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China's Soul [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2006-3-13 11:19:39 |Display all floors
One question that I've never been able to answer, is what exactly is the soul of china these days. America has democracy, and to a lesser extent religion. We obsess over it, discuss it constantly, and generally try to shape our society based on it. China had communism. But now the country is in such a rapid transition that it doesn't seem to have any unifying principle. What does everybody think will emerge as China's new ideal? Will it simply be "work hard and get rich"?

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Post time 2006-3-13 12:04:51 |Display all floors

The Problem is That You Just Keep Talking

And for decades now it has just been talk, and no substance any more.  There are lots of commentators, most of them American, who see the American voting system as a plain and simple farce.  Read "Democracy For the Few" for starters.

1. America does not have a democracy. It has a two party republic system, in which BOTH PARTIES have candidates picked ONLY by the elites.

2. Who are the elites? America is controlled and ran through institutions. There are governmental entities, the courts, think tanks, corporations, charitable organizations, churches, etc. Almost all of the key positions in this hierarchy are held or selected by the elites, who are racially white, middle age or older, Judeo Christian, and upper or upper middle class.  Collectively, the elites do not give a hoot about whether the common man gets a job or not.

3. By virtue of their control of the key positions, the elite and their children garner exaggerated advantages in American life, to the exclusion of the plebeians. The elite largely share the same values, belong to the same clubs and social circles, and are interested in preserving their collective advantages. One key method is through the control of the government.

4. They control the government through controlling the elections. Elected officials are only a small fraction of the Federal and State governments. But invariably the key positions in the bureaucracies are appointed or approved by the pols (either the president or the various Congressional committees). Therefore by leverage, the elites control all levels of government.

5. Moreover, the iron triangle (elected pols, bureaucrats, and industry/special interests) and the revolving door policy (in which the folks in the 3 segments jump to the other segment, with the payoff being that every time one of them goes into industry, he gets a HUGE income jump - often in the millions), ensure that there is full-on collusion 365 days of the year. The elites thus control not only formulation, but also legislation, and promulgation of regulations, and enforcement of the laws and regulations. Since few would be crazy enough to bite the hands that feed, enforcement against industry is more often than no token in nature - can't let that jeopardize the big payoff when you get back into industry. The latest example is the head of the energy dept.? I think Exxon hired him on a fat contract literally days after his resignation (no doubt prearranged).

6. How corrupt is this system? Everyone is on the take. Schwarzenegger is only the obvious example. Then you have the really truly lucky in Pork Belly (like Hilary).  Today, even the Chinese commies are told to better pay to play.  Pls Americans are never the kind to do things small.  So it is $250 million here for Jeb  (name the cruise boat that was leased allegedly to house the Katrina victims, but has stayed half empty for a year now), $1 billion there to Diane Feinstein's hubby's company in Iraq.  At least in China if someone does that, he's be shot.  But in America we are hearing Jeb-Rice 2008.

7. Further, the elite system is highly dynastic. 2nd and 3rd generation scions and spouses automatically move up because of who they are (as born), and not because of abilities. Bush-Dubya-Jeb, Bill Clinton-Hilary, and even Nixon's son in law (who is running against Hilary in NY).

8. The elections are largely a show, a ritual, to trick the citizenry into believe that they have control over the political process, which they don't.

9. Elections have evolved into a highly stylized, hugely expensive (the 2004 race cost over $2 billion dollars - no money no talk) form of prancing and preening of feathers in front of the TV camera. Coiffure and appearance and ability to deliver sound bites dictate the outcome of races.

10. "Election" in America is largely a futile exercise in which all the candidates share the same values (more on that later). They try to differentiate themselves through ridiculous liars' contests. Issues do not matter. It is whomever who can tell the biggest lies ("Campaign Promise" is such a big oxymoron, instead of demanding that their politicians be honest, the American electorate simply accept that such "promises" are not be to kept) that get to be "elected" the leaders.'

11. Over 90% of incumbents are reelected - because they are supported by the moneyed special interests. Without special interest money, you cannot win.

