Third Party & Independents Archives

December 14, 2004

America Headed for Orwellian Perpetual War?

Mr. Lantos (D) on the House International Relations Committee calls for an end to China’s one child policy to manage its former population explosion and calls for American sanctions against China to force them to cease enforcement of the One Child Policy.

Mr. Tancredo (R) indicated our government will not take such drastic actions and implied that the consequences to the U.S. and its economy and international relations with China would be too greatly harmed by such measures.

The Committee discussed a case where a woman was interrogated and tortured regarding her violation of the One Child policy as well as her incarceration. Also discussed was China's policy of levying a 40 times family income fine against violators.

The issue of course is the famine, disease, and death, of young, old, and all in between if China does not manage its population growth which still far exceeds the nation's economic resources and distribution to support a humane quality of life for all of its citizens. On the other side of the coin is the human rights of its citizens which are horribly violated in some circumstances when violation of China's policy occurs.

For Americans, including our Congress, the issues are very different. On the one hand, the U.S. reserves and acts on the right under the Bush administration to invade and kill a hundred thousand Iraqi's in the name of elevating the human rights of the survivors of that invasion. Yet, Congressional members are discussing taking international provocative actions against China over its internal policy governing its management of its greatest single barrier to quality of life for its citizens, overpopulation, and lack of resources to sustain that population.

One the one hand, it appears the U.S. is heading toward a foreign policy that reserves the right to intrude upon internal domestic policy of other nations if the U.S. deems those policies in violation of U.S. standards of human rights in that nation. On the other hand, the U.S. refuses to subject itself to governing organizations like the International Court, Geneva Conventions (in relation to the war on terrorism), and the World Health Organization when it attempts to dictate U.S. policy for the benefit of global humanity (pollution and other issues).

Such a dichotomous and contradictory foreign policy bears the seeds for international conflict that leaves the U.S. without any high moral ground to stand upon, due to the hypocrisy of such policy initiatives.

Should the U.S. refuse appeals by foreign nations to alter its own policies while reserving the right to force internal policy changes upon foreign nations? It is a debate that needs to take place in the halls of our Congress and in the Oval office, and amongst the American people. For if the U.S. continues upon this path of foreign policy, surely perpetual war like that envisioned by George Orwell as so necessary to authoritarian states, shall become America's future.

Posted by David R. Remer at December 14, 2004 11:38 AM
Comments
Comment #38583

Could become? I wouls say IS, and has been for the last 50 or 60 years. I dont remember a time when the US was not at war. And in terms of China, we wont force CHina to do anything, the same way we didnt force the Soviet Union to do anything. As a rule the US doesn’t attack countries with the ablity to fight back. What we will do is consistantly find a ‘bad guy’ with no real means of defending themselves, make them the face of evil, and ramp up the war rhetoric at home. A war economy is only one in which we can grow the economy at a huge pace, while not really increase the living standard of the general population in any meaningful way. Its the only in which can employ thousands, or millions of people, without really producing anything useful. It was Lybia when I was a kid, its Iraq now, maybe Syria next? Im not sure. What it wont be is a country with a viable army or nothing we want.

Posted by: Justin at December 14, 2004 11:53 AM
Comment #38641

I’m not too worried about threats of sanctions. In most cases, the threat is just a way of sending a message.

What bothers me is the lengths the administration goes to avoid upsetting China. Remember, Bush actually apologized to them when they caused our spy plane to make an emergency landing, held the crew captive, and then dismantled the plane. I believe the term is kowtow.

We spent half the 20th century ready to blow away the USSR, ourselves, and the rest of the planet to stop the spread of communism. Now the Bush administration is just handing China the keys to everything. Go figure.

Posted by: American Pundit at December 15, 2004 07:52 AM
Comment #38646

David —

You make a good point about the administration’s hypocrisy, and I hope someone from the Red Team responds to it. How can you justify torture and humiliation and midnight house raids when you’re condemning other countries’ inhumane acts? You can’t have it both ways, talking about morality when it suits you and pragmatism when it doesn’t. Are different human lives “worth” different values? If so, wouldn’t it be an offense to God to say that you have the right, the vision, and the power to judge it?

Posted by: Alejo at December 15, 2004 08:51 AM
Comment #38648

David -
I’m currently reading Macchiavelli’s “The Prince”, and he makes Orwell’s point just as clearly. As long as there is an outside threat, the people rally to the prince. Peace is an invitation to dissent.

