Microsoft’s new anti-piracy ad campaign in China

You can have a look at the ads here. Will they make the slightest bit of difference? I hate to be cynical, but if ever there was a long, hard slog, it’s the campaign to sway China to respect intellectual property. After walking through a Zhongguancun mall the other day, I’d say the campaign has a long way to go.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 138 Comments

“I’d say the campaign has a long way to go.”

I can only assume that was very dry humour. I’d say that the campaign is dead in the water.

I challenge anyone living in China to go out and find just one individual who paid market price for authentic software.

August 30, 2007 @ 12:17 am | Comment

I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference. People who buy pirated software are already aware of the risk; and, frankly, I think the amount of money you save is worth it.

The only way they’re going to stop it is serious litigation against the producers and distributors of pirated goods.

August 30, 2007 @ 10:32 am | Comment

Seems the wild wild East has it’s role model in the wild wild West: http://tinyurl.com/2etxhg
That doesn’t make it better. But it seems to be a historical constant that those a liittle behind in the race don’t play by the rules allways.

August 30, 2007 @ 10:38 am | Comment

I find that argument – that China is now at the equivalent of the Industrial Revolution (per Shulan’s link) – hard to swallow, what with all the excess and flaunting of wealth everywhere in China’s big cities, as well as the general lack of concern about the plight of the workers. In the Industrial Revolution, the biggest catalyst for change was the free media. Books like Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and articles from muckrakers awakend the public conscience and drove reform. In China, the news gets out sometimes, as with the Shanxi province brick factory and the ongoing mutilation of workers in the Pearl River Delta, yet there doesn’t seem to be much outcry – the phenomenon of “social conscience” that seems to be a direct result of the Enlightenment hasn’t taken hold here yet, and that was a key factor to reform in Europe and the US. Charles Dickens’ books on child exploitation sent a wave of revulsion and resulted in meaningful change. In China it appears the majority of citizens has not agreed to what Rousseau termed “the social contract.” So the elements that led to drastic change in the West’s Industrial Revolution aren’t here in China, or at least I don’t see them. So that argument – that China will progress the way Europe and the US did – seems fatally flawed to me. It can only happen when the majority of citizens agree that the situation is intolerable. As long as the primary – and often the only – concern is oneself and immediate family, there is no motivating force for reform.

August 30, 2007 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

what with all the excess and flaunting of wealth everywhere in China’s big cities

It’s probably the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen, I hate the nouveau riche. But stuff like that happens whenever a poor country becomes rich, regardless of how primitive and apelike it is.

the phenomenon of “social conscience” that seems to be a direct result of the Enlightenment hasn’t taken hold here yet

It never took place in “the West” either, unless you’re being really, really liberal with that term.

August 30, 2007 @ 1:37 pm | Comment

“It never took place in “the West” either, unless you’re being really, really liberal with that term.”

Ignore it people. You can’t “explain” a rainbow to someone who’s never seen color.

August 30, 2007 @ 2:08 pm | Comment

Ferins, it is a matter of fact, not speculation, that social conscience led to huge changes in America, such as turning against worker exploitation and child labor and many other societal ills. Same in Enlightenment Europe. That doesn’t mean life was all peaches and cream for all citizens, but there were laws that prevented child labor and all sorts of means to report it, and then to sue the perpetrator and bring them to justice. Does it always work? Of course not, but America made monumental strides when you look back to the mid-19th century. Again, it was muckrackers like HL Mencken and Ida Tarbell who made a tremendous difference, awakening the public to the crimes going on behind the factory walls and in the board rooms of Standard Oil. This is where a free press and rule of law make all the difference. And it was the social conscience of mainstream America that brought about the changes, because these people vote and those in power want to stay in power and know they cannot if they don’t listen to their constituents. (Bush, as usual, is the big exception here, ignoring virtually everyone – and yet here, too, social conscience will soon render the Bush administration an anomaly, like a terrible sickness.) Anyway, sorry for the monologue. Now tell us, who are the muckrakers in China, and what platform are they using to generate widespread disaffection with the exploitation of workers, the severed digits, etc. There are some, but most are relatively quiet or under arrest.

August 30, 2007 @ 3:15 pm | Comment

“Now tell us, who are the muckrakers in China…”

Please indulge me as I’ve referred to this Monty Python line several times before, always in the same context as here, but it just never loses its usefulness:

“And in the Happy Kingdom there were no grumblers or malcontents, because Wise King Otto had had them all put to death under the Happiness Act.”

August 30, 2007 @ 8:28 pm | Comment

Ferins, it is a matter of fact, not speculation, that social conscience led to huge changes in America

You mean like they stopped invading other countries to lower commodity prices on feigned ideological bases? Oh oops, hi Iraq. And maybe Iran, or Pakistan.

Have they stopped killing poor people with their consumerism? Nope. Still among the highest co2 emissions per capita in the world, still feeds its people unhealthy food that causes obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Still exports chemical death to third world countries (Bhopal, China pollution, McObesity, etc). The inner city in many urban areas are still third world cesspits.

Is America still squandering its position as the dominant market in the world by buying worthless garbage instead of spending and investing properly? Are they propping up “evil regimes” like the CCP and Saudi royals? Check.

Are American Indians still treated like shit and being left with life expectancies lower than Guizhou? Yes.

America has definitely learned how to take care of itself better, that’s for sure. Too bad they kill hundreds of thousands in other countries to do it. Well, maybe not if you’re counting auto accidents, crime rates, negligent deaths, and obesity but otherwise…

So tell me, is it going to magically stop after 2008? Wow, it only took 232 years. Definitely really praiseworthy considering all the wealth and power America and Americans control.

Back to the point though, about democracy and such, America votes with its dollars and they said yes to massive pollution, yes to wasted money on superfluous excess, yes to medical testing on third world children, yes to screwing with economic incentives in developing countries, yes to provoking jihad, yes to destroy someone else’s country and kill hundreds of thousands of people, yes to propping up the CCP, for whatever it’s worth.

I guess since there’s not much people can do to make major changes they will have to wait 10-15 years to see what transpires. Until then Chinese people will have to support each other more and learn what kind of language they’ll have to use for criticism to be acceptable.

August 30, 2007 @ 9:00 pm | Comment

Ferins, please stop being a moron. Stop pointing to George W. Bush as though he is representative of America. He is a freak, an anomaly, an aberration. Yes, America has done bad things in its history like every other country, but we all know its systems work relatively well. As I’ve said, you don’t see snakeheads making a killing offering to smuggle Americans into China. No matter how many bad things you can think of to say about America, the country works and its people are way better protected than in China – again because of free speech and rule of law. It fails at times, and there are horror stories, though none along the lines of your Shanxi brick factory or multiple other horror stories that are daily fare in China (workers not being paid after six months of work, with no recourse… massive lead poisoning of children thanks to officials on the take…people thrown into jail for decades for an email they wrote…well, you know all this already).

You’re just another angry America hater. Sometimes I hate America, too, but when I do, I try to see distinctions, to understand what is good and what is bad. Just as I do with China. I know that China is much more than those horror stories I cite above, and I always make that clear; it’s a bad country and it’s a splendid country. But with you it’s all slogans and rage. Simmering and sometimes explosive rage. Let’s remind everyone what you said just a couple of days ago about the Chinese opening up the country for the Olympics:

The only thing that’s baffling is that Chinese people are so eager to show people who beat Chinese people to death, bomb Chinese restaurants, and send militia death squads after Chinese minorities their good side.

China, permanent victim; the outside world – and especially the US – permanent enemies who must never be forgiven for committing the ultimate sin, humiliating the great nation with 5,000 years of glorious culture. As I said after you posted your deranged comment about the Olympics, you’re just a small-minded hater and a bearer of grudges. (Sorry, but you are intentionally pushing buttons so I’m giving all the readers context about how your enraged psyche operates.)

I’ve never deleted your posts. But I request politely that you don’t push too far. We all can see what your game is.

August 30, 2007 @ 9:58 pm | Comment

He is a freak, an anomaly, an aberration.

I remember the good ole days, when black people couldn’t vote, the mentally retarded were forcefully sterilized, the effects of syphilis were tested on the negro male, MKULTRA was underway, where people don’t vote for blacks or women because they’re black or women… oh wait, that’s today! It’s still democracy, even without Africans or wenches in the picture.

Damn, America has really gone downhill in recent times, I mean it was only some time ago when they were out doing the good Lawd’s work, like annihilating American natives, lynchin’ color’d folk, overturning democratic elections in foreign countries with bloody CIA backed coups, installing dictators (hi Papa Doc, Mobutu Sese Seko, and Pinochet), enforcing embargoes targetting Viet children (a baby commie is still a commie), and killing a few hundred thousand Filipinos whenever they felt like it. Why, we ev’n done ann-ex’d some states from them Mexicans and Polaynesiuns.

At least gay-hating remains a national obsession, so when there’s a call for asinine meddling in the private lives of adults (though they could learn from China), you can count on the far-right fundamentalists to pony up and fulfil their God given duties.

America has never been a good nation, don’t kid yourself. It doesn’t matter if you can vote either, the fundie Christians outbreed and outnumber you. Maybe once America is 70% Mexican they can secede and in turn part of America can start minding its own business. So lets be realistic, America has pursued her national interests with no regard to human life or the welfare of other people. Zero.

But then again, I don’t think America is a gay-bashing, bible thumping, sister banging, mule loving, trailer park hoedown. Just like how I don’t think China is all a kiln-slave, lead paint, pollution, joke of a country.

August 30, 2007 @ 10:18 pm | Comment

No time now but again, you love to seize on the worst stories, all revealed by America’s free press, and use them to prove how vile America is. I repeat everything I said above: America has done awful things and magnificent things. You can look into any country’s history and find horror stories. Every country. At least we all know exactly where you’re coming from. If I talked about China the way you rant about America, I’d have no readers. Immature guys on the Internet bloviating about how evil America is are a dime dozen. They are boring because they see no nuance and consider nothing outside their very narrow worldview. I know there’s no hope in arguing with you, but at least I can remind readers of your goals, and of your blind and incessant rage, fueled by a permanent inferiority complex. (And little wonder!)

August 30, 2007 @ 10:37 pm | Comment

you love to seize on the worst stories

LOL, you don’t say now. If I hit backspace, I find the sky is falling.

They are boring because they see no nuance and consider nothing outside their very narrow worldview. I know there’s no hope in arguing with you, but at least I can remind readers of your goals, and of your blind and incessant rage, fueled by a permanent inferiority complex.

Psychoanalysis flatulence.

Do you ever wonder why you don’t seem to ever get any opposing points of view except rather extreme ones? Could it be that moderate people are put off by the rampant autocoprophagia of the readership (coughnanhe/ivancough).

Nevermind, that was just my inferiority complex, (full of incessant rage. argh! i’m so angry!) you’re always right.

August 30, 2007 @ 10:45 pm | Comment

Back on the subject of piracy, I’ve noticed that the sale of pirated Microsoft software has now been ‘banned’ at Bainaohui. Where once it was openly on sale on the 4th floor, now it is only available ‘under the counter’. Is this just to impress visitors before the Olympics?

August 30, 2007 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

Maybe Bill Gates traded a little something of his in exchange for some patent protection:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/lifestyle/2007-06/29/content_906167.htm

August 30, 2007 @ 10:51 pm | Comment

ferins is a Mainland Chinese pirate copy of a Taiwanese.

