Someone yesterday, in comments, expressed confusion that we “refused to accept” that China could do things perfectly with 40 year old technology. Leaving aside the fact that this wasn’t the claim that started the whole thing: that claim was that China had got the capacity to deliver a missile (or infinite missiles) anywhere in the world at will, while the US was stumbling about in pronoun land, there’s tons of reasons to doubt anything China says it’s doing or has accomplished. Some of them are cultural, some of them are — more importantly, because this will happen again in the future, just as a dog returns to his vomit — the problem of information inherent in all despotism.
Before I get started though, let’s talk about people who run around with their heads on fire screaming that China — or Russia, or Northern Elbowstan at the right hand of the devil — are so much more advanced than us, and all is lost, give up now.
There is a name for this, boys and girls.
I don’t know what anyone else is seeing, but I am, sure as shooting, seeing a war with China and possibly Russia. In fact, the soft coup that took place last year was orchestrated by China, for the purpose of just such a war. And it will bite them in the fleshy part of the butt, because America is not a top-down country, even if all the people the Chinese talk to also think we are (Never mind, they’re finding out differently) and if we get hit, even Zhou Bi-den, the serene Emperor Xi’s vice-roi will be forced to attack them. Because if he doesn’t, his survival will be measured in seconds. Sure, Obama survived the destruction of our embassy, but it was an embassy far away, in a troubled land, and the mass media still had more power than it does now (Or Obama would never have been reelected without fraud that everyone could see. Yes, he was elected by fraud, but it was hidden fraud. And a lot of people who should know better actually bought his image as a healer, even the second time around. Now those masks are well and truly off, probably forever.)
Anyway, in the event of a war with either China or Russia, the softening of the population by convincing us that all is lost, and we can’t catch up, and we’re decadent and soft compared to these stalwarts of military accomplishment — snort, giggle. It amounts to armed forces composed of little emperors, and armed forces composed of stumbling drunks, but okay — is doing the enemies work. It’s called “spreading fear and despondency” and frankly? I’ve had it Up To Here with it. Anyone who does that is not and has probably never been an America patriot. Or at least values their carping, whining and assumption of superiority over their country and their country’s safety. For the love of heaven, at least THINK before you open your big gob and do the totalitarians work for them, okay?
But Sarah, you’ll say, Heinlein compared us unfavorably with Russia (wrongly, as we found out, though he never did) and talked about how much more work we needed to do.
Yeah, he did. And that was different. It was different because we were in a long cold war. Yes, he was buying into enemy propaganda, part of it being because he was a man of his time, and he didn’t see the problems inherent in central control (of anything, really) and part of it was that he desperately wanted us to do more to defend ourselves. So he circulated, with his alarmist statements, a petition which the reader was supposed to sign, saying we’d bear any cost and do any work to supplant the Soviets. That last is a big difference from “We might as well surrender to the amazing might of China and Russia” and if you don’t see the difference, you need to go and think about it a good long while, and stop being open-mouthed gabies whose only use is getting us depressed and to give up. Unless, of course, you are actively being paid by the other side to make us so. In that case, I hope you get what you richly deserve, and a bit more on the side.
Now, why the heck do I have a problem with a rumor of a rumor about the amazing Chinese might and their laser focus on creating super-powerful missiles, and–
Btw the one of you who said their scientific papers are “workman like” except for the ones that are crap, and that’s the same proportion as everyone else…. How many of the workman like are papers stolen from other people, and possibly other times? No, seriously.
Look, China has the same problem with its science it has with its literature, and frankly with its commerce, its economy and its …. modernity.
My friend Dave Freer something like 20 years ago — feels like 300, which I almost typed — told me that the problem with China is that it’s a beautiful lacquered vase, hiding cracks all over, underneath. He was, as usual, right. (Depressing habit of his.)
What he didn’t say, possibly because it was obvious to him, just like mathematical answers are to younger son, who then struggles to explain how he got there, is that the lacquer is modernity. The cracks are China as China has always been: the China where Emperors pursued immortality, where all books got burned repeatedly, where they tried to ban grandmothers from telling stories, and where the individual counts for very little, and oppression lasts forever.