Some things never change.

Posted by: Chops at December 15, 2004 09:50 AM
Comment #38679

The one-child policy is as clear a violation of human rights as what is going on in Sudan. heck, perhaps we could talk about the Rwanda Genocide as “population control.” If the thugs who run China would be willing to open up their nation to freedom and free enterprize (not the bribe-based “capitalism” they are currently running under), the resources of the people could easily sustain the population growth. Of course, unlike David’s assumption, the Chinese leaders couldnt care less about their people- they care only about retain their dictatorial power.

I am going with AP on this one- we have been appeasing China way too long out of short-term economic interests. We had the same problem with Chile- where we supported them despite Pinochet’s human rigths violations. eventualy in the 80s we smartened up and withdrew our support. The problem is the economic interests that tie us to China are FAR stronger- so it would take an incredible act of politicla courage to truely oppose them. Sadly, I dont think this adminstration (like the one before it, and the one before that) will have the guts to do ANYTHING about it…

On David’s other point… think what you want of the Iraq war, and innocent people have died, but the goal was not to kill innocent people, it was to liberate the nation (I am sure others think we went in there for other reasons, but i dont think too many woudl seriously contend we were TRYING to kill innocent people). in China, as with other murderous regimes, the goal is to end innocent human life to accomplish whatever goal they want- be it “population control” as David likes to put it- or the reign of the Hutus (in Rwanda)- or the expansion of german “living space” during WWII. I would be proud of a nation that was willing to stand up against these kinds of actions- as I was proud of our nation for the Iraq war. Similarly, i am ashamed of our handling of this China situation- right on, Mr. Lantos!

Posted by: Misha Tseytlin at December 15, 2004 04:40 PM
Comment #38682

Misha, my favored nemesis, I was a bit surpised to see a Libertarian cheer a Democrat. But, then, you are a very issue oriented debater.

So what you are arguing is that it is evil to prevent life from coming into being, but, it is virtuous to freely permit overpopulation which in turn destines 100 million or more already born to suffer poverty, disease, wasted aspirations, and horrid death due to insufficient resources and delivery systems to support them.

That’s one helluva an argument. I could not disagree with more.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2004 05:17 PM
Comment #38684

Mishah, P.S., the one child policy would be reprehensible in the United States at this time, given our wealth, and efficient delivery systems for consumables to those in need. But, it is the height of culural-centrist myopia to consider such a policy out of its context in China.

What’s next, should we invoke trade sanctions in China until the last Buddhist converts to your Christain values? Context, my friend, context. The Buddhists of China do not hold the same value system as Christians here. But, you seem to be arguing that Christian Values, specifically, Catholic values on all human birth real or potential is to be protected, should be the policy the U.S. imposes on the rest of the World?

You are a Bushite, and just won’t recognize it, I think.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2004 05:24 PM
Comment #38691

David,
How is china’s one child only policy any more acceptable than criminalizing abortions? Ignoring the fetus for a moment, isn’t the one child policy a forcible interference in a woman’s right to her own body? This population control policy could not be instituted in the United State not just because of our wealth, but also because we respect people’s rights to determine their own lives. I think that reproductive rights are some of the most fundamental that we have, and they certainly transcend Christianity. Thinking that opposition to the forcible killing of unauthorized children and draconian punishment of the parents is pushing Catholic values doesn’t compute to me.

Posted by: brian at December 15, 2004 05:53 PM
Comment #38693

“I think that reproductive rights are some of the most fundamental that we have, and they certainly transcend Christianity.”

I would agree, I think there are many here who will be willing to restrict that right here, while claiming the moral high ground on China. I dont want to speak for him, but I think that might be Davids point.

Posted by: Justin at December 15, 2004 06:08 PM
Comment #38694

Brian, do we not take money from all for the common good of the nation. Do we not pass laws restricting people’s freedoms to do what they choose for the benefit of all in the nation?

The one child policy is warranted given the economics of their nation. Remember, China has only been a nation in the modern world for about 50 years. Our nation installed slavery and committed atrocities upon them in the name of growing the nation.

I have serious critiques over some of the methodology applied to enforce China’s one child policy. Torture and bankrupting whole families as a means of enforcement is intolerably inhumane. The one child policy however can, and is being defended by China as a very humane policy, given the devastating suffering that would take place without the policy. It is what they perceive to be a choice of the lesser of two evils.