August 30, 2007 @ 10:57 pm | Comment

Ferins, don’t push. It’s great to disagree with me. Lots of readers here disagree with me, usually politely. Don’t try to push the envelope too far.

August 30, 2007 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

ferins is a Mainland Chinese pirate copy of a Taiwanese.

oh yes, the “you’re a commie spy” card.

Lots of readers here disagree with me, usually politely.

it’s mostly nanhe and ivan smearing crap all over the comments section and generally making themselves look silly. where are the moderate dissenting opinions? i tend to avoid places where people agree with me, which is why i come back to this site so much.

August 30, 2007 @ 11:04 pm | Comment

Being an object of obsession of CCP trolls is evidence that I’m doing something right.

“ivan smearing crap all over the comments section…”

Dude, if Richard doesn’t consider it crap, it’s not crap. He decides what’s crap on his own blog, and you have earned that designation.

Digression: Richard, speaking of trolls old and new, my puppy has developed an obsession with my underwear, chewing on it every chance he gets. You know which old troll that reminds me of…

See ferins? See the kind of good humour you inspire? You remind me of an obsessive pervert, and then Richard and I end up getting a laugh out of it.

August 30, 2007 @ 11:24 pm | Comment

No you are obsessed. Or something totally puerile as expected.

What troll do I remind you of? Hong Xing? Straw man sure is great.

August 30, 2007 @ 11:27 pm | Comment

When nanhe calls China “bad” I call him out on it and threatened to ban him. And I am doing the same to you. I don’t always agree with Ivan or nanhe (or anyone else, come to think of it), but they often leave smart comments that make me think. I often seriously disagree with them. But I never threaten to ban or delete anyone for disagreement. But I do when I think they are here solely to clog up the threads ad push people’s buttons to push them off course. (Look what you’ve done here.) Already today you’ve left 15 comments in four different threads, all seeking to stir people up. Okay, I’m a nice guy, I let you do it because, in truth, sometimes you make a good contribution and you’re not stupid. But like I said, use good judgment and respect your host. Thanks.

August 30, 2007 @ 11:30 pm | Comment

I feel sorry for taking people’s forums into directions they didn’t ask for, it’s too tempting to take a deep jab at some posters’ missionary attitudes though.

August 30, 2007 @ 11:35 pm | Comment

Richard,

I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks that Ferins is spamming this blog with irrelevant comments. I’m not suggesting that you should ban him. But it’s important to point it out for others to know. Personally, I’m not interested in engaging him in any discussions at all.

August 30, 2007 @ 11:49 pm | Comment

Stern condemnation noted, I guess. You have to get a dissenting view somewhere.

August 30, 2007 @ 11:52 pm | Comment

Ferins, I invite readers to read your comments in the threads below so they can see the game you’re playing. They can also see how there is lots of disagreement with me, all cheerfully tolerated (like in the Smoke and Mirrors thread – lots of disagreement). But only you seem intent on taking on a taunting tone and turning every conversation into a fight, all the while glorifying yourself as the One Noble Commenter putting his neck on the line to dissent in a house where everyone agrees with another. That’s pure horseshit and everyone, including you, knows it.

August 31, 2007 @ 12:07 am | Comment

Ferins, I invite readers to read your comments in the threads below so they can see the game you’re playing. They can also see how there is lots of disagreement with me, all cheerfully tolerated (like in the Smoke and Mirrors thread – lots of disagreement). But only you seem intent on taking on a taunting tone and turning every conversation into a fight, all the while glorifying yourself as the One Noble Commenter putting his neck on the line to dissent in a house where everyone agrees with another. That’s pure horseshit and everyone, including you, knows it.

August 31, 2007 @ 12:08 am | Comment

If my tone is as harsh as I mean it to be, it’s because the hypocrisy dished out in the comments is staggering.

August 31, 2007 @ 12:11 am | Comment

the phenomenon of “social conscience” that seems to be a direct result of the Enlightenment

Here’s one example of something that strikes me as odd, or ahistorical. Unless you mean “social conscience” in a really, really loose way I’m going to say you’re forgetting a few inconvenient happenings between then and now.

I wouldn’t say modern China is completely bereft of common deceny. Before the Mao Era at least, Chinese people were fairly civil; with or without being graced by Enlightenment.

August 31, 2007 @ 12:21 am | Comment

Where do you see staggering hypocrisy? I constantly assail my government in my posts and in the comments. Where’s the hypocrisy? You’re now up to above 20 comments. For someone who finds this site a hotbed of hypocrisy you seem to love it here. Seriously, it looks like you’ve spent the entire day here. Do you work?

August 31, 2007 @ 12:27 am | Comment

I’m not linking the above post with the one right before it, btw. I should have clarified.

That one was directed more at the “Che Guevara” types or the “bad China” and “my Chinese wife…” types.

August 31, 2007 @ 12:27 am | Comment

who finds this site a hotbed of hypocrisy you seem to love it here

I specifically look for them, that’s the thing. I lose interest in sites where there’s no disagreement. Another example was the Sudan post. Fine and dandy, then come the “bad China” and “regime” comments.

Bonus question:

China is to Sudan as:
a) Azerbaijan is to Libya
b) Afghanistan is to Morocco
c) The United States is to China
d) Palau is to Indonesia
e) Tajikistan is to Austria

Do you work?

I’m a student.

August 31, 2007 @ 12:31 am | Comment

“i tend to avoid places where people agree with me, which is why i come back to this site so much.”

No. You’re here because it’s pointless preaching to the choir elsewhere and because you are paid to push an anti-western agenda by your masters.

August 31, 2007 @ 2:20 am | Comment

Realism and humanism can sound anti-Western sometimes, I suppose.

If I were an idiot I’d say you were paid by the CIA to push “splittism”.

August 31, 2007 @ 3:26 am | Comment

In China it appears the majority of citizens has not agreed to what Rousseau termed “the social contract.” So the elements that led to drastic change in the West’s Industrial Revolution aren’t here in China, or at least I don’t see them. So that argument – that China will progress the way Europe and the US did – seems fatally flawed to me. It can only happen when the majority of citizens agree that the situation is intolerable. As long as the primary – and often the only – concern is oneself and immediate family, there is no motivating force for reform.

-Richard

Good observation, but as I understand it this is not the Chinese people acting as they normally would but a direct result of the partys intention to make sure the Chinese people consider themselves nothing but animals and have very minimal standards with regards to morality and human dignity.

In keeping the Chinese people believing they are animals, they believe the party needs to control them. In eliminating belief in the Tao and stuff like that, the party is able to get away with anything. So the party made the people crappy so that they would accept crap as leadership. And just like kim jong, they tell the Chinese people that everything else is just as crappy or worse, or against them in order to make sure they dont get any ideas about having a higher standard.

Thats how I see it.

August 31, 2007 @ 5:41 am | Comment

but a direct result of the partys intention to make sure the Chinese people consider themselves nothing but animals and have very minimal standards with regards to morality and human dignity.

Lets not be so dramatic. Plenty of Chinese people are capable of thinking for themselves.

August 31, 2007 @ 8:08 am | Comment

@Richard
The comparison of Chinas development to that of the US and Europe is flawed, like any historical comparison is.

But in the case of product piracy I find it valid to bring it up, as the parallels are so big. It really seems like a historical constant that the one behind in the race doesn’t care about business convention too much up until the point when he himself is in the position to loose something, when another of those eager to catch up starts copying his products.

On your point of the social conscience and the effect of a free press and a more transparent political system would have on the development, I would say, that you are half right, Richard.

I also see a big obstacle for progress in the absence of means of checks and balance, but nevertheless see something like a social conscience developing. The internet, I would say, is a huge contributor to this development. Just look at the hundreds of thousands of NGOs that where founded till now. All the young people who try to make a difference. Sure it is far more difficult here to do that than in the West, but the consciousness is evolving.

August 31, 2007 @ 9:42 am | Comment

Shulan, I agree about social conscience in China – it IS growing in spite of the party’s dread of it. That’s why so many blogs are closed down and everyone is under pressure to register. It is growing in spite of China’s system, not because of it. In the US freedom of speech was always the No. 1 guaranteed right, absolutely sacrosanct (thus, the First Amendment). At least before Bush arrived at the White House. And it was always a catalyst for change, long before the Internet, or even alternating current, existed.

The other point about piracy isn’t too clear to me. China has already caught up technologically when it comes to, say, producing DVDs. Piraters there just know they can make a killing selling pirated versions in volume at cheap prices. I don’t think their copying of DVDs and making fake Gucci bags is indicative of any desire to catch up – they are doing that on other fronts, such as PC design, space exploration, weapons design, streamlined manufacturing facilities – but only of a desire to make a buck at any cost, the same as any pirater , be they in the US or China or Thailand. I don’t think those running the pirate shops where these fake products are motivated at all by a sense that they need to catch up with the rest of the world. They see a way to make money fast and they do whatever is necessary to get it; they re not striving for anything better, working to develop and improve their country. Well, maybe they are, but I don’t see it. I put them in the same category of piraters everywhere – they are trying to cheat the system and profit off the work of others.

August 31, 2007 @ 10:07 am | Comment

I wouldn’t say modern China is completely bereft of common deceny. Before the Mao Era at least, Chinese people were fairly civil; with or without being graced by Enlightenment.

I guess that’s why Chinese youth and intellectuals in the 4.5. Movement embraced the ideas of the Enlightenment and denounced the civilizing effects of Neoconfucianism.

As to common decency in todays China see my above comment.

You are not here to argue reasonably, ferins, but just to fight. Your stupid simplifications are boring and in no way cunning, as you seem to think they are.

August 31, 2007 @ 10:10 am | Comment

when he himself is in the position to loose something, when another of those eager to catch up starts copying his products.

http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=1290&language=1

iirc WIPO is saying that China is 3rd now when it comes to patent requests (though the quality of them is unknown to me) so they might start respecting IPR more.

August 31, 2007 @ 10:21 am | Comment

@Richard
well I am not a big friend of pirating myself, Richard. The motives of any pirate is not noble, that was not my point. I just see it in a historcical context. And I see China still on the historical path of catching up. That is no reason because of that not to ctitizise the Chinese government and the mentality among a lot of it’s businessmen and women. But it helps to understand the situation in China a bit more, I think.
But surely there are big obstacle for China to have a “normal” historical developement. The judicial system is the biggest one, I suppose.

August 31, 2007 @ 10:25 am | Comment

In the US freedom of speech was always the No. 1 guaranteed right

It depends on who you were, but I guess I don’t need to expound on that further. I’m not so sure following the steps of the U.S would guarantee anything in China; rather, loosening overly strict regulations controls by the CCP would make the most difference.

I guess that’s why Chinese youth and intellectuals in the 4.5. Movement embraced the ideas of the Enlightenment and denounced the civilizing effects of Neoconfucianism.

They were naive. They were wrong in thinking the U.S would save them from warlordism and Communism and they subsequently abandoned all their pro-U.S, pro-Europe thought. If you want to compare Confucianism and post-Enlightenment Protestant society then take a look at crime rates, welfare reliance, educational attainment etc. by ethnic group in places where there are Japanese/Korean/Chinese minorities.

August 31, 2007 @ 10:28 am | Comment

Shulan, agreed, which is why I understand wy the environment in China is what it is, and why labor conditions are less than delightful. I just don’t put piracy in this category of cathing up, but I see where you re coming from.

