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Dec 09

The Age of Enlightenment was the age of reason. The rise of reason over tradition in the past 200 years led to the empowerment of the individual and the belief in technological and social progress.

Reason, according to the Oxford Dictionary, refers to the power of the mind to think, understand and form judgements logically.

The concept of reason has two implications.

The first is that the individual HAS the ability to think, understand and form judgements logically. The second is that the individual SHOULD think, understand and form judgements logically.

Therefore, human freedom is NOT that we can do whatever we want. Rather, it is our ability to act according to reason. To act according to reason and reason alone affirms our autonomy, and thus our freedom.

But what is to act according to reason? It is essentially to act sensibly and rationally. To act nonsensibly or irrationally is to act against reason.

We can formulate a moral law: you should act sensibly and rationally.

Therefore, it is right to act sensibly and rationally and it is wrong to act nonsensibly or irrationally.

But how do you apply this moral law?

Let’s look at an example that happened in Shanghai.

Let’s say someone was abused by one police office or some police officers. He became angry at the police. He got into a police station and killed six police officers. He was convicted for the murders and executed.

You somehow consider him a hero.

I think you are wrong to think that. It is not reasonable that you think that. It is in fact nonsensible and irrational to think that.

I would reason this way.

After he was abused by a police officer, he should have reported the abuse to the police officer’s boss or a disciplinary board. The superior officer or the board either took up his case or didn’t.

If the boss or the board took up the case and resolved the complaint to his favor, then he should be satisfied with the outcome.

If the boss or the board didn’t take up his case or came down partially, he could still report the case to the boss’s boss.

If the boss’s boss didn’t care either, he might try something else, like the media, the Internet, etc…

But killing six unrelated police officers were nonsensible and irrational because they did not commit the abuse. Even if he could assume many or most police officers were corrupt, it was still nonreasonable to assume that six somehow deserved their fate.

Therefore he acted nonsensibly and irrationally. He was wrong. It was right convict him for his crimes.

Now you consider him a hero. It is nonsensible and irrational for you to think that. It is not sensible and rational to stand with the criminal rather than with the victims. Yes, the six killed police officers are victims. Their families are victims as well.

If you resent these six police officers just because some other police officers committed abuse, then you are unreasonable. Therefore, you are wrong.

If you know you are wrong and insist on it, you are not acting freely. Rather you are acting against reason.

If everyone acts like that, then we will lose our freedom because when everyone acts nonsensibly or irrationally, our freedom cannot be safeguarded.

Dec 05

Shanghai’s Tower of Babel

Written by: chinayouren | Filed under:Analysis | Tags:, , , , ,
35 Comments » newest 2008-12-09 12:19:37

If you’ve been reading the Chinese press this week, you might have come across two strikingly unharmonious pieces of information.

I am speaking of the treatment of the Shanghai Tower news by China Daily (ht Shanghaiist). In the space of 3 days from 11/28 to 12/01 China Daily has changed its tune radically in two articles about the construction of the new tower, which started last Saturday.

The first article is pretty neutral. It announces the beginning of the works, and has Shanghai CCP’s Lin Xu declare that spending on infrastructure will “help companies to weather the crisis“.

The second article, an unsigned editorial, is ripe with criticism of about every possible aspect of the project. Including some juicy ones: “symbolizes that blind worship and race for skyscrapers has reached a new high” and “The money could still be spent better elsewhere on so many priorities“.

What is going on here? Who forced this article into Beijing’s China Daily, the largest English language newspaper in China? It is a quickly written and poorly edited/translated article, someone obviously overrode the usual procedures of the newspaper to get this text to press ASAP. Someone you wouldn’t dare to edit or reject.

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Oct 31

minipost-(Letter) Being a Chinese American….

Written by: guest | Filed under:-guest-posts, -mini-posts | Tags:,
4 Comments » newest 2008-11-06 00:58:28

Being a first generation immigrant, I sometimes wonder what right do I have as a Chinese/Taiwanese American to voice my opinion on Chinese/Taiwanese politics. Seems like every forum I join, I always get accused of because I am an “American” I just don’t get it. Of course being at a young age of 24, I took it as a personal attack. These last few months I have been part of this group at www.udn.com, but I have to keep my mouth shut because whenever I disagree with their opinion, they just say you just too ignorant because you are an American. Continue reading »

Sep 29

(Letter) Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s Interview with CNN

Written by: guest | Filed under:-guest-posts | Tags:,
3 Comments » newest 2008-10-01 20:38:32

It was on Fareed Zakaria GPS (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0809/28/fzgps.01.html).

Sep 25

minipost-(Letter) Disasters and Values

Written by: guest | Filed under:-mini-posts, Analysis, politics | Tags:,
17 Comments » newest 2008-09-28 07:23:02

A milk scandal cross the country, a mudslide in Shanxi Province, and a fire in a Shenzhen City dance hall. Three disasters and many deaths. Continue reading »

Sep 13

I have been following this year’s US election. As an onlooker, there is some kind of entertaining element in my interest. But, at the same time, I am asking myself how it would be like if this election process was run in China, a country of 1.3 billion population. Since i don’t know the US election process very well, I am asking simple questions here: how feasible is democracy or how to put it in practice in a large country without it being downgraded to image competition? Continue reading »

May 23

Quiz: What kind of Chinese are you?

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Analysis, q&a | Tags:, ,
126 Comments » newest 2017-10-04 23:40:28

Take the little quiz below, and find out what kind of Chinese you are (politically). The questions and answers give great insight into the common points of conflict that divide the “left” and the “right” amongst Chinese.

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