The one child policy is NOT installed to be vindictive or to satisfy some power monger’s whim. It is designed to prevent mass suffering that could easily be turned into civil war and revolution. It is for the preservation of the nation and its people that the one child policy is installed. On that basis, I believe it is a justified policy for China given its religious, cultural and historical context.

It is American intolerance of anything not American that refuses to see their one child policy as anything but evil. Such mypopic thinking could easily lead US leadership down a path of confrontation with China over their internal policy which in no way threatens the U.S. That very confrontation could become a threat to the U.S. That is one of the central points of this article.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2004 06:38 PM
Comment #38696

Guys, Bush is only looking for the money. China has far too much money invested in the U.S. for George to piss them off right now.

Posted by: Rocky at December 15, 2004 06:46 PM
Comment #38700

David, david, david. You know very well i am not the least bit christian. I am russian jew born in the soviet union who has, through deap reflection , decided i am an agnostic.

Anyway, on this issue….

1. The hutus did not think the tutsies were equal human beings- the nazis did not think the jews were- many do not think unborn children are. I happen to disagree with all of these views (you can consider my view that all of these, or some of these groups, as a “religious” view, but that belief would have no foundation). My view is based upon the belief that someone is a person based upon who they are, not based upon their race, ethnicity, current development level or even whether they are not convinient to other people.

2. You have absolutely no proof that this is in any way the chinese’s people value, even if it was rightful for them to choose it (which it is not). The chinese have no representative government that has chosen the one-child policy- the policy is the dictates of thugs who rule by power. It is like if I took over the united states and the imposed all of my views on all of you. if another country were to intervene to stop me, would they be imposing their values on the united states, or just stopping me from impose my values?

3. I dont think you actually believe your cultural relativism argument. I remember you agreeing with me that we SHOULD HAVE imposed our anti-genocide views in Rwanda (and I am assuming you would have supported imposing our anti-genocide views in WWII). So its not a matter of whether you think we have the RIGHT to impose our views, its just you want to impose them in some areas and not others. When it comes to forced abortions, either pro-choice or pro-life people should stand up and oppose China’s policies and use this country’s leverage to do something about it.

4. I support Semocrats on all kinds of stuff- they are pretty good in opposing government power when it comes to civil liberties (at times). I just get frustrated with their inability to understand that economic liberty is just as important as any other kind of liberty. I also get frustrated with them in their unwillingness to support civil liberties when issues or race are involved.

5. If by a “Bushie” you mean someone who thinks that ruthless thugs have no “right” to speak for a nation, and that their soveriegnty are rulers-by-strength deserves no respect, then i am damn proud to be a bushie. You know I supported the iraq war, but voted against Bush for his domestic policies.

Posted by: Misha Tseytlin at December 15, 2004 07:36 PM
Comment #38703

“intolerably inhumane”- David, what are these words of moral judgement? Isnt this, as you say, myopic?

That is my whole point, my friends. We all understand that there are some things that are intolerable, and we should do something about them. Its just a matter of where you are drawing that line.

Posted by: Misha Tseytlin at December 15, 2004 07:40 PM
Comment #38704

One more point David. Perhaps your arguments bother me so much because they remind me of the arguments that were once made to justify what Stalin was doing (but no less a mind than Ludwig Wittgenstein!) No one has a right to kill off their own innocent country men in pursuit of what he declares is “best for the nation.” The very notion of justifying that is against any coherent understanding of human rights…

Posted by: Misha Tseytlin at December 15, 2004 07:44 PM
Comment #38705

Misha, there is no comparison between preventing some people from taking the lives of other people without due and just cause, and preventing people from being born.

Sheeesh!!! Misha, next your goint to tell me that on our future colonization of a planet in another solar system, a trip that will take 3 generations to complete, that the signers on should have the free and unfettered right to explode the population beyond the ship’s capacity to sustain them all long before they arrive at the new planet. You do realize of course, that scenario would result in a very non-humane survival of the fittest struggle that would be frought with murder, sabotage, and revolt, right?

The parallel is inescapable, Misha. But, go ahead, dig in your American heels into your American values and presume to know that a handful of thugs could possible have the power to put down a revolt by 100’s of millions of its own citizens, who by your esteemed assessment absolutely hate their government and its values. I guess all them Chinese are just gutless wonders who despite their hatred and contempt for their government just can’t seem to muster the courage to fight back on something so sacrosanct as the right to breed beyond the nations capacity to suppport.