About Ferins… Shulan, he’s not here looking for a fight, he’s looking to ridicule. He’s doing it on different threads, same spiel. Maybe we just write him off as a clown or a troll – I try to seriously engage with him, but it’s not working. It’s like kneejerk rection, raise a point and the script pops out: America is evil.

August 31, 2007 @ 10:31 am | Comment

aya, write so bad English today. Need another coffee.

August 31, 2007 @ 10:33 am | Comment

America is evil.

Well, in this case, you’re specifically mentioning America as something with a social development path China should follow, which I disagree with. And the claims you’re making are completely ahistorical unless you really have a loose definition for “morality”.

August 31, 2007 @ 10:47 am | Comment

They were naive. They were wrong in thinking the U.S would save them from warlordism and Communism and they subsequently abandoned all their pro-U.S, pro-Europe thought.

Your historical ignorance is staggering, fernis. When did the 4.5. guys ask the US to save them? And save them from Communsim? In 1919, when few in China had a vague concept of what communism ment yet, and those in the movement who did saw it as a promise and not a threat – aside from the fact that there didn’t exist a communist party in China in 1919.

August 31, 2007 @ 10:48 am | Comment

@Richard
I’ll try a bit.

August 31, 2007 @ 10:51 am | Comment

Did I say China should follow America’s social development path? Or is that something you are inferring because it’s what you want to think I said so you can continue your rant about how bad America is?

August 31, 2007 @ 10:54 am | Comment

If Microsoft could just lower the price of Window XP or Vista and its Office suit in China, it will far more effective than these ads. Is it even reasonable for Window XP, Vista and Office to cost more in China than in US?

For example, in US, rarely people are using illegal copy of Window operating system because it always come with the system (OEM version cost less than $50). Microsoft Office cost $100 if you have access to academic pricing; hack you can buy the academic version from Fry’s or Bestbuy without showing your student ID.

Lower the price IDIOT!

August 31, 2007 @ 10:59 am | Comment

Lower the price IDIOT!

the price is around 3$, isn’t it?

Did I say China should follow America’s social development path?

no, but you made the typical references to enlightenment and how america progressed through the industrial revolution.

When did the 4.5. guys ask the US to save them?

They expected the U.S to support them in the face of imperialism and Sun Yixiang hoped for help with the warlord problem.

Then there was the upsurge of Communism and the Nationalists were still expecting more support.

August 31, 2007 @ 11:12 am | Comment

Argument:
Fernis: China was civil, don’t needs enlightenment
Shulan: But there were a lot of people in China who wanted a Chinese enlightenment in 1919. It seems they saw a need
Ferins: They were naïve and they thought the US could rescue them from communism, which was most naive.
Shulan: rescue them from communism in 1919?
Ferins: Later when there were communists in China.

PS
What has the emracement the ideas of the enlightenment to do with an alleged hope for political help from the US anyway?

August 31, 2007 @ 11:38 am | Comment

Did I say China should follow America’s social development path?

no, but you made the typical references to enlightenment and how america progressed through the industrial revolution.

And there we have it. I never said – and you agree I never said – that China should follow America’s path. You just like to put words in people’s mouths.

Isn’t everyone getting really tired of this? Take a look around – Ferins is hijacking threads and having a blast.

August 31, 2007 @ 11:44 am | Comment

You’re stating the May Fourth perspective as objective proof of Enlightenment ideals working out better than Confucianism. Well, it turns out history has proven your source to be irrational idealists.

August 31, 2007 @ 11:44 am | Comment

You just like to put words in people’s mouths.

Uh, I’m not the one doing internet psychoanalysis.

August 31, 2007 @ 11:45 am | Comment

Let me be as clear as possible.

the phenomenon of “social conscience” that seems to be a direct result of the Enlightenment hasn’t taken hold here yet

…”social conscience”… a direct result of the Enlightenment … a key factor to reform in Europe and the US

August 31, 2007 @ 11:48 am | Comment

No ferins I didn’t state the May Fourth perspective as objective proof of Enlightenment ideals working out better than Confucianism.
I sayed that there were a lot of very bright (brighter than you and me) people in China in the early 20. century who saw some reason in the idea of scientific developement instead of superstition and of a the questioning of social traditions (status of the woman in society, arranged marriages …), ie the enlightenment. And took that as argument that the situation in China might not have been as rosy as you painted it.

And idealists they surely were, but irrational? Well I see a lot of reason in the emancipation of women and the use of antibiotics instead of some voodoo.
The only one irrational here is you, ferins.

August 31, 2007 @ 12:01 pm | Comment

That’s an observation, not a demand or a suggestion on my part. No country has to follow America’s model. In Taiwan, there is a respect for IP and a de3finite sense of the social contract – people line up and respect one another, at least the majority does. This did not evolve out of the Enlightenment. Taiwan doesn’t have to follow Europe’s model, nor does Japan or anywhere else. I don’t care how China gets there, using the Western model or Singapore’s model or whatever. But it is far from arriving. And I know, it’s getting better and I credit them for that. But bottom line, again: I never, ever said China needs to follow the West’s model to become a mature country. Never.

August 31, 2007 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

Confucianism has nothing to do with voodoo and antibiotics.

August 31, 2007 @ 12:09 pm | Comment

But the enlightenment.

August 31, 2007 @ 12:15 pm | Comment

I’m putting my bets on things getting much better within the next decade or so, but I might be overly optimistic. While there are no muckrakers in China in that specific sense, but they didn’t have the good old intarweb back then.

And the firewall can’t block all of them.

August 31, 2007 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

“Isn’t everyone getting really tired of this? Take a look around – Ferins is hijacking threads and having a blast.”

I count three old-timers’ votes so far: me, Fat Cat, and you Richard. Maybe if you just ban him and get it over with you’ll give him what he wants, to say you’re practicing “censorship” (a meaningless term when it comes to private blogs). Considering how all indulgence is wasted on him anyway, what do you have to lose?

August 31, 2007 @ 12:20 pm | Comment

You’d run out of people to make e-thug threats of bodily violence at.

August 31, 2007 @ 12:26 pm | Comment

Ivan, I’m considering it, but the truth is he has made useful comments in the past, and only in the past couple of days does he seem to have become obsessive. I try to make banning and deleting the very last resorts, and do it only after warning the party that they’re treading on thin ice. Ferins is warned, and if he keeps it up it will show it’s what he actually wants, as it will further his “arguments” about what beasts we Americans are. As we know, censorship is unheard of in China.

August 31, 2007 @ 12:32 pm | Comment

Hm. Actually, Richard, me perceives a bit of Kung Fu in your non-aggressive style of self-defense.
It makes perfect sense when you put it that way.

As for me, I’ll just keep polishing my guns while I mutter, “Precious, myyyyy Precioussss….”

August 31, 2007 @ 12:46 pm | Comment

Lower the price IDIOT!

the price is around 3$, isn’t it?

Actually, I think the current China price is more expansive than US more like over 100 US dollars. I could be wrong though. Maybe some of you living in China can answer that. I know I can get window XP OEM for less than 50. But almost all new computer come with it unless you build your own.

I think if they cut down the price to the US level than a lot of people will use original copy. Even better if they cut down to half of the US level. Regardless, you will get more people to use the legit one when you lower the price to a reasonable level. For example, who is still using an illegal copy of Window OS? Almost all of the new computers come with it!

August 31, 2007 @ 1:12 pm | Comment

btw has everybody heard about the secret pig breading centers for Olympics? (http://tinyurl.com/3ajodh)

Olympigs for the Olympics (sorry I had to. was just too tempting)

They are set up because concentration of hormones and other stuff is too high in normal Chinese pig meat. athletes would all be tested positive in doping tests.
As they say some pigs are more equal than others.

August 31, 2007 @ 1:22 pm | Comment

shit. … animals more equal than others.

August 31, 2007 @ 1:27 pm | Comment

Im a bit late in the day here, and not a ‘regular’ here, but i want to make these points in defence of ferins, because no one else has:

1) flaunting of wealth was common in the major cities of the US during and after the industrial revolution. China is no different to the US in this respect.

2) There is a lot of concern about the ‘plight of the workers’ in china, along with environemntal issues and other causes: it just is not in the public realm because of the CCP.

3) ferins might have a point about the inadequacy of americas ‘social contract’, because it has failed to stop the US abusing its power on a global scale over the last century.

I have always thought that the American ‘social contract applies to some sections of society more than others, and it is as true here in Western Europe. The reason why we have a flourishing civil society is because a minority of people are willing to fight and make it happen: a task made easier and safer by our democratic political system. And, arguably there was no such thing as an enlightenment, anyway.

August 31, 2007 @ 5:54 pm | Comment

And, arguably there was no such thing as an enlightenment, anyway.

Who makes this argument? Tell it to Hume, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, our Founding Fathers, Mozart and many, many, many others who embodied Enlightenment values. That’s like saying there was no Renaissance. You can argue about what these things meant and how many people they included and what their long-term effects were, but you cannot argue that they did not exist. Well, you can but it won’t make you look overly rational.

About the flaunting of wealth… the robber barons were extremely conservative when it came to flaunting their wealth. I don’t believe there was ever a time in the 19th century where conspicuous consumption cam anywhere even remotely close to what we see both in China and the US today. They had their mansions in Newport, far out of sight of the everyday worker. John D. Rockefeller was famously modest, always downplaying his wealth and never flaunting it, as was Andrew Carnegie. What examples do you have of flaunting of wealth back then that compares to what we see in China today?

August 31, 2007 @ 6:26 pm | Comment

Well there is a pretty big difference between the “Enlightenment” in the sense of artistic, cultural, philosophical developments like those you mention; and the ‘Enlightenment’ as a historical epoch where the western world begun to realise its flaws and embarked on a radical quest for justice.

I would say that the Western rape of china for the sake of cheap consumer goods, its acquiesence with the rotten and corrupt CCP, coupled with the Chinese governments own rampant neglect of the environment, human dignity and the brainwashing conformity it imposes upon its population… all this suggests to some that the human race as a whole isn’t really progressing at all. And so whilst ‘enlightenment values’ might exist in some abstact sense, it hasn’t really changed our behaviour as humans, in an ultimate sense. thats the argument, anyway.

As for extravagence there was plenty of it in the US at the turn of the century, That is one of the reasons why it is called the ‘Gilded Age’. The Vanderbilts, etc… Yep, its perhaps not as extereme as china circa 2007, but it happened nonetheless.

August 31, 2007 @ 8:23 pm | Comment

@ neil, “the human race as a whole isn’t really progressing at all”

Now this is something you and I agree on 100 percent, although I would base it on more than the evidence you cited. My perspective is of one who believes in the reality of spirit, of free will, and of “original sin” – by which I do NOT mean the Fundamentalist belief that “all are damned to Hell unless they convert to Christianity”, but something more subtle and more real: “original sin” means the tendency of Humans to CHOOSE evil and stupid things no matter how intelligent or “enlightened” they are.

That’s one of the main differences between Richard’s view of history and of Human nature, versus mine (although Richard’s beliefs and moral code and mine overlap in the essentials.) I don’t think the “Enlightenment” led to any enduring moral “progress” or improvement of Human nature – although I do appreciate the bits of good that it did, not to improve Human nature, but at least to improve living conditions for many.

