Lessons From Hong Kong: Pay Attention, America (EP.185)

Tiananmen Square

Introduction

In 1841, Britain, by then a constitutional monarchy with democratic voting, seized Hong Hong from China’s Quing dynasty as part of Britain’s colonial expansion. In 1997, Britain returned Hong Kong to one-party rule China, as part of China’s expansion. 

China, quite predictably, is working hard to break its 1997 

promises of non-interference with freedom-loving, capitalist Hong Kong. Tens of thousands of Hong Kong protesters, the real Antifa, are struggling to resist absorption by Communist China. There are important lessons for us in America in the broken promises from China and in the pro-freedom struggle.

That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.

Continuing

Despite what China promised in 1997, and has reiterated ever since, China is hell bent on swallowing freedom-loving Hong Kong, and making it a part of its one-party rule regime. If you think about it, China has never experienced anything like freedom. From the Emperors to Mao to today’s Communist Party, China and the Chinese have always been under autocratic rule. And they are not about to change. They will eventually swallow Hong Kong. In part because they planned on doing exactly that all along, and in part because they know that an island of freedom in a sea of greatly restricted freedoms is simply too dangerous to be allowed to stand. If you have a piece of cheese with mold on it, you need to cut the mold out before it spreads. To China’s rulers, freedom is the mold that needs to be removed, either surgically or by simply smashing it. 

China infamously smashed a 1989 pro-freedom protest in mainland China in Tiananmen Square. The well publicized photo showing a confrontation between an individual citizen and the tanks that the rulers had called out to suppress the thousands of protesters is hard to forget–once you have seen it. Was the ruling Communist Party in China at all embarrassed? Not a bit of it. This was just a hiccup to them. Did the world’s free countries do anything but huff and posture? Barely a whimper.

And the Communist Party of China has the patience to out-wait everyone, to wait until all the storms blow over, and swallow freedom-loving Hong Kong in relative silence. Oh, there will be the obligatory huffing and puffing, but no one will do a thing. China will continue to slaughter Muslims, deny many basic freedoms to its own citizens, cheat in international dealings, swallow Hong Kong whole–and get away with it.

So, Will, I get all of this, but what is the lesson for us, for Americans? Answer. Hong Kong, long free, is being gobbled up by autocratic China. Worse, far worse, we Americans are eroding, carving up, our own freedoms. Like a snake eating its own tail. 

We are allowing our freedoms to erode on a multitude of fronts. The demand for correct speech, PC speech, is one. Cancelling, basically declaring a PC violator to be a nonperson, in another. And cancelling is not at all benign; it often ruins careers and one’s ability to produce income along with destroying reputations. 

Cancelling raises it ugly head everywhere from Hollywood to the Internet to campuses to charities. Kevin Hart, a black American stand-up comedian, actor, and producer, had been selected to host the 2018 Academy Awards, but in December of that year he stepped down as host in response to a backlash due to several alleged homophobic tweets from 2010 and 2011–7 and 8 years prior. Hart stated “If you don’t believe people change, grow as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you.” Hart issued an apology to the LGBTQ comnmunity and stepped down as the host. Hart later announced he was going to reconsider stepping down, after openly lesbian comedian Ellen DeGeneres, who has hosted the Academy Awards multiple times, expressed support for Hart to be the host and said she telephoned the Academy to ask if Hart would be able to reverse his decision if he wished and, according to DeGeneres, the Academy said he would be able to do so. Hart’s apology was deemed “insincere” by the cancel culture. The ceremony was held without a host that year.

Who is going to host the awards in 2019? They are going to have to someone who has never done or said anything that would offend the cancel culture warriors. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Here’s another. You cannot have equality of outcome and freedom simultaneously: pick one. -Will Luden. Let’s hear another voice on this: “Human beings are born with different capacities; if they are free they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.” -Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, Russian novelist, historian, and short story writer. Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970.

The focus on equality for many politicians and their supporters has shifted from equality under the law to equality of outcome. The former is highly desired; the latter is highly dangerous. I suspect that part of the reason for the shift is that equality under the law has been obtained, and activists needed something new to jump on. BTW, if you disagree with me that we have achieved equality under the law, point out where that is not true, and I will join you in fighting it.

This focus on equality of outcome began with affirmative action, then added things like a universal basic income, free healthcare, free K-16 education, and free food and housing. You can throw in the increase in minimum wage to this argument when the argument is that a starting wage has to be sufficient to support a family. Hey, a starting wage should be able to support one person–with multiple roommates. And Ramen noodles.

All of the above comes with major losses of freedoms. And not just the loss of financial freedom to those paying the bills, but loss of freedom for those accepting the support, much of it lifelong. And multi-generational. 

Question: What would happen if we divided up all the money and assets–homes, stock and bonds, everything–in the US and immediately shared it equally amongst the 330M of US? Would that solve all of our problems? Would that solve any of our problems? Not a bit of it. Here’s my prediction: In 5 years, maybe less, the money and assets would flow right back to where it started. The people who valued real education, know the basics of how money works, and were willing to dig in and work hard over time, would have it all back. And the people who didn’t, would be right back to where they started.

Redistribution can work. If–if what we redistribute is a work ethic, delayed gratification, love of education and respect for authority. Redistribution of income and wealth takes a massive government. The redistribution of what we are talking about is more like one-on-one. Are you in?

Our Founding Fathers and many thousands of others, risked everything by fighting for our freedoms. What are we willing to do to keep them?.

Contact

As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple, Google, or Stitcher.

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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

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Will Luden

I am your host, Will Luden, former long-time high-tech CEO and Board Chair. I had no idea when I started this podcast that it would become the highest calling of my professional career. Lincoln famously hoped that a government, “…of the people, by the people and for the people…”, would not perish from this earth. My hope, the reason for Revolution 2.0 ”A Booster Shot”, is that a government based on common goals, achieved by applying non agenda-based reasoning to core facts, will allow us to continue to build on our mutual inheritance of a legacy of dedication to seemingly impossible ideals, a legacy that also includes a history of achieving them.
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