Ahh! but then there was sticking point in such an argument called Tiannaman Square? Guess they are not such gutless wonders afterall. Which begs the question, where is the vast revolt over the one child policy in China?

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2004 07:57 PM
Comment #38706

The point is, the law says ONE CHILD. There is no vast revolt against this law. It is in the interest of the nation as a whole to have this law. Preventing conception is not the same as Stalin killing his people. Contraception is not a crime. Violating the ONE Child rule is a crime. I don’t have any problem with that.

I do of course have problems with the enforcement of the law. As you know abortion is not a problem for me, but, the family should have an elective choice whether to abort or put up for adoption, or keep the child provided one of the parents goes to prison.

Hell, we send innocent people to prison all the time here, there only crime was to get high and feel good using by ingesting the leaves of a plant. Not like it is going to cause widespread devastation, starvation, or overwhelm the capacity of medical facilities.

Get real. The U.S. has no more right to interfere in the internal affairs of another nation than al-Queda had to interfere with ours.

Sorry about the Christian thing, I was referring to the argument, not your personal religious preferences.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2004 08:12 PM
Comment #38720

David,
A response to some things you said:

I do of course have problems with the enforcement of the law. As you know abortion is not a problem for me, but, the family should have an elective choice whether to abort or put up for adoption, or keep the child provided one of the parents goes to prison.

Why do you object to the enforcement of the law, but not the law itself? It is their culture, after all. Maybe being against torture is just a culural-centrist myopia (although with Bush in command, it’s also hypocritical). Why do you want them to have choices? Aren’t choices just a product of our culture?

Misha, next your goint to tell me that on our future colonization of a planet in another solar system, a trip that will take 3 generations to complete, that the signers on should have the free and unfettered right to explode the population beyond the ship’s capacity to sustain them all long before they arrive at the new planet. You do realize of course, that scenario would result in a very non-human survival of the fittest struggle that would be frought with murder, sabotage, and revolt, right?

Wow, very sci-fi. I would assume, however, that any participants in such a fictional endeavor would have worked out and agreed to population issues before embarking. I doubt that forcible limitation on family size was the driving force behind support of Mao, or that it is widely popular. I don’t know, but to think that it is part of some social contract with a brutally opressive regime is stretching.
go ahead, dig in your American heels into your American values and presume to know that a handful of thugs could possible have the power to put down a revolt by 100’s of millions of its own citizens, who by your esteemed assessment absolutely hate their government and its values. I guess all them Chinese are just gutless wonders who despite their hatred and contempt for their government just can’t seem to muster the courage to fight back on something so sacrosanct as the right to breed beyond the nations capacity to suppport.
Ahh! but then there was sticking point in such an argument called Tiannaman Square? Guess they are not such gutless wonders afterall. Which begs the question, where is the vast revolt over the one child policy in China?

When I think about Tiannaman square, I see that the people know that any revolt will be brutally repressed. Wanting to live does not mean they support wholeheartedly the policies of the government. Rather than demonstrating that the people are actually happy, this argument says that the people have values opposite those of the government, but that they are unable to express them without being killed.

Get real. The U.S. has no more right to interfere in the internal affairs of another nation than al-Queda had to interfere with ours.

Really? I’m not suggesting blowing them up, or killing thousands of innocent people. I think that that’s a little worse than diplomatic statements or some economic pressure.

Brian, do we not take money from all for the common good of the nation. Do we not pass laws restricting people’s freedoms to do what they choose for the benefit of all in the nation?
We do take money from people, and restrict freedom somewhat. However, we try to do so in as minimally invasive a way as possible, and value some things such as fundamental reproductive rights above others. This doesn’t answer my question as to why you are so pro-choice, yet see nothing wrong with the far worse government control in China.

I think that you are probably right as to the necessity for population control in China. However, it may also be the case that the leaders know they can’t support increased population without embracing economic freedom and they would rather repress basic human freedom than change their oppressive system.