Personally I believe the one and only enduring “enlightenment” was the incarnation of Christ,
“the Light shines in darkness, a darkness which did not comprehend it.” Just as Richard has argued – with good reason – that the Christian churches often contributed to various kinds of evils, we could say the same thing about the Enlightenment cult of Science and “reason” which led, in its own way, to Auschwitz…

…but the words and deeds of Christ (the Jew, Yeshua Bar Joseph), did not.

August 31, 2007 @ 8:41 pm | Comment

How lead the insitence on a worldview based on reason, and the refusal to just believe in something, because some “autority” said so lead to Ausschwitz? I think the totalitarian movements of the 20. cent. have much more to do with the later, religious systems, than with the enlightenment.

August 31, 2007 @ 9:10 pm | Comment

Don’t mean to split hairs, but in the gilded age, the rich flaunted their wealth in front of one another. I see significant distinctions between the situation here, where you can see high-rise luxury housing and a Mercedes showroom on one block, with a pre-fab dormitory for migrant workers living like rats in a hovel literally yards away. And there often seems to be a very conscious and deliberate attempt to show off your wealth in whatever way possible, with utter disdain for the poor around you, even contempt. And I’m not necessarily condemning that – it’s simply what is. This is a very far cry from the gilded age, where the rich lived on Fifth Avenue above 59th Street, and the poor were basically kept at arms’ length. One situation is not necessarily better or worse than the other, simply very different. In the wealth flaunting I see and read about here, I can’t help but feel there’s at times an element of sadism, where part of the flaunting is rubbing the less fortunates’ noses in how wealthy you are, which is exactly what Vanderbilt and Rockefeller did not do. (Not that that makes them better than China’s privileged; I hate Rockefeller, but not for flaunting his wealth, something he never did.)

You might want to read Peter Gay’s books on the Enlightenment. As Ivan said, the results were both positive and negative, but without it, America would not be the country it is today. Our Constitution (as well as the Declaration of Independence) lives and breathes Enlightenment values. Too bad Bush is all about eradicating those values.

August 31, 2007 @ 9:17 pm | Comment

ivan -

all interesting questions. I agree entrely htat it is all about belief. I believe that humans have the capability to choose between good and evil, that is true: but they also have the capability to delude themselves about the purpose of their actions, and cloak them in virtue where there is none. I believe this because I can see this tendency in myself.

I can see how the latter debate (re: the abuses of the church vs the extremes of modernity) might go on for a while…

August 31, 2007 @ 9:24 pm | Comment

Richard

I think I looked at gays book in my first year of university (quite a while ago, now). I ve forgotten a lot of what I was thinking about then, its kind of lost in a post-post-modern haze created by my tutor… For me, the loose ends this created was cleared up by John Gray, the english philosopher of liberalism (not the relationship guru) in his book ‘Straw Dogs’. I dont know if you or Ivan have read it, but it certainly fundamentally changed my view of the world, human progress, and our capability to change things.

August 31, 2007 @ 9:37 pm | Comment

@ shulan, “reason” has its own limitations. In their own way, the Nazis were just taking “scientific” Darwinism and materialism to its logical conclusion – or rather, to a logical conclusion of one VERY REASONABLE interpretation of Darwin. (Darwinian evolution has absolutely nothing to say about any inherent “dignity of man” or “human rights”, you know.)

My reservation about the Enlightenment is against turning so-called “reason” into a religion of its own without acknowledging the essential problem of WILLFUL Human stupidity and evil. This doesn’t mean “reason” is essentially flawed; it doesn’t mean “science” is essentially flawed;
it means, rather, that Human nature is essentially flawed and cannot ever be perfected through reason – because Human reason is, and always will be compromised by Human nature.

@ Richard, I agree that the Enlightenment was the foundation of, and is indispensable to, the US Constitution, and that’s a great thing. But the next question is: Is the US Constitution sufficient to create Utopia, or to change the nature of Man? History has proved otherwise.
That doesn’t mean it’s not a great system; it just means that it will always remain as limited, and as prone to abuse and even horror, as Human nature. In other words, the Enlightenment was great, but in and of itself it’s not enough to create any enduring “progress”, unless tempered by an acknowledgment of something like Original Sin (in which Bush and his kind evidently do not REALLY believe – because they’d be a lot more humble and careful with their power if they did…)

August 31, 2007 @ 10:21 pm | Comment

“And there often seems to be a very conscious and deliberate attempt to show off your wealth in whatever way possible, with utter disdain for the poor around you, even contempt.”

This is a very disturbing aspect of Chinese society. I don’t see it as a trend created by two decades of ‘the means justify the ends’ money-making, but rather as the manifestation of a historically defined attitude that has been given expression in these times of materialistic frenzy.

And it’s not an attitude that lends itself to the harmonious socialism preached by Laurel & Hardy.

August 31, 2007 @ 11:27 pm | Comment

ferins, you had me at ‘autocoprophagia.’ Let’s be friends.

September 1, 2007 @ 4:08 am | Comment

Someone’s suggestion of deleting ferins’ comments makes me understand why the CCP believes they have the rights to have people who don’t agree with them shut up, because they think they are the host of China.

September 1, 2007 @ 4:52 am | Comment

>>we could say the same thing about the Enlightenment cult of Science and “reason” which led, in its own way, to Auschwitz…

I agreed with most of what you said until you turned to this. Fascism specifically rejected Enlightenment rationalism for the glorification of the will, the irrational, the “instincts,” and “nature.” Their facile attempt to co-opt Nietzsche to buttress their cause is one illustration of this. Despite the fact that he heaped scorn on anti-Semites and German nationalism throughout his works, Nietzsche despised Enlightenment rationalism (and rationalism generally, going back to Socrates) — for some of the same reasons you criticize it for– and for this reason the Nazis tried to cobble together their various misreadings of Nietzsche (the will to power, the instincts, the overman) into a philosophical justification of their rejection of the entire liberal, Enlightenment tradition. Nothing would have made Nietzsche sicker.

Anyway, the Enlightenment is everyone’s favorite pinata — the animating principle of postmodernism is that the Enlightenment was a disaster. But I think it is misleading to say “the Enlightenment lead to Auschwitz,” because it was really the opposite in this case — fascist mystics who worshipped power rather than reason created Auschwitz.

I do agree that there was a “religion of reason” or “church of man,” but that is best represented by Marxism, which saw human nature as infinitely malleable and “improvable” — this ideology of progress is the hallmark of the Left, not the Right. The nature of fascism, all though it shares with communism an authoritarian, statist strain, sprouts from a completely different source outside of the Enlightenment, and was violently opposed to it.

September 1, 2007 @ 6:13 am | Comment

I Feel All Microsoft Products Are Inferior Products

We know that in the last 50 years, the computer technology has been developing very fast. We can say that every 10 yeras, the volume of computers decreases by 10 fold, speed increases by 10 fold, memory increases by 10 fold, price decrease by 10 fold.

Throughout this period of development, there’s a turning point, or “watershed”, in human history, and that is when IBM company released its IBM-PC machine. PC means Personal Computer. This turning point happend only once in human history, and may never happen again. This turning point meant that any average family can afford and has practical use for a computer.

Before the IBM-PC, the most fasionable PC on the society is the 8-bit microcomptuer. There are 4 general types. One was Z80, one was Cremencal, then there was Macintosh, and Wang. These 8-bit machines have some limitations. One was small memory, the maximum ws 64K. When I used the Z80 back in my workplace in China, it only had 32K memory. Then it was expanded to 64K, and we felt like emperors already. And those machines did not have much harddrive space, only a very big floppy drive. The floppy drive was the size of an old music disc, and had only several hundred K’s of storage. And these machines had black-white displays. These machines were quite expensive, and normal families could not afford them. Even if they could afford them, they had no real use for them. And there were two popular Operating systems back then, one was called CP/M. The other was Macintosh.

Then came the IBM-PC. The IBM-PC was a 16-bit machine. But it was only a psuedo-16-bit, because it used a “segmented architecture” that caused its memory to reach a maximum of 1M, that is about 1000K. At that time, I felt very shocked to see such a big memory capacity. And most importantly, the machine had a harddrive, and had 10M-20M of storage! I felt like a millionaire. And that machine also had color displays. Of course, back then, it was called CGA, and had very low resolution, only 16 colors. And it cannot display all the fancy graphics like today’s PC’s, but it had nice dots of colors, and attracted a lot of families to buy those machines.

So, since IBM-PC is a turning point in human history, and it made computers enter the average families massively, it was inevitable that whoever developed the Operating System for the IBM-PC would become the world’s richest person. That person did not need to be a genious, he only needed to be moderately smart. In fact, he only needed to be a moderately good programmer. In other words, the job of developing the OS for the IBM-PC was like a lottery: whoever got it will become very very rich. And that person happened to be Bill Gates. From the day he developed the DOS Operating System, it was unavoidable that he would become the world’s richest person. The DOS system was a very simple system that even an average programmer can develop.

And the DOS simple was basically not an innovative creation. Bill Gates simply bought the rights to CP/M, modified it a bit, and then it became DOS. And DOS was bundled to the IBM-PC automatically, so no other system could compete with it. The customer would think, I already have DOS that comes for free, why do I need to spend more money to buy XINIX, or some other system?

So, given this turning point in human history, another phenomenon occured: the number of computer programmers increased rapidly. Before the IBM-PC, computer programming was a very technical and professional thing, and only scientists/researchers would do some programming. Regular civillians really did not even have the chances to touch a computer. But as the PC started walking into families, any regular civillian can write a computer program, and suddenly there are tens of thousands of programmers being popped up. Now, progamming is no longer some mysterious occupation, it’s something a middle schooler can do very well.

As a result of that, all kinds of products on the DOS system were developed, and suddenly there were thousands of applications made for DOS. And this way, even fewer people dared to compete with Microsoft and make their own system. Because, if they make their own system, and there are only 2 applications that are made for your system, while DOS has 10,000 applications, who will buy your system? The answer is of course, no one will.

And, with the DOS system, there were many computer languages developed, and formed the languages of the computer world. Before that, no one knew any language of computer world, and learning DOS was like learning a computer language. And if everyone used and learned DOS, it would be hard to promote and popularize another language. Just like if you spoke English all your life, it would be hard to convince you to learn Chinese and speak it.

Then, with the DOS system, Bill Gates quickly moved into the Top 10 Richest men in the world.

And then, Microsoft released the Windows system. This also was basically not an innovative creation. It was very much a copy of the Macintosh system, at least for the interface. I remember when I first used Windows 2.0, I was thinking, isnt Microsoft was completely copying from Apple?

And Microsoft has always been doing very immoral things. What are immoral things? Well, Microsoft develops other applications for profit, and in developing those applications, it takes advantage of its inside knowlegde of its own Windows system, to “tweak” their own applications to make it run faster. So they are at a technical advantage over competitors in making applications. For example, I design all cars in the world, and I sell you one of my cars, and I will race you using these cars. Well, since I am the maker of that car, I know some secrets to these cars that can make it go faster, but of course you do not know it, so I of course will win you on a race.

So, from DOS to Windows, Microsoft had always been doing those internal “tweaking” of their software. If a competitor learned some secrets of Windows, then Microsoft will simply “upgrade” Windows.

Another immoral thing was encouraging pirating to do “free-advertising” for their own products.

