Yesterday I saw my first advertisement for the 2008 Olympics in China. This event will bring prestige to China. On the same day I received my monthly copy of the fabulous newsletter Impris (get it free at www.hillsdale.edu). For once, I was not in sympathy with this month's article. It was called "Dealing with China in the Coming Years."
The Impris article was worried about China's influence and sustainability, military, and economy. I share worry about our not effectively competing with China economically. We should be as anti-egalitarian and as pro-Western in our dealings with them as they are pro-Chinese. But the rest of the article was very impatient that China turn into a liberal democracy. The article asserts that they are a "dictatorship" and optimistically proclaims in the alst paragraph, "We should talk back to the Chinese when they question our open society, and openly criticize Chinese repression. Above all, we should continue to be a beacon for freedom. . . "
When the Olympics start those who believe in universal human rights will start protesting of China. They will basically be saying that the entire world must adopt Western standards of right and wrong. The Impris article is worried because China's GDP quadrupled between 1978 and 1992. It has since been growing faster. And yet we, with our huge trade deficits are supposed to tell them how to live! Abstract and absolute application of rights for criminals and students and uncensored media are our way. They need not be the way of the whole world.
We are a young nation. As the Impris article points out Asian - American students comprise 50 percent or more of the student body at numerous universities. Perhaps we have something to learn. If we continue to confuse liberty and licence; the right to be responsible in numerous ways and the right to party without consequence; we may not be around as long as China. Rather than telling other people that they must be like us, we can best secure liberty by telling our current population that they must be more like our forefathers. China's future is not our responsibility. We must take care of ourselves.
The Olympics should teach us something. It is a competitive world. Teams that do not accept discipline from their coaches are at a disadvantage. Teams that will allow you to play regardless of how many practices you miss will fail. Teams on which the members do not really care if they win or not - those that are committed to the whole world being one big team under Western individualism - may lose. We should enjoy and learn from China's 2008 Olympics. We should rally for our team, instead of decrying theirs.