12. Demonstrably the "elected" officials work only to protect the interest of the elite who put them into power. The laws they pass benefit only the rich. Some random examples:

a). The tax cuts benefit disproportionately the very rich. It is regressive in that the more money you have, the better the tax cuts benefit you. The virtual elimination of inheritance taxes benefits largely the rich.

b). The No Child Left Behind laws allow the military recruitment access to the high school children's personal info, in all schools that get public money. On the whole, the rich do not go to public school, and so their children are not subject to the undue pressure and lies of the military recruiters (Uncle Sam wants you, especially if you are poor). MOST in Congress have deemed it uncouth for themselves or their children to serve in the military.

13. The demonstrable result is that in America the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. The top 0.1% saw their income double in the last 10 years, while the bottom 90% saw their income shrink after inflation - and the trend continues. Through "distillation," the wealth of the country continues to concentrate more and more in the hands of the super rich.

14. "Free Speech" is illusory. No money, no talk. Only 5 corporations own over 95% of all "speech" in America, and the press' "speech" is only as free as their bosses allow them to be. So you see the "fair and balanced" outfit like FOX.

15. But the more surprising (at least to the Chinese) is how docile the Americans are. Even after the disclosure of major graft (Schwarzenegger being only the latest), the average American simple shrugs his shoulders and act as if that is indeed acceptable.  And if he can get the constitution changed, he'd probably run for president, and likely win too.

Maybe Fish also  knows in his heart of hearts that this "democracy" is indeed a farce, and that is exactly why America pushes it on others.

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Post time 2006-3-13 12:10:44 |Display all floors

The Soul Is There

This is the song from the movie Sheng Gan Ling.  I think it still stands for China's soul.


My Ancestors' Land


One big river, such broad waves,
Breeze wafted rice flowers scent the banks,
My family home was right there on that slope,
Familiar sounds the boatman's horn,
Familiar sights the white sails on the boats.


This beautiful land of my ancestors,
Where I was born and raised.
On this vast expanse of earth,
Everywhere there is gorgeous scenery.


Maidens like flowers,
Young chaps with big hearts,
For to open up new worlds,
They woke the slumbering mountains,
And changed the way the river flows.


This heroic land of my ancestors,
Where I was born and raised.
On this ancient stretch of earth,
Everywhere there is youthful strength.


Good mountains, good waters, good places,
Every road is wide.
For friends who come there is great wine,
And if there come jackals and wolves,
We greet them with our guns.


This strong land of my ancestors,
Where I was born and raised.
On this warm piece of earth,
Everywhere there is peaceful sunshine.


Voltaire, do you know where Sheng Gan Ling is?  Several hundred brave Chinese soldiers, facing an opponent with firepower literally 1,000 times greater, held the hills.  By the end of the battle, the hills were literally lowered by several feet all around.  Yet the brave Chinese held.

Now that is soul, the soul that defended China's peace for the last quarter century, the soul that will carry the nation for another 50.

[ Last edited by tongluren at 2006-3-13 12:11 PM ]

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Post time 2006-3-13 12:21:30 |Display all floors
I never intended for it to be an insulting or political question, nor am I here to debate whether democracy works. I just put it up as an example, america's central tenet is for better or for worse, democracy.

Many people, like you, respond with patriotism. It is certainly an admirable thing, but to me it does not define a country per se. Most countries have patriots. Unless by it you mean the shared culture of the chinese. I guess I could understand that.

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Post time 2006-3-13 12:59:31 |Display all floors
Originally posted by voltaire at 2006-3-13 11:19
Will it simply be "work hard and get rich"?   ...

actually, it's simpler. just "get rich".

only workaholics want to work hard. usually "get rich" is enough for the ordinary people.
Opinions are determined by interests, but interests are a matter of opinion.
David Hume

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Post time 2006-3-13 13:39:47 |Display all floors

At Least it is Just "Get Rich"

By the tune of the American segment of the Internet, you'd have to think that America's soul is "Get Laid."

Porn is the most profitable, if not the only profitable, of that  biggest  electronic network humans have built.

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Post time 2006-3-13 14:36:48 |Display all floors
good guy
[url=]Chinese Culture[/url]

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