I’m of the opinion that people groups have one chance in the course of human history to be free. Take China, for example. The Chinese people will never be free throughout the rest of the course of human history. They are now officially a dystopian state with a social credit system to coerce conformity and internment camps for nonconformists. They are completely disarmed against their government with no chance of claiming freedom again. Tiananmen Square was their one chance and they got shot down. That was there moment and it passed. Barring Alien invasion or the return of the Almighty himself, the Chinese people will never be free. Then there is the United States. In 1776, our moment arrived. It took nearly a decade, but we claimed our moment and did not let our chance go to waste. It came at great cost and great risk, but we nailed it. If we ever give up our liberty, I don’t think we ever get it back. This great experiment we call America is single-shot ordeal. There is no second opportunity in our holster I think, so we should perhaps steward our current liberty with that in mind.
The Terrible Tragedy of Tiananmen
The 30th anniversary of the student led protests in Tiananmen Square recently passed and it is with great lamentation that I say what I say about Chinese liberty. Back in 2004, as sort of a way of blowing off steam from Iraq, I taught English in China. I didn’t speak much Chinese, but I was just the pronunciation and culture teacher for a middle school in Shenzhen, China. Which, by the way, is why there are about 100 Chinese people speaking English with a thick southern accent right now. The Chinese people are great human beings. They want nothing different than the average American, though the cultural expression of that longing is expressed differently. They generally love and admire Americans, but genuinely love their homeland.
If you are trying to find me in the picture, I’m the white guy. I spent some time in Beijing at Peking University. This was the heart of the Tiananmen movement. We were told not to mention Tiananmen to them, but whenever it contextually came up it was clear that the students knew what was up. They simply put their heads down and moved on for fear of saying the wrong thing. That’s when I realized they were a subjugated people. A great people, but subjected by their government nonetheless.
I walked through Tiananmen Square myself and when you see just how massive an area it is, the pictures of that square filled with students really comes to life. That was their moment. They were rallied to action. Tank Man in the picture above has inspired freedom and resistance around the world, but alas, Tank Man was sadly not enough for the Chinese people. They had their shot and now its over. They will never be free throughout the rest of human history.
The Abdication of Current Liberty
Failed revolutions are not the only way that a people group can lose their one shot at liberty. Venezuela is a good example. They were a thriving capitalist and free society. Then, because times seemed hard, they traded their birthright liberty for the bowl of soup that is Socialism. As a point of clarification, I’m a libertarian-ish leaning fella, but I don’t label every government program as socialism. Warren Buffet is a billionaire who supports a stronger social safety net and yet, he is proud to claim that he is a card carrying capitalist. There are some left of center Democrats I could support and I’m not so dogmatic in my thought to cry socialism every time a law is passed.
However, the momentum in the Democratic Party to embrace the word Socialism scares the living daylights out of me. Venezuela did the same and they will never be free again. We saw as much during the latest failed coup last month. They too were disarmed against their government and so when they tried to claim liberty back, they were crushed with armored vehicles. I watched them try and was shocked at what I saw. Particularly because I thought they were supposed to be good at baseball, but didn’t nary one of the Molotov cocktails seem to find its target. Yet, this failed coup was not when they lost their one shot at liberty. Their one shot was when they abdicated it to Socialism. They traded their birthright for a bowl of soup and I fear they will never get it back.
Pay Attention America
The successful revolution that took place in America isn’t the norm in human history. Revolutions fail all throughout history, but ours didn’t and that’s something remarkable. Should we ever abdicate our liberty on the altar of socialism, we don’t ever get it back I think. Then again, it doesn’t have to be socialism. The Russian people claimed their one shot at liberty in the early 90’s with the fall of the Soviet Union. Then, when they felt they had lost Russian greatness, they traded their newfound birthright for the bowl of soup that is authoritarianism. Putin is nothing less than a tyrant and sadly, one the Russian people applaud. They too, will never be free again in the course of human history I fear. America should equally pay attention and fear authoritarianism as we should socialism.
What we see in China is truly frightening, because China is the inevitable end game of both Socialism and Authoritarianism. Their social credit system restricts movement of citizens based on their compliance to Chinese society. The Chinese government restricts the flow of free information. The Chinese people are completely disarmed. The Chinese government has up to one million people in reeducation and internment camps. The Chinese government will never relinquish control and the people have no means of overcoming the controls that have been put into place. The same could be said for the Russian people. The same could be said for the Venezuelan people. If we are not careful and willingly trade our birthright, the same could be said of the American people one day. We had our one shot in 1776 and we nailed it. If we abdicate it, I fear we never get it back.
So that’s why I defend free speech, though terrible things are often said. That’s why I am always wary of attacks on capitalism, though capitalism can be very cruel to some. That’s why I am a passionate supporter of the 2nd amendment, though guns have been used in terrible atrocities. That’s why I am often critical of President Trump, though he has done many things I like. That last one tighten ya’ll up a little bit? You can continue to support Trump, but don’t act like you don’t need to do so with one eye open. Cough, cough, Trump wants to ban suppressors, cough cough. We had our chance America and we stuck the landing with a perfect 10. If we trade our birthright for a bowl of soup, I fear we never get it back.