The Crystal Ball of Hong Kong by Bill Reader
While I don’t think that we should invade Hong Kong—not being a fan of land-wars in Asia, especially ones involving nuclear powers—I can certainly understand wanting to. Hong Kongers initially rose up in response to an “extradition” bill which would have given China legal cover for the political oppression it has always badly wanted to enforce on the city.
And they have had plenty of reasons to stay exercised, given that China has essentially instituted martial law, overseen by one of their handpicked anointed, no less, in violation of the—let’s call it what it is—doomed-from-day-one “One-Country-Two-Systems” agreement. Predictable as a sunset though this was, their position is quintessentially Western—that the will of the people ought to be able to restrain the excesses of government, and laws apply even to the most powerful.
China, meanwhile, takes the traditional communist view that “the people” are to be listened to in direct proportion to their usefulness to Marxist utopia-building, and pair it with the wholly compatible egomaniacal tyrant view that laws exist mainly to let powerful people herd the proles more effectively.
Review the situation dispassionately and each of China’s responses—some would say blunders— in handling it belies their imprisonment within this mindset, to such a degree that they can’t even practice deceit effectively. I’m otherwise at a loss to explain their silly play at “suspending”—but not removing—the “extradition” bill, unless alternatively, they assumed the collective IQ in the entire city of Hong Kong was about that of a block of lukewarm cheddar.
And, one is minded to ask, my, isn’t all of this very— familiar?
The Democrat leadership in the US is currently waxing totalitarian.
Almost worse than their proposals is their attitude, however. First they demand trillions of dollars of spending, the dissolution of various constitutional rights they find inconvenient to their goals, and the fundamental restructuring of society such that government touches and controls everything and everyone. That’s a polite summary, mind you.
They will then call you vicious names, and use mob tactics to attack you if you oppose them—be it doxxing, be it physical attacks like those just recently witnessed by antifa on people leaving a Trump rally, etc.
Democrats in government think nothing of orchestrating coup attempt after coup attempt, always with a familiar cast of characters— government drones whose names never came within 50 miles of a ballot, usually with hyper-partisan Democratic credentials, collaborating with hundreds of Millennial journalists whose entire life can be summarized as an upbringing steeping in propaganda, followed by a job writing propaganda.
And in case being bullied on the internet and the street, and usurped in the halls of government were for some reason not enough, tech companies take it upon themselves to try to socially engineer and censor conservatives independently. All this, and then their thought-leaders have the unmitigated gall to try to demoralize us with an “exhaustion” narrative. (Why, yes, as a matter of fact, it is wearying to the bone to have many of America’s major institutions reveal themselves as dens of partisanship run by people whose moral compasses point due South at all times. I can’t think of a worse reason to capitulate, but it’s noted.)
If you think that it’s mere hypocrisy driving all this— the fact that Biden’s (or for that matter Hillary’s) corruption gets a pass; that most members of Antifa get to commit felony assault without repercussions; that government drones commit unpardonable crimes and their maximum punishment is retirement to a life of being a paid guest or even a host at a Democrat-lead network; and that any norm can broken, any law, written or socially understood, can be violated, and provided it’s a Democrat doing it, the collective media and justice response will be a shrug— if you have been taking this as a mere partisan double-standard, allow me to humbly disagree.
What China reminds us is that totalitarians, full-fledged and embryonic, use one elegantly consistent standard—whatever advances their cause, that thing is legal and just. All other things are bad. It is only a “double standard” from the perspective of people who view laws as mattering, or institutions and norms as anything other than a tool of whatever group they individually favor, which may change moment-to-moment. I put it to you that everything about the modern Democrats indicates they are on the same single-standard as a China. Arguably, a double standard would be an improvement.
In the circumstances, Hong Kong is hard for a Western freedom-lover to view dispassionately.
China is standing as living proof that totalitarian super-states are not just things that Democrats eulogize in chorus on their debate stages, but real and monstrous creatures dominating more people than we can possibly imagine.
Hong Kong is standing as living proof that free people can, despite overwhelming odds, despite the certainty of consequences and the paucity of hope, stand against these monsters. Moreover they represent the idea that moments come where taking such a stand is necessary. Eric “nuke ’em” Swalwell and Robert Francis “Buybacks” O’Rourke, and the rest of their compatriots would strongly prefer you not associate their policies with any of the places they’ve actually been implemented, prefer you believe the march of “progressive” policies unto the death of the host (as has been seen in all of those places) is inevitable, and prefer you agree that there is never any line that can be crossed that necessitates rolling back said policies by methods not explicitly sanctioned by the people making those policies.
We look to Hong Kong because we fear we could become Hong Kong—formerly and nominally free people bearing the full brunt of attack from slaves and pawns of an out-of-control totalitarian empire, whose benefits are always just around the corner but whose abuses, infringements of real human rights, expansive corruption and dead-eyed-inhumanity are always right here and now. We look to Hong Kong as an example of when and why free people can and must say “enough”, regardless of consequences and regardless of outcome.
Yes, regardless of outcome. Because freedom is either a philosophy you are willing to fight for when all other meaningful options except fighting are gone, or it is a very temporary gift given to you by people who better understood it. It encapsulates the idea that simply being someone else’s slave is not a sufficiently worthwhile existence to merit enduring it simply because it is easier. For if that were not the case, why bother?
I say this each and every post, and I say it in earnest—we aren’t there yet. It’s not a fig-leaf. The rough music hasn’t started. Everything I’ve read suggests, you’ll know it if it does. But I really hope it doesn’t. However, don’t confuse our long continuity of inherited freedoms with the idea that it can’t. Increasingly, the DNC’s leadership wakes up every morning looking to take our unique and working system, and supplant it with a much more common and dysfunctional one. Watch the Democratic debates and take them at their word. If you think that China can’t happen here, think again.
But if it does, I pray that Hong Kong can happen here, too.