communist philosophy.

By all accounts of my friends who have lived in or near China, and from my personal observations of and interactions with everyone I know who is from China, this belief in the state as the owner of the people rather than the other way around has - over the last few generations - created a culture in which concepts of autonomy and individualism are virtually unknown. The notions that people have any inalienable rights or that all people deserve the same treatment under the law is mostly unheard of even now.

This means no due process or freedom from imprisonment or murder at the hands of the state. No freedom from theft and no property rights, no control over who you associated with or what you talked about. There is no freedom of speech or expression in China and those who have fought for it over the years - such as Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo - have found themselves in jail.

Mao loved all the children so much he made sure their
dads died in wars and famines so he could read them
their bedtime stories.
But, what is almost worse than all of that is that many of the people of China believe that the state should be imprisoning people for saying unapproved things, and the state does own and control all of the citizens. So, far from merely destroying the lives of tens of millions of individuals who got in the way of authoritarian plans... The philosophies of Mao, when enforced and imposed on a population, eventually rob all the people of their fundamental dignity as human beings.

This, I think, is the greatest evil of authoritarian communism.

And many of the Chinese people I've known over the years have been - for lack of a better description - extremely fearful of liberty, and in turn, fearful of themselves. They are fearful that they cannot be entrusted with the power to run their own lives. Better (in their opinion) to have a ruler self-appointed by violence or by the absurd claims of "divine right" make all important decisions for them.

The autocrat knows best, the lowly peasant is unworthy and that is how the world was always meant to be.

Words simply cannot do justice to how depressing it is to me to watch people affix the chains of oppression and subservience on themselves, but that is exactly what happens under those kinds of regimes. It is the cruelest trick humanity has ever played on itself.

And so now I come to the point of this history lesson...

Submitted without further comment, I give you a few scenes from the Democratic National Convention:

1. "How 'Pro-Choice' are Democrats?" from Reason TV

2. "Democrats: Let's Ban Profits!" with Peter Schiff

3."We All Belong to the Government" from Revealing Politics

How do you feel about these videos?

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