Search This Blog

Friday, 5 August 2011

The government is not to be enshrined

Hyperlink to the source text in Chinese: 政府不是拿来供着的
Translated and proofread by @krizcpec

Thomas Paine is remembered for the booklet he authored, Common Sense, from which many draw ideas to deliberate on Western Democracies, liberty, and government's legitimacy. Many of the common sense that we are going to cover are but a continuation of wisdom of human and reinterpretation of it. Some of the common sense had quickly become consensus, and for many reasons, a view that is almost universally agreed on fails to get approval on another land. Some common sense may have become a consensus rather quickly. Yet a consensus that is almost universally agreed upon has, for many reasons, not been approved on another land. It has even been smeared by the many interest groups and those have voice in their control, with the purpose to exploit interests of others and pocket the benefits themselves. I will today give a few examples to illustrate why government is not to be enshrined, so as to make things clear to those readers who ask me to put myself into the government’s shoes, these people are mostly civil servants, one of them leaves comments on my blog using the name “a rank-and-file bureaucrat”, and of course there are also those who have been brainwashed, become out of touch with real life and use “conditions of the country” as an excuse to shrink from their responsibilities. “Government is not to be enshrined” could be written into a booklet like Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, serving the purpose of revealing [the nature of government] to humankind, and to alert them. As I get to know more and become more experienced, maybe I should perhaps give this task a try. What's covered in today's article serves only as a beginning of this project, it may not be comprehensive, but there's time to develop it further in future.
First: A government that wears unquestionable moral helmet to block criticism from the masses is shameful. No government in the world would shamelessly boost itself to be “great, glorious, and correct” like ours, laying claims to priority in using the best of human words. Look around, comparing what this government has said with the evil it has done, how else can we describe it apart from shameless?

Second: The shameful charge “Subversion of State Security” is derived from that moral helmet. Our government wears that helmet in the first place, and then by brainwash and coercion it makes people come to terms with its false claims to be “great, glorious, and correct”. From this it comes up with the bastard logic that criticizing the government is an act to damage and subvert state security. It is irrefutable that government is not the same as a country, yet government critics are jailed one after another; not a single one of them is unpatriotic, they are true advocates of the country, a country that has freedom and democracy, not the current authoritarian state.

Third: Country is like a campsite that is here to stay, while government is like flowing water that would come and go. Democracy is choosing your own government by casting your ballots. The longest possible time for a US president to hold that office would only be two terms, or eight years; peaceful change of administration is made possible in democracy. One of the evil attributes of autocratic regimes is that all rulers of dynasties, including our own authoritarian government, hope their reign would last forever; but in reality, these dynasties would last at most 300 years, and bloodshed is inevitable if a new dynasty is to rule the country. There is no basis for these dynasties to achieve eternal reign, Qin Shi Huangdi (the First Emperor) wanted his dynasty to pass on among his descendants for at least ten thousand generations, and what happened? (Qin Dynasty was overthrown fifteen years after China was first unified in 221 B.C. – translator note) And so what would happen to those modern dictatorships, which want to turn themselves from flowing water to static campsite? Do I need to tell?

Fourth: Government that is good is a trustee of public interests. The populace lives in a community comprising many individuals and interest groups, many of its issues are too complicated for individuals to take into their own hands; it is therefore imperative that members of a community surrender part of their rights, say they pay tax in accordance with the law, so that government as a trustee can sort out the issues for you. If a government acts not as a trustee of public interests but as an interest group that serves the ruling clique that pocket the benefits themselves, what legitimacy would a government like this have?

Fifth: Government that doesn’t do its jobs properly after it collects the money is no different from bandits. Let’s say you give your neighbors fifty dollars and ask him to do something for you; on top of that, you give him an extra twenty dollars or some other reward. He not only doesn’t do that for you, but also says you have not given him the money at all; do you not agree that a neighbor like this is not different from a bandit? A neighbor like this is not the real problem, you stop ask him for help and things would be fine. But can you stay away from the government? No; what is worse, a government consists of tens of thousands of individuals like the hypothetical neighbor mentioned above, and has control over a huge military force – which is supposed to be impartial and belongs not to any parties or sectors – and sizable tax; officials of all levels and departments are in a corruption and embezzlement frenzy, and doing no work for you. And you are not allowed to criticize them, or they will oppress you, throw you in jail, or even make you cease to be.

Sixth: A government that competes with the populace is not doing its job. Adams Smith has said long ago that government is a night watcher. Our existing government not only doesn’t care for your safety, and watch the nights for you, but also takes the opportunity to steal from you while it is dark. Their policies kept secret; their work non-transparent; they make you suffer losses without being able to tell anyone; what then is the difference between this and robbery by night? These are done more often in broad daylight, from illicit reselling of land, forceful demolition of flats, to being made to fulfill all sorts of mandatory appropriations (such as Olympics sponsorship, donations, charges, duties, and objectives) assigned by the leaders; with a gun pointing at you from behind their back, do you dare not to comply?

Seventh: They make you suffer with the money collected from you. We as taxpayers hand so much money to them, and they keep us in the dark regarding how exactly those money is spent; there is also widespread corruption, too. What's even worse, by employing more police, more secret police, and the massive army which has no fighting capacity when facing the enemy, yet perfectly capable of killing of their own people, they continue their exploit on you.

Eighth: With the populace striped of their freedom of speech, the authorities have control over the genuine marketplace of concept. American jurist, legal theorist and judge Richard Allen Posner has suggested that ideas are a marketplace, our thoughts can develop and benefit only from fair competitions between different ideas, and only with these competitions can social progress become possible. Concept is one of the key factors that can change the world; without free competition of free thoughts, there can be no genuine development in thoughts, invention, humanity, and natural science; an autocratic regime that does not allow freedom of speech wants to bring about the great revival of the Chinese people, this is utterly lunatic ravings. Comparisons of different schools of thoughts should be allowed without restriction, and the public should be able to choose freely between them. It is certain that those schools of thoughts that are comparatively better will stand out by public choice, thereby effectively putting an end to those deceptive speeches.

Ninth: Government has greater tendency and capacity to do evil than the persons in the street. In his book What the Anti-Federalists Were For: The Political Thought of the Opponents of the Constitution Herbert .J. Storing wrote that, “Government power should always be granted with a niggardly hand, a maxim that applies a hundredfold to this proposed general government (i.e. the federal government – Ran note), distant and dangerous as it must necessarily be even if improved.” The Anti-Federalists remained so attentive to the “distant and dangerous” abuse of power by the federal government, despite a checks and balances mechanism by state governments was already in place, was because they were convinced that the federal government was hard to control, and insisted that a checks and balances system would be a must. Look at our own “remote and dangerous” centralized government, tell me how grave is its tendency and capacity to do evil? Our officials flock to expeditions overseas, only to realize they are the most privileged public servants in the world. Joyously and zealously they come back to “love this country”, where the money is so easy for them to take, and the populace is so docile; they found out that, for the lack of tendency and capacity to do evil, the Western governments are nowhere as privileged as theirs.

Tenth: I love the Qing dynasty (referring to the PRC – translator note), and who loves me back? who would really care for us ordinary people? Stop shamelessly bragging that you are “Great, Glorious, and Correct”; stop using those labels of so called patriotism to scare the people. I do love this country, but does it love me at all? Without the component of lively individuals, how would there be any country? According to the order decided by the time of arrival, individuals are normally more superior to the state because individuals had lived here long before a country came into existence. What use of a country if it does not protect my interests? Those brainwashing theory that places state on top of individuals may as well be stopped.

No comments:

Post a Comment