For example, if the Toyota company offered 10 million free cars to China, will Chinese people be very very happy? Of course they will. But as a result, the entire domestic Chinese auto market will be destroyed. If China offers 100 million free clothes to the USA, then the American clothing industrial will be greatly damaged.

In software, it’s the same principle. Microsoft intentionally allowed massive pirating of its Windows system and other applications in China, and as a result almost destroyed the Chinese software industry. But on the surface, Microsoft can still claim that “it wants to fight piracy”, that is really the dirty part of its acts.

In fact, if the Chinese government acts tougher on pirating, and shuts down all piraters. Then an average Chinese will have to choose between Microsoft Office for 1000RMB, and the WPS Office Suite (made by Golden Mountain software company in China) for 100RMB, I think most will choose the latter, even if the latter is not as good as Microsoft Office. So this way, the Chinese domestic software industry will have a fighting chance against Microsoft.

In fact, from my experience, I think all Microsoft products are inferior products. From DOS to Windows XP, I have never experienced too much comfort in using them. It always has unexplainable freezes and crashes, but I of course have no choice but to keep using them. All microsoft products take very very long to install. What other products take that long to install? No other products take that long to install.

September 1, 2007 @ 10:50 am | Comment

>>I Feel All Microsoft Products Are Inferior Products

I just checked to see if I had sprouted a mustache and become my own evil twin, because I agree with Math.

September 1, 2007 @ 11:08 am | Comment

88, I’m with you – it is the first time I’ve ever read an entire Math comment without bursting into laughter or feeling sorry for him.

haha: Someone’s suggestion of deleting ferins’ comments makes me understand why the CCP believes they have the rights to have people who don’t agree with them shut up, because they think they are the host of China.

I don’t think anyone said we should delete Ferins’ comments. Someone suggested banning him, which is always a blog owner’s right, but here he is, free as a bird and able to comment at will. But try to grasp this point: a blog does not answer to the people, but only to it blog owner. The CCP should, at least in theory, answer to its people – you know, no taxation without representation and all that – so your comparison of CCP-blogs is hopelessly flawed.

88, your above response to Ivan on the Enlightenment and Nietzsche gets the gold star – best comment in the entire thread (along with Brendan’s catching the use of “autocoprophagia”). Totally spot-on. I don’t havethe time or energy to delve into it now, but let just say that Germany was one of the countries least affected by the Enlightenment; its feudal structure of fiefdoms remained intact until the mid-19th century and the people there happily accepted the idea of the autocratically ruled city-state that made Germany an odd hodge-podge with no centralized government and in many fiefdoms little or no intellectual development – the concept of obedience propagated by Martin Luther and later Hegel was dominant. This helped to set the stage later on for Nazism – this deep-seeded belief in the need for a strong and ruthless leader, and the idea of obeying the law no matter what it was (have you ever watched German pedestrians approaching a traffic light on a totally empty street?). Germany’s greatest philosopher, Kant, rejected the Enlightenment’s celebration of pure reason. Goethe and Schiller were the greatest examples of Germans inspired by the Enlightenment, but they were relatively few and far between compared to France. So where am I going with this, I forget… Right. This is to reinforce what 88 said above about fascism’s rejection of Enlightenment values. The cult-worshipping, freedom-hating Nazi religion was the very opposite of what Voltaire, Goethe and Locke stood for. And another topic I don’t have the strength to argue about but which I must comment on: Social Darwinism was likewise not a result of the Enlightenment. It was an aberration and a perversion of a scientific theory, seized on by racists as the holy grail that justified and vindicated their hatred. Darwin himself may have been a product of Enlightenment values (I don’t know enough about his history to say) but the social Darwinists were pseudo-enlightened; they were intellectual thugs and they included, to my eternal chagrin, my own favorite artist of all time, Wagner (after Benny and Bjorn, of course).

The Enlightenment did not lead to Nazi Germany or Auschwitz. Maybe if the Enlightenment had taken root in Germany as it did in France and the US there would have been no Naziism.

Ivan to your points about Christianity – let’s just say that you offer a lot of food for thought, but that at this point in my life I don’t think I’m ripe for conversion. I’m a big believer in morality (in fact it’s one of my obsessions, often to my own detriment), but I don’t believe the only source for morality is Christianity. I understand the importance of the message of compassion and love that the religion is built on, but I don’t want any of the dogma.

And now, back to software piracy in China….

September 1, 2007 @ 12:30 pm | Comment

Sorry Richard nothing about sofware in here.

Well, not a lot to add to 88 and Richard. Social Darwinism is, as Richard said, a vulgar, distorted form of Darwin’s ideas – nothing very reasonable here -, who had never said something about the bigger one eating the smaller, weaker one.
His theory is about natural selection and how those species and creatures, which are best adapted to their environment, are the most successful in breading.

Nazism had nothing to do with science and reason. In fact the Nazis promoted Sudo-Science to give their racist ideology a better look. The propagation of “German physics”, this preposterous and helpless reaction to Einstein’s theories, should be enough to show that this was not reason driven to it’s extremes but the same stupidity and ignorance that brought Giordano Bruno at the stake.

I would agree with you Ivan, that there is something flawed about human nature. But I see it in the tendency of men to need some kind of religion. That, and not reason driven to it’s extremes, was what lead to the two forms of Socialism (and here I disagree with you 88, I think they were at least cousins if not brothers), National and Bolshevik Socialism.
But I also think that there is the possibility of progress, and that through reason it is possible to make the world a little better. Step by step, with a lot of setbacks and the always-looming danger of another totalitarian (be it secular or religious) turn in society. But there is (ups, what a religious term) hope.

Well this became a bit longer than I though it would. Anyway, that’s my two cents.

September 1, 2007 @ 6:01 pm | Comment

@ Richard,

Well said for your part. One thing (among many) I’ve always especially respected you for is your mutual respect for any religious people who have mutual respect for YOUR conscience and your high moral code.

I’d inflect your statement a bit differently; I do believe Christ is the source of all morality, but I don’t believe the temporal Christian churches or their leaders are the only source or even the best guides for all people at all times. Thus, as you know, I don’t believe a formal “conversion” to an outward form of religion is essential. The whole point of Jesus’ conflict with his religious authorities was that he kept saying, “conversion of the heart, and one’s actual deeds, are more important than outward forms of religion.”

@ Shulan, with all due respect, you’re half-mistaken to say Nazism had nothing to do with science and reason. Nazism CLAIMED to rest on scientific foundations (Darwinian “struggle” and “survival of the fittest”); thus, it was a demonstration of what happens when “science” is turned into a religion of its own, untempered by humility. Then again I agree with the great Scientific Humanist, the physicist Jacob Bronowski (Jewish), who said, “science is a tribute to what we CAN know ALTHOUGH we are fallible”, and he said Auschwitz was really a demonstration of ANTI-science.

But then I would add, Auschwitz was anti-science AND anti-christian. And as Jesus taught humility, and taught his disciples to look inward at their own flaws and limitations, isn’t that actually perfectly compatible with REAL science?

On that note, let me say I think this blog is becoming interesting again, like it used to be.
Let’s veer away from the ferins-and-other-repetitive-stooges show, and get back to more truly interesting and intellectually nourishing dialogues like these.

PS, and more drug-induced pet stories. Here’s my puppy update: He has begun to use me as a subject for his perverted scientific experiments, involving the effects of sleep deprivation. Bloody demented Gothic freak he is, like something out of a Mary Shelly novel….

September 1, 2007 @ 7:29 pm | Comment

Right, when science is turned into religion it stops beeing science. Where religion starts reason is in danger. That’s my argument. It was not the enlightenment that lead to Ausschwitz but irrationality and dogma.

And I don’t need religion for humility. It’s enough for me to look at the “wonders” of nature. As much as I don’t need religion for morality and ethics.

September 1, 2007 @ 8:37 pm | Comment

Shulan, we 99 percent agree. But as for this bit you wrote:

“And I don’t need religion for humility. It’s enough for me to look at the “wonders” of nature.”

…but Shulan, there is no humility in Nature.

September 1, 2007 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

No but makes me feel it. That’s enough, isn’t it?

September 1, 2007 @ 9:30 pm | Comment

Shulan,

No it isn’t enough, not for Mankind. Even if Nature’s effect on you is enough for you personally to feel humility, Nature can just as easily (and with far more “reason” and “rationality”) have the opposite effect on others, who (rightly so) see in it nothing but merciless “survival of the fittest”, like the Nazis did.

It’s fine, and good and admirable, for individuals like you to be inspired by nature toward a sense of humility. But that does not mean that your sense of humility necessarily comes FROM nature.
It’s coming from you, from within you. Next question is, where does YOUR sense of personal, very Human, humility come from? (A sense which
NOT ALL Humans have, as the Nazis proved.)

Okay, now I’ll get into the German half of my head (I’m half German, by the way – something I don’t often advertise ;-) , and try to think like a bloody Kraut in abstract and overly methodical ways. ;-) So now thinking in a “logical” way like my Kraut cousins do, the next question is:

1. If Shulan’s sense of humility comes from his HUMAN nature, then is it not part of Nature?
Yes, perhaps, but that leads to another question:

2. If so, then WHY is Human nature so demonstrably different from the nature of all other animals, who have no humility at all?

If you agree that Humans have a unique, sui generis capacity for humility – something no other animals have – then you will agree that Humans are unique among all animals. That leads to another question: WHY?

The answer will not necessarily lead one toward a belief in a transcendent God. But it MUST lead one to a belief in some kind of unique “Nature of Man”. But then, if Man has a unique nature among all creatures, then doesn’t that refute any absolute Darwinian law of “survival of the fittest”, and then place all of our “Enlightenment” conceptions of “Man as just another part of Nature like all others” into question?

If Man has a unique nature unlike all other beasts, CONTRARY to the assumed scientific “law” of survival of the fittest, then, how and why did this new kind of creature, Man, come to exist?
And what for?

And the question, “what FOR” is essential here, because such extraordinary creations as Man, do not happen just by mere accident without any teleological purpose.

Okay, enough of that. Too much thinking like a German makes me turn funny in the head… ;-)
Now as an antidote I need to watch some Monty Python DVDs.

September 2, 2007 @ 12:46 am | Comment

Richard – I think you’re making some pretty sweeping statements here, and they don’t all seem to be well supported.

“In China it appears the majority of citizens has not agreed to what Rousseau termed “the social contract.”"

It’s not clear what you’re basing that on. What social duties do you think Chinese people ignore that “the majority” of westerners/Americans now/during the enlightenment embrace? Do you honestly think that Americans use legal versions of software because they’re good citizens? The recent music file-sharing kerfuffles would tend to suggest that you’re wrong.

“America made monumental strides when you look back to the mid-19th century. Again, it was muckrackers like HL Mencken and Ida Tarbell who made a tremendous difference”
�Now tell us, who are the muckrakers in China, and what platform are they using to generate widespread disaffection with the exploitation of workers,�

You’ve got 20/20 hindsight here. You know who the campaigners for workers’ rights are – or you should do. I’ve read articles and seen CCTV documentaries on them. They’re not as famous to you as Mencken and Tarbell (I’ve never heard of these people) because history has not yet passed judgment on them.
And while muckrakers may be in shorter supply here than the US due to press restrictions, let’s not forget that Hu’s current political campaign is to even out the injustices and inequalities in society. Maybe that’s just political verbiage, I don’t know, but you can hardly claim that the problem is being ignored.

