How China and the USA are alike

China and the USA are almost total opposites in culture but there is a sad list where they share common grief with the potential for national failure.

• First is “political correctness” another way of hiding the truth. Chinese call this saving face. When your “face is saved” you can be sure a problem is NOT being addressed. Future success is always based on facing and solving problems.
• The government silences its critics. China’s censorship is harsh in the extreme. In the USA we only have biased, lazy newsmen, like NBC, who simply filter the truth for falsities or nonsense. Then there is outright ignorance. Back in the 30s the only researcher in China was Edgar Snow whose glowing view of Mao Zedong helped formulate a mild and wrong approach to the Communist manipulator through the NY Herald. The minute Mr. Snow got smart his access to Mao stopped. China has been in the censorship business for a long time. Public acquiescence to government policy in both nations is based on false or inadequate knowledge. Fortunately many horribly biased newspapers are closing their doors. And NBC has the lowest ratings of them all.
• This is also called “managed news” and the Chinese don’t like it either. The White House and Congress have mastered it. Happily we have the Internet now where we can get information and even though much of that is stupid, at least the stuff is there. This week while we have focused on pirates in the sea, President Obama has turned over the tax code revision to someone besides our Congress.
• Lack of accountability in government: As our government gets larger avoiding correction is harder because it is too big to police. It is possible however, that egregiously higher taxes will prompt a more vigilant public. We learned a few years back a local Mayor had embezzled a lot of money. He avoided prison but the population of the town went down in the last census. People will vote against corruption with their feet. In China of course it is corruption that is causing the problems. All of government is behind closed doors.
• Our educational system has for 60 years been a disgrace which generates a lot of attention and money but no correction. The Chinese people, having the same problem, started sending kids to weekend private schools. But the teachers fought back by opening their own schools, then extorting money from parents by threatening bad grades. This means really good schools find competition hard. However, the yearly exam will expose the uneducated child. But waiting 16 years to learn you have been scammed leads to disillusionment and cynicism for the Chinese.
• China and the USA both have too many laws, and when the sheer number of laws increases, so does non-compliance.
• Both nations suffer from over-regulation where people hired by politicians tell others what to do. They are not controlled by open elections nor disciplined by the courts. Consequently they are the real, faceless oligarchy and they can keep innocent citizens in endless litigation.
• Moral collapse has been decried for decades. America has lost her moral footing; China has not had one for a long time. China has ethics, an agreeable system of getting along with other people. Morals mean that you eventually answer to God for your behavior. Regardless, when a system of acceptable behavior is not upheld poison seeps throughout the culture. Some current music can only be called reprobate. China keeps that stuff out, but has nothing to replace it, so prostitution, divorce and AIDS are major problems swept under the news rug.
• Then there is the redacting of history – another word for “making history comport with my illusions.” Fortunately US watchdog groups are reviewing textbooks for silliness and lies. In the USA, for example, Stalin murdered more people than Hitler, and Chairman Mao more than Stalin, but people focus on Hitler as the world’s bugaboo. Of course they are all the same, tyrants.
• China has mastered this; it weakens the Chinese people because of how little they know. Last spring, after I brought in a large number of students to our school in China, the teachers were praising my efforts. “Tao Lee, they said, “you are amazing.” I said, “That is because I am a capitalist!” Their jaws dropped in shock. They have been taught that capitalists are evil. I continued. “We know how to make money.’” It never occurred to them that capitalists are people who know how to make money, the ultimate goal of all Chinese.
• China made a Faustian bargain last century – to sacrifice freedom and be rid of wicked landlords and violent warlords. They woke up to find the Communist party controls all land, and spends lavishly on armament. In the USA a soft life is what we want and we now have a government who has promised all things to all men – except of course, happiness. It is a lousy trade.

~

China and the USA are almost total opposites in culture but there is a sad list where they share common grief with the potential for national failure.
• First is “political correctness” another way of hiding the truth. The Chinese call this saving face. When your “face is saved” you can be sure a problem is NOT being addressed. Future success is always based on facing and solving problems.
• The government silences its critics. China’s censorship is harsh in the extreme. In the USA we only have biased, lazy newsmen, like NBC, who simple filter the truth for falsities or nonsense. Then there is outright ignorance. Back in the 30s the only researcher in China was Edgar Snow whose glowing view of Mao Zedong helped formulate a mild and wrong approach to the Communist manipulator through the NY Herald. The minute Mr. Snow got smart his access to Mao stopped. China has been in the censorship business for a long time. Public acquiescence to government policy in both nations is based on false or inadequate knowledge. Fortunately many horribly biased newspapers are closing their doors. And NBC has the lowest ratings of them all.
• This is also called “managed news” and the Chinese don’t like it either. The White House and Congress have mastered it. Happily we have the Internet now where we can get information and even though much of that is stupid, at least the stuff is there. This week while we have focused on pirates in the sea, President Obama has turned over the tax code revision to someone besides our Congress.
• Lack of accountability in government: As our government gets larger avoiding correction is harder because it is too big to police. It is possible however, that egregiously higher taxes will prompt a more vigilant public. We learned a few years back a local Mayor had embezzled a lot of money. He avoided prison but the population of the town went down in the last census. People will vote against corruption with their feet. In China of course it is corruption that is causing the problems. All of government is behind closed doors.
• Our educational system has for 60 years been a disgrace which generates a lot of attention and money but no correction. The Chinese people, having the same problem, started sending kids to weekend private school. But the teachers fought back by opening their own schools, then extorting money from parents by threatening bad grades. This means really good schools find competition hard. However, the yearly exam will expose the uneducated child. But waiting 16 years to learn you have been scammed leads to disillusionment and cynicism for the Chinese.
• China and the USA both have too many laws, and when the sheer number of laws increases, so does non-compliance.
• Both nations suffer from over-regulation where people hired by politicians tell others what to do. They are not controlled by open elections nor disciplined by the courts. Consequently they are the real, faceless oligarchy and they can keep innocent citizens in endless litigation.
• Moral collapse has been decried for decades. America has lost her moral footing; China has not had one for a long time. China has ethics, an agreeable system of getting along with other people. Morals mean that you eventually answer to God for your behavior. Regardless, when a system of acceptable behavior is not upheld poison seeps throughout the culture. Some current music can only be called reprobate. China keeps that stuff out, but has nothing to replace it, so prostitution, divorce and AIDS are major problems swept under the news rug.
• Then there is the redacting of history – another word for “making history comport with my illusions.” Fortunately US watchdog groups are reviewing textbooks for silliness and lies. In the USA, for example, Stalin murdered more people than Hitler, and Chairman Mao more than Stalin, but people focus on Hitler as the world’s bugaboo. Of course they are all the same, tyrants.
• China has mastered managing ideas; it weakens the Chinese people because of how little they know. Last spring, after I brought in a large number of students to our school in China, the teachers were praising my efforts. “Tao Lee, they said, “you are amazing.” I said, “Because I am a capitalist!” Their jaws dropped in shock. They have been taught that capitalists are evil. I continued. “We know how to make money.’” It never occurred to them that capitalists are people who know how to make money, the ultimate goal of all Chinese.
• China made a Faustian bargain last century – to sacrifice freedom and be rid of wicked landlords and violent warlords. They woke up to find the Communist party controls all land, and spends lavishly on armament. In the USA a soft life is what we want and we now have a government who has promised all things to all men – except of course, happiness. It is a lousy trade.

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