Twofish's Blog

June 18, 2006

The trouble with moral outrage…..

Filed under: china — twofish @ 2:43 pm

I’ve gotten in a lot of hot water over my opinions about China because I fail to show the right amount of moral outrage. Someone points out something bad and true about the Chinese government (like the fact that censors google, is massively corrupt, tortures prisoners, and doesn’t treat Tibetans and Uighurs all that well). I nod my head. Yup all true. And then the speakers gets really annoyed because I don’t advocate a *MASSIVE REVOLUTION* to *OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT*, and despite the bad things am generally supportive of the Communist Party. You must be *EVIL* or *STUPID*.

Calm down and let me explain the problem….

China has already gone through two revolutions, each of which left it in worse shape than before the revolution. If you want to convince me that revolution is good, you have to convince me that this revolution is different. The trouble with revolutions is that it is assumed that the basic problem is that the people rebelling are good, and powers that be are evil, and that heaven will break out when the good people come to power. Trouble is that the issue in most cases isn’t about good and evil, and when the good revolutionaries come to power, they behave in ways that are as bad or worse than the people they overthrew.

The other problem with moral outrage is that is doesn’t last that long. How long can you maintain anger? A day, a month, a year? To develop Mainland China’s political system to the point where it is comparable with the one’s in the United States or Taiwan will take decades of hard work, and then you *still* aren’t done. The United States has been a constitutional democracy for over two hundred years, and *still* each day is a struggle to make it work better. Once you realize that government is hard work, that there will *never* be a day when you can sit back and relax, then you realize that if you base your work on moral outrage, you’ll just burn yourself out.

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