About our right to interfere in other governments, I think that we can trade with whoever we want to, and if we think that a certain country is acting in an intolerable manner, we are free to regulate our trade, aid, and foreign policy accordingly. I apply this equally to other countries; Europe, for example, dislikes our capital punishment policies, and I would understand completely if they used whatever means they had to pressure us to change them. Same thing for the Guantanamo bay fiasco.
That doesn’t mean blowing us up or trying to overthrow our government, and I would never advocate that for China, as you seem to be saying those who disagree with you are intending. I think that the extent of moral relativism you are trying to embrace is unsustainable. We have to stand for something, or we are not a people. I think that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is a summation of what America should be, and want in the world.

Posted by: brian at December 15, 2004 11:36 PM
Comment #38729

Brian, you can any where you want to, but this is totally about economics. They’ve got people we have products, it’s that simple.
It seems that since the eighties America has been all about the money.
I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Posted by: Rocky at December 16, 2004 01:30 AM
Comment #38743

Brian asked:
Why do you object to the enforcement of the law, but not the law itself?

“Brian, read my responses to Misha for the answer to that question. I have made this abundantly clear. I agree with the concept that citizens have an obligation to conform to the laws of society if they wish to enjoy the benefits of society. I also admire those who in their conscience believe society is wrong about a law and sacrifices in order to change it. I think it is a fool however, who challenges a law without knowing if there will be a groundswell of support for his/her sacrifices, for that leads to wasted sacrifice and no change.

Really? I’m not suggesting blowing them up, or killing thousands of innocent people. I think that that’s a little worse than diplomatic statements or some economic pressure.

All international confrontation between nuclear nations has the potential of becoming a “blow them up” situation. It is very naive’ not to recognize this I think. I have no problem with our Congress discussing and debating China’s One Child Policy. I will have immensely strong protest if our Government decides to confront China with hostile or intimidating actions on this issue. That threatens Americans. Congress has a far greater duty to protect and defend us here than it does to protect and defend others in other nations, especially when it involves internal affairs of another nation which do NOT threaten the U.S. in any way.

I think that you are probably right as to the necessity for population control in China. However, it may also be the case that the leaders know they can’t support increased population without embracing economic freedom and they would rather repress basic human freedom than change their oppressive system.

So? That is there business. If the people want it to change, let their people change it. If an overwhelming majority of their 1.2 Billion people demonstrate they want it to change, then, and only then, would I consent to our government weighing the costs of intervention. It does little good to intervene if we end up nuking 2/3 of those we wish to aid, now does it? not to mention our own losses.

I think that we can trade with whoever we want to, and if we think that a certain country is acting in an intolerable manner, we are free to regulate our trade, aid, and foreign policy accordingly.

I absolutely agree, provided the consequences to our own people will not lead us to war. There is a reason we have a State Dept. full of diplomats and that diplomacy is based on respect and courtesy. It avoids military confrontations. The U.S. can ill afford to alienate China as one of the major investors underpinning our huge national debt and balance of trade. Republicans and Dem’s alike representing American corporations see a vast market for export in China. Do you think it is an appropriate choice to cut off our nose to spite our face?

Brian, santions against Japan brought the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is in every history book. Your view of the harmlessness of sanctions is, well, you fill in the blank.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2004 06:36 AM
Comment #38754

Rocky,
I completely agree, but that doesn’t make it right.

David,
I actually agree with much of what you are saying. I think that I’m trying to argue more from a perspective of ethics, and you are talking about real world consequences. I am not advocating threats of force, or crippling China’s economy, or anything of the sort. I think, however, that the one child law, especially with the associated enforcement policies, is a human rights issue, and that the law limits one of the most fundamental rights. I mean, along with breathing and eating, reproducing is one of the most basic parts of being alive, much less human.

It does little good to intervene if we end up nuking 2/3 of those we wish to aid, now does it? not to mention our own losses.
This argument reminds me of my high school debate days, where every action proposed by the affirmative team was guaranteed by the negative team to cause nuclear war in seven different ways.

Your argument about the people not wanting to change the laws as evidenced by their lack of popular revolution is interesting, but to me not convincing. I think that in representative government, you can hold the people to that kind of standard, but opressive totalitarian regimes subjugate the will of the people by nature, and it has to get really bad for the people to overcome their fear of death. We never had a general slave rebellion, but slavery was still immoral and against the will of the slaves. The mere fact the the punishments are so severe for violations of the one child law seems to indicate that there is resistance to the law, to the extent that the force used to enforce it has had to escalate.

There is a reason we have a State Dept. full of diplomats and that diplomacy is based on respect and courtesy. It avoids military confrontations.