Look, this is not a racial thing. There might — or might not, who the heck knows. As a friend told me recently, genetic coding for personality traits does exist, but we are so far from figuring out how it’s done, that we might as well be kids playing with cans and string and trying to understand cell phones — be a higher quotient of agreeableness in the personalities of the many subraces that make up “Chinese”. Agreeableness in humans is that thing that makes it easier to go along to get along, and that makes a person a better employee, marriage partner, but also a more likely subject to totalitarianism. And it seems to be one of the traits that is coded for genetically, (Yes, that’s why you tend to have entire families of “only if you drag me” stubbornness and why parental curses of “you’ll have one just like you” tend to come true.) But again, how the heck would we know?
Because humans aren’t creatures just of genetics. They’re also creatures of culture. No, I don’t mean environment. Yes, that goes into the pot, too, but the strong part of the environment for any human is “culture.” We are each born and raised in a culture. And cultures behave much like a “collective unconscious” in that they implant in us all sorts of cultural and subconscious detritus, which we would realize are nonsense in the full light of day. But we never take it out in the full light of day, since most of these things were implanted before we could even talk. It’s what allows us to function in our birth culture after we learn to talk. Even those of us who are less people oriented do know to run from a certain tone of voice, etc. And there’s a much deeper programming. Even after you immigrate and acculturate and become super conscious about everything that went into coding your reactions, there are things you’ll not be aware are weird in what you do. If you’re lucky they’ll be small enough people in your culture won’t reject you based on them. (America is much less likely to reject anyone on minor things, simply because our regional variance is so large, and we move around so much. So, there’s a broad tolerance for “weird.” Which as it happens has other advantages, like allowing the really creative, who rarely fit in well, to create.)
BUT the operational thing is: China is a very very old culture, overlaid on others very very old cultures which were repressed and suppressed but probably not completely.
And until recently they were stuck. And might still be. “Attain a certain level/destroy it all and rebuild” seemed to be their thing.
They might or might not have invented most trappings of modernity (so what, the Romans invented the computer. There’s more to invention than merely a single act of “I made this.” To pull humans into modernity there must be tolerance (yes, you heard that) even if no reward for the maker, and also a way to propagate the invention) but it never took.
It never took, because over the millenia of struggle and stomping down, China found some answers to “what is life? what is human?” and more importantly “what works.”
Part of this is that they utterly rejected individualism (as a culture, not people) in favor of collectivism. And part of it is that what they come up with that works is …. adjacent enough to science to totally f*ck it up.
This might be a human characteristic, as our own science is evolving towards it. It’s a “the most important thing is to LOOK like science.” And “feels like” and “sounds like” is more important than results and experimentation.
As a friend mentioned, “harmony” is more important than truth. (So, you know, science by consensus.)
And all of these bits are very old. So old that its almost impossible to uproot them. Because even people who learned and worked in the west carry these undigested bits inside them, and to break them is like dying.
One obvious one is what a young man found in the Peace Corps: medicines that need refrigeration and are sent from the west will go bad, because to inject something cold into the body violates things the Chinese KNOW from their culture they should never do. (This wasn’t China, btw, but an adjacent culture, but yeah.)
We see this “if it looks like” it’s the same in a ton of things. Almost every case of chemical contamination of products like the one that killed cats and dogs, is because the substance substituted had enough characteristics of the right one that for Chinese culture they were the same. It’s not just trickery. It’s a very old way of thinking. If it were trickery and chicanery it could be extirpated from the process, and arguably they wouldn’t do it to themselves. But it’s not. It’s part of things learned so young that you can’t get them out of your brain. So it will happen again and again and again. It will happen in shipments to us (which is why it’s bloody stupid to have anything technological or medicinal made there) and it will happen in vitally important things they want to do.
Now layer upon that the information problem of all totalitarianism. ALL OF IT.
You can measure how badly the chain of command of a country is informed by how much freedom there is. It is also why the freer country will always win. No, it doesn’t matter the relative power. The war can turn into a centuries-long morass with a much less powerful country trying to win, but in the end freedom wins. (If they resist corruption by totalitarianism) because in the end freedom has better information.
