By Michael Patrick, Ph.D.
I was in the process of trying to write my next column when it became unwieldy. So much should be said that no one of influence will whisper because they don’t dare.
Then a friend sent me this article and I realized that the piece says so much of what I wanted to say that I’m deferring to the power of Jenin Younes’ thoughtful eloquence. After a year of Covid-19, the reality sinks in that the West has clearly entered a post-liberalism era with a vengeance.
Having lived and worked briefly in China, I grew to appreciate deeply the breadth and wisdom of the Chinese people I lived with, particularly in many of their communal practices in how they engage life around them. The nation’s policies in governing are an entirely separate matter.
The experience later proved oddly jarring when I watched Americans readily seize new ways of living that reflect a radically different outlook about our own politics. Here, Younes joins others in the stark, yet ever-seeping recognition that “values that until recently were considered non-negotiable in most Western democracies– freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom of assembly – are proving dispensable.”
Worse, in the West’s Covid-like adoption of China’s methods, the rising real-politick is defined by a crushing set of values. These post-liberal values invading the system embrace practices set on destroying dissent. The results are silently crippling America’s endurance as a free nation.
Americans and others are not moderating choices and learning to live with Covid-19 and its ongoing mutations, but something far deadlier is at work. What is emerging is a new age of scientific authoritarianism. The unmistakable outcomes are what Human Rights Watch’s [HRW] webpage describes in reference to China as “an Orwellian high-tech surveillance state and a sophisticated internet censorship system to monitor and suppress public criticism.” These select systems mutate and take on a life of their own that cripples rights and freedoms. Effectively, it marshals an apparatus of political, economic, and media extensions that ultimately serve to silence or suppress those “who jeopardize its grasp on power”.
I leave you with this strong caution: If you click and begin to read the linked article, this Band-aid does not rip off painlessly. As I repeatedly told Chinese business leaders, “The largest army in the world is not the Chinese Army. It is the army of “Yeah Buts”: arguments that will attack you immediately upon any challenge to change. New realizations are never welcome on the block. The “Yeah But” army already possesses powerful and credible allies.
Nonetheless, I encourage you to allow time and space to read the linked article below. Jenin Younes echoes others who are finding out the hard way how infections spread quickly, and slowly, inevitably kill living democracies.