I totally agree. If you read my other posts, I am and always have been totally against the Iraq war, and usually war in general. I do think, however, that the one child law is an issue the state department should be concerned with, because it is repressive on a fundamental level.
Brian, santions against Japan brought the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is in every history book. Your view of the harmlessness of sanctions is, well, you fill in the blank.

My understanding was that it was Japan’s imperialism and disregard for the sovreignty of other nations that led to the sanctions, and that pear harbor was an Iraq war-ian attempt at a preventive strike against our military interfering in their sphere of influence.
I don’t think that opposition to repressive or immmoral policies are just foisting our cultural values. I know that sometimes it can be, as in the free-marketization of Iraq. I think that some things, however, go beyond the realm of differing viewpoints. Genocide, mass rape, starvation as a means of political control are all wrong. The one child law is on the edge of this distinction. As such, I don’t think we need to endanger the US economy or national life to force a change, but we don’t need to ignore it either.

Posted by: brian at December 16, 2004 10:24 AM
Comment #38759

brian, I understand your ethical position. But, it fails to consider the consequences of overpopulation which have already proven in China to be inhumane.

Ethics without real world context and opportunity cost analysis is mental masturbation at best, and frought with unintended consequences at worst.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2004 10:57 AM
Comment #38760

Folks, let us remember, we are talking about a nation with one thousand two hundred MILLION people. It simply cannot be argued that any government over that many people can continue to rule without the consent of the majority. It is simply not feasible.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2004 11:00 AM
Comment #38768

David,

Ethics without real world context and opportunity cost analysis is mental masturbation at best, and frought with unintended consequences at worst

“mental masturbation” is what all of us on this blog are doing; I don’t see anyone in office whose ideas are actually making a difference posting here. I like to think and talk about ethics. I think that focusing on the “real world” in the absence of any ethical considerations leads to disjointed policy, hypocrisy, lack of credibility and an inability to judge if your efforts are having any effect beyond making yourself richer. What good does it do to gain the whole world if we lose our own ideals?
Folks, let us remember, we are talking about a nation with one thousand two hundred MILLION people. It simply cannot be argued that any government over that many people can continue to rule without the consent of the majority. It is simply not feasible.

Why not? Autocratic rulers have dominated the entire world for most of recorded history without much input from the people. I think the distinction is between consent, which could be taken to mean “not so bad that we will fight and die to remove you”, and will, which means truly representative of what the people want. (I’m defining terms as I go along) The gap between consent and will grows as power is consolidated and the people are dispersed, either ideologically or physically. If 6 guys control the army, they certainly can rule with the consent of the people (no rebellion) with practically zero will of the people, for the simple reason that conditions are not quite bad enough for the people to throw themselves forward as victims for purposeless slaughter. It’s not like all 1.2 billion people are going to converge on Beijing on the same day.

Just a side note about the “inhumane” nature of bringing children into the world in poverty: I think that that thinking is the worst kind of cultural imperialism. I bet the suicide rates among the truly poor and the truly rich are not much different. Just because someone doesn’t have as much as we do doesn’t make their lives meaningless. Harder, yes, but people adapt to what they have and where they are. We should try to help those people as much as possible, but judging for families whether they have enough money to have children based on living standards of industrialized nations is, in my opinion, terrible. It’s like on “the amazing race” that I saw on Tuesday, the girl said “It’s horrible! there’s so much poverty but they just keep breeding” The picture showed dirty, skinny, and generally happy kids, living in houses. Their children are probably what makes a lot of these people happpy and gives meaning to their lives, just like here. You don’t have to have much to be happy; for a lot of people, you just need a child.
I know that you’re going to come back with arguments that the children would starve, die, etc., but I still maintain that the parents should choose. Offer incentives, promote contraception, whatever, but don’t take away by force such a fundamental aspect of life.

Posted by: brian at December 16, 2004 12:26 PM
Comment #38771

Brian, I respect your position and opinion on this matter. I spent the early half of my adult life championing idealism without regard for unintended consequences. “I was so much older then, I am younger than that now” Bob Dylan sang. Then I knew everything, now, I question everything. Including those who would justify our imposing our values and ways on other nations. Our nation is not without is serious flaws. China is no different.