Secondly, Tarbell is a 20th century writer. That puts her over 100 years after the enlightenment and industrial revolution that were mentioned. That is to say, you’re mixing up historical periods, and appear to be criticising China for not managing to complete within the last 15 years all of the reforms and changes that took the western world 150 years to complete.
I hope I’m not falling into the trap of mouthing the “China is a developing country” defense. But I do think that the particular examples you chose were not very germane.

“It can only happen when the majority of citizens agree that the situation is intolerable. As long as the primary – and often the only – concern is oneself and immediate family, there is no motivating force for reform.”

I’m not convinced by this reading of history, though I’m no historian, and could well be wrong. It seems to me more that reforms were stimulated by upper-class do-gooders (William Wilberforce?). Several modern measures that I see as a continuation of enlightenment values – no death penalty, the minimum wage, positive discrimination – would I’m sure be struck down if they were put to a referendum in Britain. I find it hard to believe that the situation was different then. Campaigning in the west has generally involved publication of books/pamphlets, but I would suggest that the readers of those books are only peripherally involved. The political will that actually changes policy comes from small privileged groups.

“This is a very far cry from the gilded age, where the rich lived on Fifth Avenue above 59th Street, and the poor were basically kept at arms’ length.”

Literally no idea what you mean here. Are you talking about actual spatial separation between the rich and poor? Why does that matter and what makes you think that it’s different in modern China? All the well-off people I know live in gated housing estates.

Also, what Math said. It’s pretty hard to see Chinese people’s use of pirate software as an expression of Chinese civil culture when there’s a nagging suspicion that it’s been aided and abetted by software giants who see it as a marketing tool.

September 2, 2007 @ 1:04 am | Comment

I do believe Christ is the source of all morality

You believe wrong. Why are Christian nations so criminal as compared to say, Japan? Or Singapore? Or Hong Kong?

Morality predates Christ, by quite a few hundred years. You need to learn some history, not whitewashed fairytale versions of it and Great Man Theory.

September 2, 2007 @ 1:19 am | Comment

China for not managing to complete within the last 15 years all of the reforms and changes that took the western world 150 years to complete.

It was, in fact, never completed. What should be substance is supplanted by self-aggrandizing chest thumping, obfuscation, and a resultant missionary complex, with disastrous results.

But you can’t mention that anyone except Chinese people are being fed propaganda.

September 2, 2007 @ 1:23 am | Comment

Ivan -
That’s a pretty odd argument you’ve got there.

I don’t quite see how humility and “survival of the fittest” are in opposition, or can even be paired up in any way. Humility is a human emotion. “Survival of the fittest” is a (slightly inaccurate) name given to Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Emotion – theory, two completely different categories.

“other animals, who have no humility at all”

How do you know? Have you asked them? We have a little dog, and its behaviour is often quite humble.

“If you agree that Humans have a unique, sui generis capacity for humility – something no other animals have – then you will agree that Humans are unique among all animals.”

Humans are unique for lots of reasons. We’re the only critters with language, the only ones to reason so successfully, the only ones to make tools that make tools, etc. etc. Koalas are unique, too: the only animal to live off eucalyptus. Squid are unique in having ten tentacles. All animals are different, and they all evolved through the same sort of processes. The argument that natural selection can’t produce animals that are unique or very different is incorrect.

“1. If Shulan’s sense of humility comes from his HUMAN nature, then is it not part of Nature?”

Only if you make the assumption that human nature is outside of Nature. Making that assumption, you then demonstrate by circular argument that humans are not natural.

You need to be careful with the word nature, because it has two distinct meanings. One is nature as opposed to artifice. In this meaning, nature excludes human stuff. The other is nature as the whole world. In this meaning, it includes humans. When scientists talk, they are generally using the second meaning; in day to day life, I reckon the first is more common. This generates quite a lot of confusion.

If you’re religious and believe that humanity came about as a result of external divine intervention, then any arguments you make about nature become meaningless, because humans would then be unnatural in *both* senses of the word.

September 2, 2007 @ 1:32 am | Comment

@ ferins

I must admit, that although I’m 99 percent in favour of banning you, your comments are SOMTIMES just BARELY intelligent enough to warrant an intelligent response. Your above comment is one such example. It warrants a response, not for your sake, but for the sake of others who might benefit from a bit more education as I will offer here.

You asked, “Why are Christian nations so criminal as compared to say, Japan? Or Singapore? Or Hong Kong?”

The answer, in several parts, is:

1. First of all, Christ has no “nation.” Thus, from a traditional Christian perspective, the idea of a “Christian Nation” is meaningless. (I know that’s almost impossible for Chinese nationalists to understand.)
Christ has no “nation”, and he said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” The reason why Christ was executed was BECAUSE he defied the laws of his own “nation” and his government.
The concept of a “Christian nation” is an oxymoron, an impossible thing.

1.a, I am an American citizen, but as a Christian of the Roman Catholic Church, I identify more with my religion than with my nation. My country is 231 years old, but my religion – my MAIN identity and my MAIN loyalty – is 2,000 years old. A time will certainly come in the future, when the USA will no longer exist (same goes for the PRC), but I believe Christ and Christianity will exist forever.

1.b, MY “nation”, the USA, began as a very anti-Catholic nation. And to this, day, people of my religion are a minority in America. My Church, the Roman Catholic Church, was persecuted in my “nation” for a long time. I am more loyal to my religion than to my “nation” – but again, this is impossible for Chinese nationalists to understand.

2. Therefore, I do not compare my Roman Catholic Christian religion to any “nation.” My Church lives in ALL nations, INCLUDING Japan and Singapore and Hong Kong! ;-) :-)

3. Don’t tell me what I need to “learn” about “history.” My kind of Christianity is the opposite of fairy-tales; my kind of Christianity is a long, long story of witnessing and remembering the essentially flawed nature of Man throughout history, throughout which the only “Great Man” was one who was executed by the government because he said, “My kingdom is not of this world”.

September 2, 2007 @ 1:43 am | Comment

1. Don’t be silly :p. “Christian nation” clearly means demographic composition. Christ had very wise words to say; it’s a shame so many “Christians” don’t even follow half of his teachings. For more statistics, prison populations are 65% “Christian”. Including everyone’s beloved Tookie Williams.

2. A small percentage, only.

3. You should compare Confucian demographic groups and “Protestant” (I’ll put it in quotations out of respect for the ideal) demographic groups and look at their crime rates. I suppose, this can be interpreted as people failing (huge understatement) to heed the word of Christ.

September 2, 2007 @ 1:51 am | Comment

@ phil,

“We have a little dog, and its behaviour is often quite humble.”

Dude, you tossed that remark at the wrong person.
I grew up with dogs – in a family which raised purebred champion dogs – hell, I was virtually “raised by a wolf” like Romulus, as our champion show-dog used to sit by my cradle and growl at any strangers who came near me. One thing I know about is dogs; I was literally “raised by” a dog, in part.

So, you say your dog’s behaviour is “quite humble?”

No it isn’t. Your dog behaves humbly only because it respects your power over it. But its nature remains the nature of a wolf. All, all, ALL dogs, including ALL domesticated dogs, are essentially wolves, and they have absolutely NO “humility” except toward creatures whom they perceive to be stronger. Come on, get real…..

September 2, 2007 @ 1:53 am | Comment

and, the reason why I’m hostile to the idea of “Christianity” and not Christianity in China is because it flies in the face of China’s historic religious/philosophical syncretism, and if China has such a record of imitating things and half-assing it I’d least prefer it be an Abrahamic religion.

you’ve talked about Shakespeare and Chartres and Mozart, the kind of proselytization going on in China is totally classless and deceitful. trying to supplant Confucianist/Taoist/Buddhist syncretism would not be unlike covering Chenonceau with Hindu Swastikas, putting a 3,000 foot Buddha in Jerusalem, or drawing a yin yang on Masjid-al Haraam. i.e it’s not saying any of these things are inherently bad, but there should be some appreciation for their separateness.

September 2, 2007 @ 1:58 am | Comment

Ferins said to Ivan, “Don’t be silly :p. “Christian nation” clearly means demographic composition.” No, it’s not clear at all. You are trying to model the world on dichotomies that don’t exist. There is no such thing as Christian nations, in the same sense that there is not such thing as Confucian nations. Japan, HK and Singapore are not Confucian nations. The percentage of Christians in those places are not smaller than that any other liberal democratic nations in other parts of the world. In other words, numbers don’t matter.

September 2, 2007 @ 2:14 am | Comment

In other words, numbers don’t matter.

That sure sums things up, when you’re talking about the perspectives of certain people.

Japan, HK and Singapore are not Confucian nations.

Yes, they are. Unless you’re completely disregarding sociology. If so, please stop bleating about “China’s lack of morals” because the concept of China isn’t real.

The percentage of Christians in those places are not smaller than that any other liberal democratic nations in other parts of the world.

Japan is about .8% Christian, if this were true of “other liberal democratic nations” there would hardly be any Christians in the world.

September 2, 2007 @ 2:22 am | Comment

@ ferins,

1. “the reason why I’m hostile to the idea of “Christianity” and not Christianity in China is because it flies in the face of China’s historic religious/philosophical syncretism”

…Dude, Christianity IS SYNCRETIC! It’s a blend of Judaism and Greek philosophy. Jesus was bilingual; Jesus spoke Aramaic and Greek; he was fluent in Greek, and in Greek philosophy, as were all of the Jewish merchant class (to which he belonged) of his time in Palestine.
(Gloss, if Michael Turton is reading this, I would actually APPRECIATE some contributions from M Turton, for whose expertise in Biblical scholarship I do have high respect even if we disagree on the import. I’m pretty sure M Turton would agree with me that Jesus probably knew some Greek language and ideas. And I’m pretty sure M Turton would agree with me that Jesus taught a syncretic kind of religion.)

2. ferins wrote, “and if China has such a record of imitating things and half-assing it I’d least prefer it be an Abrahamic religion.”

…Dude, Christianity IS an Abrahamic religion!

September 2, 2007 @ 2:49 am | Comment

Ferins said: “That sure sums things up, when you’re talking about the perspectives of certain people.”

What do you mean? That sounds like CCP ways of identifying categories of people – Ferins, you’re showing your true colours.

As for the rest of your comments, the only thing I can say is that: they don’t make any sense.

Do you consider Taiwan and South Korea to be Confucian or Christian?

September 2, 2007 @ 2:58 am | Comment

P.S.

Ivan is absolutely correct about the syncreticism of all religion. Again, Ferins is parroting traditional cliches without even knowing their origin.

September 2, 2007 @ 3:01 am | Comment

So many new comments…Let me just address Phil at the moment – I ws spanning several different conversations and different points in history; sorry that you got confused. My bringing up Tarbell and Mencken were in no way related to the discussion of the Enlightenment, but about how a free press (which IS related to the Enlightenment) helped protect society from the ills of the robber barons. My point was that free thinking a freedom of enquiry were encouraged by our Enlightenment-driven founding fathers, and when the free-wheeling capitalism of the industrial revolution was raging, it was those same values that came into play again and led America toward reform, just as later with the robberbarons it was the muckrakers.

