China and the Washington Oscars
As the presidential debates approach, and our grotesque candidates prepare to compete for Best Actor, with their supporting casts of pollsters, advance men, media shills, gestures coaches, focus groups, and allied technicians of mendacity, Americans of broad historical illiteracy, which is most of them, hear endlessly of the evils of China. Whether the evils exist doesn’t matter. The electorate won’t know the difference. Still, it might be amusing to think about the matter. How bad (as Ivanka would put it) is the Middle Kingston?
Permit me a more sanguine view than those of our leftover Cold Warriors. Let us start with what Beijing has done for its people. We might also find enlightening a comparison of today’s China with today’s America.
I know what China was in 1978 when Deng took over: a literally starving behemoth, among the poorest countries on earth, with people eating grass. Forty-two years later it has lifted several hundreds of millions from poverty, and the remaining poverty would not be recognized as poverty by the slum dwellers of India. Perhaps I err, but this seems to me both astonishing and admirable. No other country, ever, has done such a thing.
Overage Cold War hawks and salesmen for the arms makers like to say that China is “totalitarian,” which sounds appropriately terrible without meaning anything specific. How many people have been in a genuinely totalitarian and Communist country? I was in the Soviet Union when it still was the Soviet Union, and it closely matched John Bolton’s onanistic fantasies: grim, poor, intimidated, no stores or consumer goods, empty streets with cars only for the government, people sullen and dispirited. As we flew out on Aeroflot, people spontaneously broke into applause as we passed the Russian frontier.
This is not China. Walk the streets in Chengdu or Chongqing. Traffic (unfortunately) reaches American levels. You will see stores selling anything you would find in, say, Washington, running from cheap to pricey, large grocery stores tastefully decorated (a Chinese touch) with everything from staples to gourmet food. It is First World. Thi
Article from LewRockwell