But, self determination by a people begins with the people. The early colonialists enjoyed having the security of the British Navy and Army and their ties to the King. Even during the Revolutionary War, a great many loyalists spoke up for their rights to remain British subjects. In the end, we determined our fate. Because we determined our fate, both then and in the Civil War, we are a union with an identity that we jeolously protect.

China also had its revolutary wars and civil wars, just a half century ago. Who in America really believed that when Hong Kong and Singapore were handed back to the Chinese government that they would continue to grow as capitalist free market leaders of the East. Very, very few. We misjudged the Chinese government then, and those who believe we know better how to run their lives, I say, ignorance is bliss. One only need to look to Iraq to see the fallacy of that policy.

As I said orginally, it is the height of hypocrisy and intolerance of all that is not American for Americans to presume to tell other nations and their people’s how they should be like us. That is authoritarian thinking if I ever heard it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2004 12:48 PM
Comment #38774

David, your statements about China’s tacit consent of the governed nothing short of wishful thinking, and more likely completely ignoring of the truth. The soviet union governed almost this many people for some 70 years without consent of the people (thats a little something my family knows about), and the people of Iraq, Chile, and lots of other nations who have lived under dictatorships over the passed 50 years will attest to the same thing. You need to come up with a better argument than that to justify the dictatorship in China.

It is not about the people of China, Soviet Union ect. being weak-willing or whateer, it is about the government controlling the massive power of weaponry that modern powers hold. Back in the days of the revolution, individual patriots could fight the british with similar weapons. Now the people have been disarmed, while the government has tanks, bombs, fighter jets ect.. we are living in a different era, and you need to adjust your thinking accordingly.

FINALLY, even if you continue to stick to this tacit consent myth, tacit consent is not good enough. The people need to actually have a say in their government, not some bizzare pseudo say because they dont want to rise up and have their family slaughtered…

Posted by: Misha Tseytlin at December 16, 2004 01:07 PM
Comment #38776

I see what you are saying Misha, but, it lacks rational credibility, IMO. Russia never, ever, had anything close to 1.2 billion people. Plain false.

There is nothing wrong with my argument, because history bears it out. In the U.S. a one child policy would result in a civil war regardless of weaponry in the hands of the mightiest military on the face of the earth. It is not happening there. I suspect in the same we Americans who vehemently oppose our federal income tax system, pay those taxes nonetheless for the privilege of retaining our freedom in this society, the Chinese may not like the policy en masse for personal reasons, but, accept the law for the privilege of keeping their freedom to live and work in their nation. I think it is you is engaging in wishful thinking that all people everywhere would leave their country for ours in a heartbeat.

Different cultures, different beliefs, and different personal histories in the context of their society all lend themselves toward stability in a society. A huge volume of sociological research is available on this topic.

Ever heard of Viet Nam? Where was the parity in weaponry? The Chinese people don’t need advanced weaponry to engage in guerilla warfare. History demonstrates guerilla warfare can take place under any circumstances regardless of lack of parity in armament.

No government can avoid civil war and insurrection if it does not have the assent of most of its people. The riots of the sixties and the demonstrations and large acts of civil disobedience are close to home examples. Your arguments lack merit, Misha.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2004 01:28 PM
Comment #38777

P.S., the grandest example of the 20th century was India throwing off the yoke of the British Empire with little more than sticks and rocks and single shot small arms.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 16, 2004 01:30 PM
Comment #38804

David- why didnt the people of the soviet union overthrow stalin? Do you think they enjoyed having millions of their country men killed and taken away by the secret police? What about the millions of people that Pol Pot slaughtered- do you think the Cambodians “consented” to that because they couldnt get rid of him? How about Pinochet’s multi-decade reign- do you think the people of Chile were all for that? The difference with India is that the British empire was far away and had better things to worry about. The Chinese leaders are much more like the situations of Pol Pot, Stalin and Pinochet. This is the center of their power, and they will do whatever it takes to retain power.

Also, look what happend when people tried to rise up against Sadam… he slaughtered then by the hundreds of thousands. thats your “consent of the governed” 20th century style. This is why i think its amazing that anyone claims we violated Iraq’s rightful sovereignty through this war… what a joke.

Posted by: Misha Tseytlin at December 16, 2004 04:28 PM
Comment #38816

“This is the center of their power, and they will do whatever it takes to retain power.”

Isn’t this true of all governments? What government wouldn’t attempt to put down an armed uprising using force?

Posted by: justin at December 16, 2004 06:14 PM