About the wealth flaunting – there was a very different attitude toward it in the gilded age than what you see in China and in the US (did you catch that I said that Phil – in the US as well?). You did not one-up your neighbor, and in fact the super-rich tended to hide their wealth, not flaunt it. It was the nouveau riche who rubbed it in their neighbors’ faces, and still do. The super-rich were astonishingly prudent and to most people utterly invisible. As they built their mansions, they also built huge foundations to give much of their money back to society (not always inspired by altruism, but by public relations). Just about no one in the underclass saw Frick and Gates and Carnegie flaunting their wealth, ever. It was simply a different mentality. In China, it often seems that a natural extension of becoming wealthy is to show it off in every conceivable way. I amy be completely wrong about this, but I have sure seen many examples, just as I’ve seen cocky young investment bankers in south Manhattan doing the same.

Fat Cat, good call on Ferins setting up false dichotomies. It reminds me of a troll we used to have here called Really (something like that – he later morphed into “Jessica Copeland” who hung out in the threads ranting about America as a Christian nation, and blaming all my idiocies (which I admit are abundant) on my being a Christian.

Agree totally with Ivan’s point about dogs. Very well said.

I am interested also in his argument about Christianity, but I have to admit I shrink away from most arguments about organized religion. I do think our willingness to consider such arguments has a lot to do with how we are brought up. I was brought up (read “hard wired”) to reject any notion of a supreme being, let alone Papal Infallibility (where the supreme decider is a man). I have many times felt the lure of Christianity and have been amazed at the joy and peace it has brought to some of the people closest to me (and I mean really, really close) but am afraid my childhood skepticism still makes arguments such as Ivan’s unpalatable. Mostly. I have to admit it’s a topic I’ve been conflicted on for many years – man’s longing for spiritual nourishment and a belief in something greater than himself and greater than his country. And on that note, time to call it a day.

September 2, 2007 @ 3:10 am | Comment

I thought you were Jewish?

Ivan is absolutely correct about the syncreticism of all religion. Again, Ferins is parroting traditional cliches without even knowing their origin.

Don’t make me laugh. You’ve apparently never read certain parts of the Bible or Qu’ran. The thing is, a major difference between Chinese philosophy and Abrahamic religion is that there isn’t (as much) stuff about who is the chosen people of Yahweh, and killing kaffirs, infidels, or “heathens”. Typically these aren’t the major points covered by the vast majority of people, but when there’s a desire for extremism it’s only a few pages between “peace and love” and genocide.

But don’t even bother responding, I know you’re just going to brush the Crusades, terrorism, the Spanish Inquisition, Manifest Destiny, white man’s burden, oppression, and the sociopolitical reality of fundamentalism under the carpet, brush over it with sensationalism and anecdotes, and front the ideal rather than the reality.

Just about no one in the underclass saw Frick and Gates and Carnegie flaunting their wealth, ever.

Are you saying you come in regular contact with the Gates, Fricks, Rockefellers, and Carnegies of China? Do they have huge signs grafted on their foreheads with their net worth written on it? No wonder their family members get kidnapped and held for ransom so much.

good call on Ferins setting up false dichotomies.

In this vein, you could almost call someone out for “setting up false dichotomies” against the poor old CCP.

September 2, 2007 @ 5:07 am | Comment

Do you consider Taiwan and South Korea to be Confucian or Christian?

Confucian, as much as that makes South Korean Christian fanatics roil and froth at the mouth with indignance.

September 2, 2007 @ 5:08 am | Comment

Hey Richard?

Yep, “call it a day.” God will still be waiting to greet you with a warm embrace, tomorrow and forever. And so will I, Richard, when you and I hug each other in God’s kingdom. :-)

And Richard? You of all people should know, that MY kind of religion is not “organised” at all. ;-)

Richard, my Friend, no one (such as you are) who loves Truth, will ever be rejected by God. Even less so would God ever turn away a man who believes in Love as you do.

But now back to my puppy. He has developed a perverted desire for me to rub his belly whenever I call him “good”. What a perverted Gothic freak he is! ;-) :-)

September 2, 2007 @ 5:13 am | Comment

>>appear to be criticising China for not managing to complete within the last 15 years all of the reforms and changes that took the western world 150 years to complete.

But I thought China was America in 1890? (That’s why they have a piracy problem.) No, wait, it is pre-Enlightenment Europe. (That’s why they don’t have a free press.) No, it is Industrial Revolution England. (That’s why they have a pollution problem.) No, it’s Geico Caveman Finland! (That’s why people spit on the street.) On and on.

People tend to go overboard with these historical analogies and take them too literally. Although it is sometimes useful to compare different countries in different eras, it is inherently misleading. For example, acting as though China — a country with a largely secular history and culture that is officially atheist and has deified science and technology for the past century — were comparable to pre-Enlightenment Europe.

China has its own history — it isn’t a cheap knockoff of some model of some other country’s past. Countries aren’t models and neither is history, despite what Hegel may think.

The CCP is guilty of this kind of historical analogy shopping more than anyone else — they’ve abandoned Marx, but not his obsession with “stages.” But there is no shortage of this type of thinking in the West, either, obviously. (Uh, where they picked up this conception of history in the first place.)

September 2, 2007 @ 7:28 am | Comment

“About the wealth flaunting – there was a very different attitude toward it in the gilded age than what you see in China and in the US (did you catch that I said that Phil – in the US as well?). You did not one-up your neighbor, and in fact the super-rich tended to hide their wealth, not flaunt it. It was the nouveau riche who rubbed it in their neighbors’ faces, and still do.”

Have you ever considered that with only 30 years of post-socialist economic restructuring, most rich in China are nouveau riche?

The kids of the nouveau riche tend to be a lot more modest than their parents. They also tend to be more well-educated (with Ivy League degrees coming out the demon hole as opposed to the CR) but I digress.

September 2, 2007 @ 8:55 am | Comment

Nature can just as easily (and with far more “reason” and “rationality”) have the opposite effect on others, who (rightly so) see in it nothing but merciless “survival of the fittest”, like the Nazis did.

So can and does religion. Where believers can easily come under the impression that it is glorious to kill infidels, because their holy books say so. And they did and do it all the time.

But anyway, my argument was that I don’t need religion for humility. That statement of yours doesn’t counter it, does it. It just states that nature can have other effects on other people. (And I doubt that it was nature that inspired the Nazi ideology. One or two books would come to my mind that had a considerably bigger effect, I’d say)

But then, if Man has a unique nature among all creatures, then doesn’t that refute any absolute Darwinian law of “survival of the fittest”, and then place all of our “Enlightenment” conceptions of “Man as just another part of Nature like all others” into question?

Ivan, I am disappointed. You are more intelligent than that statement. I guess this is one of the cases were religion get’s the better of reason. It’s dangerous as I said : )

Why should it refute Darwin. Why? Where are mans unique abilities contrary to Darwin’s theory? Where? (by the way we are not as unique as most think. Primates, like Bonobos, have extraordinary skills, that make us look a little less special. Though I have to admit there never was one observed building an altar and praying for rain)
Man has the ability to reflect about himself. Ask were we come from and think about ethics and so on. It’s our highly developed brain that makes us special. We can influence and change our environment in a way no other animal can. Darwin’s theory, again, is about the success (in breading) of those species or creatures best adopted to their environments. Now, man can change the environment so that it fits him better. That’s the secret of the success of mankind. Where does this refute Darwin?

And the question, “what FOR” is essential here, because such extraordinary creations as Man, do not happen just by mere accident without any teleological purpose.

Why don’t they happen without a teleological purpose? Because your mind resists to consider the possibility, that there is no “What For”? That’s not realy an argument, Ivan, let alone a proof.

BTW, I think Bill Gates sold his sould to the devil.

September 2, 2007 @ 10:29 am | Comment

soul, not sould

September 2, 2007 @ 10:37 am | Comment

Humility is the state of being humble. A humble person is generally thought to be unpretentious and modest: someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others. Humility is not to be confused with humiliation, which is the act of making someone else feel ashamed, and is seen as something completely different.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humility

September 2, 2007 @ 11:05 am | Comment

“…and they have absolutely NO “humility” except toward creatures whom they perceive to be stronger.”

The analogy with Richard’s earlier comment about the attitudes of the rich in China blows me away.

September 2, 2007 @ 11:26 am | Comment

you mean the rich everywhere?

September 2, 2007 @ 12:56 pm | Comment

Can we end this thread?

September 2, 2007 @ 1:34 pm | Comment

“you mean the rich everywhere?”

No. Bill Gates is clearly an exception.

September 2, 2007 @ 2:02 pm | Comment

Er, perhaps the thread should die, but I’m curious that both Richard and Ivan have just used the same odd non-argument:

“dogs…have absolutely NO “humility” except toward creatures whom they perceive to be stronger.”
Dogs have no humility, except when they do.

“You did not one-up your neighbor, and in fact the super-rich tended to hide their wealth, not flaunt it. It was the nouveau riche who rubbed it in their neighbors’ faces, and still do.”
Rich Americans did not flaunt their wealth, except for those that did.

I think I understand your point, that you have a feeling that in general it was less acceptable in the US to flaunt wealth, and you might be right. But as you point out, the US clearly had flashy rich people; and China clearly has thrifty philanthropists. You think that the relative proportions in the two countries are very different; I would need a lot more evidence before I was convinced of that. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you can state as a given in an argument and draw conclusions from.

88s
“Although it is sometimes useful to compare different countries in different eras, it is inherently misleading.”

Yeah, sure, but it can also be illuminating. Those who don’t study history, repeat, doom, all that stuff. Care is required – and perhaps none of us here have the time or expertise to exercise the required caution and work out how far the analogies go.
I have no idea if this China=wild west thing is proper history or just a gimmicky idea dreamed up by a journalist. But I do think it serves a useful purpose in reminding us that the USA took 200 years to develop to that point. Chinese history basically rebooted in 1980, and only one generation has passed since then.

September 2, 2007 @ 3:58 pm | Comment

Er, perhaps the thread should die, but I’m curious that both Richard and Ivan have just used the same odd non-argument:

“dogs…have absolutely NO “humility” except toward creatures whom they perceive to be stronger.”
Dogs have no humility, except when they do.

“You did not one-up your neighbor, and in fact the super-rich tended to hide their wealth, not flaunt it. It was the nouveau riche who rubbed it in their neighbors’ faces, and still do.”
Rich Americans did not flaunt their wealth, except for those that did.

I think I understand your point, that you have a feeling that in general it was less acceptable in the US to flaunt wealth, and you might be right. But as you point out, the US clearly had flashy rich people; and China clearly has thrifty philanthropists. You think that the relative proportions in the two countries are very different; I would need a lot more evidence before I was convinced of that. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you can state as a given in an argument and draw conclusions from.

88s
“Although it is sometimes useful to compare different countries in different eras, it is inherently misleading.”

Yeah, sure, but it can also be illuminating. Those who don’t study history, repeat, doom, all that stuff. Care is required – and perhaps none of us here have the time or expertise to exercise the required caution and work out how far the analogies go.
I have no idea if this China=wild west thing is proper history or just a gimmicky idea dreamed up by a journalist. But I do think it serves a useful purpose in reminding us that the USA took 200 years to develop to that point. Chinese history basically rebooted in 1980, and only one generation has passed since then.

September 2, 2007 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

Er, perhaps the thread should die, but I’m curious that both Richard and Ivan have just used the same odd non-argument:

“dogs…have absolutely NO “humility” except toward creatures whom they perceive to be stronger.”
Dogs have no humility, except when they do.