This btw was never taken in account by the progressives of the middle 20th century who were enthralled by the idea of “efficiency” and thought centralized was always better. This led to a lot of assumptions, like thinking the Nazis were way better than they were. And the Russians too. And almost cost us the survival of the free world. We haven’t cleaned up that back brain assumption yet, though I wish it would die already.
The problem of totalitarianism is that it reduces the individual to an isolated unit standing before the state, trying to survive.
In survival mode, humans kill, steal, and definitely lie to survive.
If you add on top of that that the totalitarians of the twentieth century have and had a fairy tale view of what humans individually can accomplish if they try hard enough, well…
When your local komissar tells you that you must build an entire city overnight, you’re going to do cardboard cut outs, and tell him you did. And he is going to pass that along and not look too closely, because he too has a boss he must answer to, and there’s no forgiveness in the system. And he wants to survive.
It is said — ah — that Krushev knew that the Soviet Union had “nothing” when it came to missiles or space program (in terms of comparing to the US. We’re only now kind of finding out how many losses and ridiculous failures their space program hid. They only got as far as they did by not giving a heck how many humans they killed, but that only takes you so far.) I wonder if it was true, or if he was one of the duped. Because almost every time the one at the top of the pile is living in a fantasy land.
Even our current bastards, with the level of control they have, and the absolutely refusal to listen to or consider bad news, have created an entire parallel world in their heads, where things work, but only if they never come in contact with reality. (Which is why they’re so panicked. Because nothing is turning out the way they thought it would.)
How parallel and fairytale? Consider that she of the Occasional Cortex, fully steeped in their fantasy land, but not smart enough to realize how bizarre that sounds, made it part of the Green New Deal that “native americans” would be asked to help us learn to live in harmony with nature. I mean, forget that Amerindians were genetically overwhelmed and what remains now is something like 10% Amerindian and the rest European. Even if this knowledge of how to live in harmony with nature (snort giggle) were transmitted through genetics (snort, really giggle) the chances of anyone who claims a blood connection to Amerindian tribes having it would be …. very low. On top of that, there is no proof any of their ancestors ever lived “in harmony with nature” and there’s plenty of proof that like all other barbarian humans they were very bad for the environment. Then take in account she’s talking about fully grown, modern human beings, who grew up in the late 20th century. It’s mind-blowing and brought to mind Good Omens, and the Tibetans digging tunnels and popping up to tell us to live in harmony with nature. But if you scratch most of the Leftist would be elite, in their hearts of hearts they believe this utter bilge, and it’s part of their vision for the world.
Now, as I said, we all have fossilized bits of things learned too young to realize they were crazy cakes, but most of the time we are called on them.
The left here hasn’t been. Not for almost 100 years, because they controlled the media, the education and everything that could break that bubble. So it’s bad.
It’s far, far worse in China, where that repression had more teeth than social posturing and blacklisting if you stepped out of line.
Now am I saying that China is not dangerous? Uh. No. Just like I’m not saying that the left is dangerous. They are both particularly dangerous because in many ways they’re both involved in a desperate struggle for survival, one they’re terrified they’ve already lost. (Population in China’s case. Possibly the left’s too, but in a different way.) So they’re going to fight crazily and do very bizarre things which in the end will hurt them but will incidentally also hurt us. And since we have a vested interest in civilization going on (Barbarism sucks for humans) we have to fight much harder.
But if the last two years have shown us anything is that whatever they can achieve with science, even with the help of western researchers, is not that impressive. Yes, we would totally be all dead, if they could have managed it. But their bio weapon was a dud.
What wasn’t a dud was their psychological warfare.
And they’re counting on that. They’re counting on the custard heads of the west carrying word of their amazing might and power, to make us preemptively surrender. (And btw, if they managed to win this — they can’t — their attempts at empire would last negative amounts of time. It’s not going well in Africa. They are such an old culture, they can’t unbend enough to understand the rest of the world, which they culturally don’t consider human, anyway. So it backfires. Every time.)
That is their best hope, and their best offensive. It’s how historically they’ve won. A lot.
So think before you open your big, credulous maw. Think about what you’re saying, and what it will do.
The only way they can win is by making us give up.
Unless that’s what you want, consider your words carefully.