“You did not one-up your neighbor, and in fact the super-rich tended to hide their wealth, not flaunt it. It was the nouveau riche who rubbed it in their neighbors’ faces, and still do.”
Rich Americans did not flaunt their wealth, except for those that did.

I think I understand your point, that you have a feeling that in general it was less acceptable in the US to flaunt wealth, and you might be right. But as you point out, the US clearly had flashy rich people; and China clearly has thrifty philanthropists. You think that the relative proportions in the two countries are very different; I would need a lot more evidence before I was convinced of that. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you can state as a given in an argument and draw conclusions from.

88s
“Although it is sometimes useful to compare different countries in different eras, it is inherently misleading.”

Yeah, sure, but it can also be illuminating. Those who don’t study history, repeat, doom, all that stuff. Care is required – and perhaps none of us here have the time or expertise to exercise the required caution and work out how far the analogies go.
I have no idea if this China=wild west thing is proper history or just a gimmicky idea dreamed up by a journalist. But I do think it serves a useful purpose in reminding us that the USA took 200 years to develop to that point. Chinese history basically rebooted in 1980, and only one generation has passed since then.

September 2, 2007 @ 4:02 pm | Comment

Yes, this thread should definitely die. I just imagined I read three identical comments from Phil. Reading this thread causes delirium.

September 2, 2007 @ 4:14 pm | Comment

Last comment, then I may zip it up. Harvard Unversity (or college at the time) was founded in 1636. Some of the world’s great bastions of education then followed in America, where there also were great works of architecture and art and science. That was one side of the coin. Then there was, later on, the Wild West period, taking place in concurrence with America’s intellectual growth and maturity. But there was never, ever a time when the US mirrored what China is today. While the horrors of the industrial revolution were going on, America was also producing many great writers and thinkers, opera houses were being built, theaters, some of the world’s greatest museums and churches. These traditions started in America back in the 17th century. If China is indeed a mirror image of us 150 years ago, there’s a lot in the reflection that is missing. The only parallel I can actually see is there were bad labor conditions as industry took off in both countries. But I know I’ll never win this argument. It provides perfect cover for those who want to claim China is “a developing country” just like the US once was and everything should be forgiven and forgotten because China is trekking a parallel course and will be where the US is in the not-so-distant-future despite the fact that the nation’s traditional morals were obliterated by the Great Helmsman leaving the country in a very different state than the US was ever in and despite the fact that while the US was developing it was also one of the worlds great resources of culture, education and art, things that were valued far higher in America 150 years ago than they are in China today for whatever reasons and none of this is to say China is bad or immoral but very very very different to the point that making these historical parallels is an utter and insane waste of time and an act of self-deception and seeing the world in general and China in particular through rose-colored spectacles and finding the perfect excuse to let China off the hook because it is after all just mirroring America which I say is pure horseshit.

And no, America is not better than China. China had its own period of glorious culture that put much of the rest of the world to shame. But there is no denying that Mao & Company set China far, far, far back on the moral scale and the country is still recovering. That makes the comparison between the two countries even more absurd. China was traumatized and battered; at a time when Western universities were thriving those in China were being shut down and students encouraged to beat their teachers to death. Of course the two countries cannot be compared because there was no period in American history comparable to Mao’s asphyxiation of one of the greatest country’s brain cells. Yes, there were bad labor conditions in each country 150 years ago. Try comparing the countries along other criteria, like the growth of the middle class, the creation of schools and charities and libraries, press freedoms, the number of inventions, and on and on. Very very very different situations and to draw any comparison between the US and China 150 years ago is woefully incomplete and delusional because it basically looks at just one sliver of what America was and of what China is today.

September 2, 2007 @ 4:53 pm | Comment

why don’t you like the thread anymore? Interseting discussion, if you ask me.

September 2, 2007 @ 11:05 pm | Comment

Shulan, it’s just sooooo all over the place!

Based on past experience, it’s pretty clear this thread’s dying a natural death so I won’t shut it down. After 100 comments or so threads tend to peter out, and we’re there.

September 2, 2007 @ 11:50 pm | Comment

Well poor Microsoft got a bit lost on the way.
But anyway, as Ivan said, got quite interesting again. I like it more than the recent past when it was not so all over the place, but on the other side quite predictable.
Keep it flowing, I say.

September 3, 2007 @ 12:30 am | Comment

Thanks for this article.

September 3, 2007 @ 1:11 am | Comment

Good luck…

September 3, 2007 @ 1:16 am | Comment

But there is no denying that Mao & Company set China far, far, far back on the moral scale and the country is still recovering.

Chinese society needs a period of time where they can learn to be truly and unanimously furious at Mao and the Cultural Revolution, then we can revive the science, morality, intellectualism and culture that he killed.

September 3, 2007 @ 3:51 am | Comment

ferins, I wouldn’t say “it’s a perod of time” thats needed, it’s freedom of thought thats needed. And you are right, the people need to be allowed to say what they find good and bad and not be brainwashed to judge everything based on good for the party’s survival and bad for the party’s survival.

Thats whats called replacing Chinese culture with party culture, total brainwashing. Hardwiring the people to believe that there is no China without the CCP and that the thing that people have to value most is the longevity of the partys rule. Whereas, in contrast, the Chinese culture would value the longevity of the most virtuous and honest and respectful… If the CCP did not erase the Chinese culture, it wouldnt have survived a year since the Chinese culture rejects evil.

I guess you can compare this to how spiritualuty in the West has been replaced by materialism… The things bad we do areonly “acceptable” based on the theory that good and bad is relative to what feels good at the moment and what feels bad at the moment. In the West it seems we have replaced being good and having values with feeling good and gaining stuff.

But in China they pull out ALL the stops and have totally gone in the opposite way from respecting culture, even so far as they elieve they are such garbage that they need the party to contain them and live their lives for them, as long as they can feel good at whatever expense.

September 4, 2007 @ 2:54 am | Comment

In the West it seems we have replaced being good and having values with feeling good and gaining stuff.

Not much has changed, really.

even so far as they elieve they are such garbage that they need the party to contain them and live their lives for them, as long as they can feel good at whatever expense.

Who is “they”? Most people in China are fairly optimistic. They don’t “think they’re garbage”. Sounds too much like a conspiracy theory. I think there’s a general expecation that the CCP will reform once Chinese people get richer; and if not, they’ll be mad.

September 4, 2007 @ 4:09 pm | Comment

hmm, well I hear a lot of “people are so bad and stupid, China is a big country, without the CCP, there would be chaos”

Anyway, what are they hopeful for? What reform?

September 6, 2007 @ 11:05 am | Comment

i guess more political transparency and adherence to the rule of law.

September 6, 2007 @ 2:01 pm | Comment

Why not now? Can something like that just be put off? And what possible excuse can one give to put off such a thing? Dont answer that, please. I know too much about persecution, I know about how the Chinese peoples hearts are lame, and I know that the CCP will not allow justice to be carried out upon itself, ever. Do you know that the CCP is responsible for so much criminal activity? So how do you expect them to put in place moral laws? I don’t see it happening.

Lets say you did a lot of bad things and changed the laws and constitution so that what you have done becomes so called legal… The the people, who the CCP doesnt respect at all, want justice and to stop their country from being one big particle of corruption, what would you do? You have commited layers of anticonstitution crimes all the while. Some position eh. So this will inevitably come to some kind of head, could be relatively pretty if theres more good people than bad and it could be extremely ugly if there are more bad people than goo, then the CCP will feel more propelled and theyll pull some crazy thing giving every person in the world an anti truth pill!!

September 6, 2007 @ 10:22 pm | Comment

Why not now?

Because the CCP will kill you.

Do you know that the CCP is responsible for so much criminal activity? So how do you expect them to put in place moral laws? I don’t see it happening.

If you didn’t notice there have been a few minor changes since 1976.

theyll pull some crazy thing giving every person in the world an anti truth pill!!

This is why no one bothers responding to some of your points.

September 7, 2007 @ 6:11 am | Comment

How do you think the CCP can survive actual law? That’s my point, dont you have a sense of humour friend? The CCP will kill you, well thats the problem in itself if you ask me. They’ll kill you for having a brain! And killing people who have morality or a brain, or both is bad by the partys judgment, anyway, Ive said it many times, maybe this is not the way you think on it so I wont go on and on. Good talkin to you though ( :

September 7, 2007 @ 11:11 am | Comment

correction, I meant to say that the CCP kills people who have morality or a brain because according to them, it is bad to have those qualities (the CCP thrives on corruption and low standards and fear…)

September 7, 2007 @ 11:15 am | Comment

How do you think the CCP can survive actual law? That’s my point, dont you have a sense of humour friend? The CCP will kill you, well thats the problem in itself if you ask me. They’ll kill you for having a brain! And killing people who have morality or a brain, or both is bad by the partys judgment, anyway, Ive said it many times, maybe this is not the way you think on it so I wont go on and on. Good talkin to you though ( :

That’s why you have to slowly undermine them and push them past points of no return. When Deng opened China up for economic reform there was no turning back. I’m sorry to say that revolutionary behavior is out of the question unless you have a deathwish. It’s sad, but it’s true.

September 7, 2007 @ 5:19 pm | Comment

Personally, my goal is to make sure people understand that the they are bold faced liars. This is a fact and people absolutely need to know what kind of party they are dealing with, and I’m not just talkin about Chinese people.

Maybe you think people already know this but they really don’t. Foreign news sources use xinhua articles as news!!! Can you believe it? When party members talk, people tend to take them somewhat seriously, not knowing that they are freaks who love to make fools of the worlds people.

If the party can survive the truth, power to them, but my goal is to make sure people aren’t fooled.

In terms of propaganda and tricking people, things have not changed in China Ferins. They control the peoples minds, people actually worship this party as if they were the only hope for the world or some total nonsense like that. ANd foreigners actually think that having the CCP as the next global superpower is a possibility. What the hey???!!! So you can see that whatever lies the CCP is trying to pull are working on the masses (along with threats of course to make sure there are no opposing thoughts), but, I dont think you have been spared, thats not to say youre not smart, really, its just that its really hard to know…

September 7, 2007 @ 9:43 pm | Comment

Anyway, people like me in Canada can do stuff without being killed for it. It really makes a big differrence to write to the Prime Minister. Maybe you are a cynicle type, but Im telling you, people can really make a difference, it doesn’t have to manifest as a big chaotic fight, as I said, the truth is what the CCP is most afraid of and bringing that to light takes no violence whatsoever, actually it’s the opposite of violence, it takes patience and sincerity. Thats what the Chinese people need to get with, they need to realize how powerful their thoughts are (of course that why the CCP feels the need to own those thoughts).

Peace ( ;

September 7, 2007 @ 9:48 pm | Comment

Well, for one, I’m not Chinese and I don’t read xinhua or chinadaily. Unless I want a laugh.

September 8, 2007 @ 2:39 am | Comment

Down with the communist propaganda department!

Hey look, Im not dead ( : Oh wait, I’m white… If more white people cared then they could all say these good things and it would be good, but white people don’t really get how important China is and stuff, but.. You are not Chinese? So you have nothing to fear right? So why are you talking like someone who fears them? Or is it that you think the changes need to be forced by people in China?

Well, I think peoplein China have to wake up, but I also think it helps a lot if people who are not under direct threat can speak up for those who are too afraid…

September 8, 2007 @ 5:52 am | Comment

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