China Wants Only 'Healthy' News on Web

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  • #26
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vanesch said:
Although I agree with you to some extend that the Chinese do whatever they like in their country, I do think that *peaceful* means of pressure towards a freer society is always good to take. The problem I have with the dictatorial attitude of the chinese gouvernment is more on the long term, when they will be the world's superpower. As long as they keep that attitude only within China, I'd say it is the Chinese's business to decide whether they accept that or not. From the moment they start "exporting" their views, I'd be against it, but it might be too late.

However, I can up to a point understand the attitude of the Chinese gouvernment: China's living an economic boom which will boost them in a few decenies from a develloping country to an economic (and military ?) superpower, and it is probably in the Chinese people's best interest in the long term that they keep it going that way, and not let (for the moment) government critique, ideas of liberty etc...get in their way. The goal is to produce valves at 1/9th the price for the US and the rest of the world, because it will pay off in a few years time when they will be masters of the world. But will WE ruled one day that way too ?

What I am going to say is going to make me quite unpopular, but I have long looked at "Liberty" with leery eyes. It seems to be the single one notion in the West of unquestionable, and often unquestioned, sanctity that is to be, or ought to be pursued universally by all mankind. BUT WHY? WHY liberty? Is there no other virtues equally worthy as a goal for human pursuit? How about FRATERNITY? How about TRUTH? How about RATIONALITY? How about conservation and frugality? How about self-discipline and self-control? How about diligence and hard work? How about the willingness to sacrifice oneself for the common good? How about patience and restraint? Kindly indulge me here, but given what we know about the social development of the champion country of liberty, I wonder if it is not just a license for its people to free fall with natural human propensity and be wantonly self-indulgent and self-complacent.

Turning back to the misgiving about China exporting its value to others in the future, I'd say let's worry about what we are being force fed now, as we speak.

Edit: China exporting its value? My answer to that? In all honesty? It is too smart for that :tongue: .
 
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  • #27
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Polly said:
WHY liberty?

Because Liberty is necessary to live a life. The life of a human being, not the life of a slave.
 
  • #28
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sid_galt said:
Because Liberty is necessary to live a life. The life of a human being, not the life of a slave.

sid_galt, I respect your remark and I know where you are coming from. Ask any sufficiently educated Chinese and he will tell you liberty cannot be achieved from without. Looking within oneself is the only way one can be freed from all the conditionality (in buddhism lingo) or conditioning (in psychology lingo) from the outside world and the self.
 
  • #29
vanesch
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Polly said:
BUT WHY? WHY liberty? Is there no other virtues equally worthy as a goal for human pursuit? How about FRATERNITY? How about TRUTH? How about RATIONALITY? How about conservation and frugality? How about self-discipline and self-control? How about diligence and hard work? How about the willingness to sacrifice oneself for the common good? How about patience and restraint?

I (partly) agree with you here, in that liberty shouldn't be a value above all others. In fact, personally, I find happiness and truth more important. But in order to achieve them, you need some form of liberty. For instance, I find the liberty to be able to critique authority quite fundamental, much more so than "liberty of action". So, no, liberty is not - in my eyes - sacrosaint if it goes at the cost of other values ; but it is sometimes part of them.
 
  • #30
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Polly said:
What I am going to say is going to make me quite unpopular, but I have long looked at "Liberty" with leery eyes. It seems to be the single one notion in the West of unquestionable, and often unquestioned, sanctity that is to be, or ought to be pursued universally by all mankind. BUT WHY? WHY liberty? Is there no other virtues equally worthy as a goal for human pursuit? How about FRATERNITY? How about TRUTH? How about RATIONALITY? How about conservation and frugality? How about self-discipline and self-control? How about diligence and hard work? How about the willingness to sacrifice oneself for the common good? How about patience and restraint? Kindly indulge me here, but given what we know about the social development of the champion country of liberty, I wonder if it is not just a license for its people to free fall with natural human propensity and be wantonly self-indulgent and self-complacent.


Because Liberty means you are allowed to pursue the life you choose...nobody has to agree with anyone. Everyone is free to be as screwed up as they want to be or as perfect as they want to be. Why should anyone HAVE to live a life they don't want to live? Happiness is NOT universal! I might be happy in a cardboard box or in a 4000 sqft mansion. If I want to live like a socialist I am also free to do that. They have socialist colonies for people who agree with that life style....

People come in every flavor and it is not fair to make everyone live the same life. The only way to be fair to everyone is to give them all the liberty to choose their own lives. To be happy or to be sad...to live and to die...

Don't assume that what you value is what someone else values. If you accept that some people see the world differently then taking away liberty is equal to enslaving people.

So yeah...I pretty much think your philosophy is about the most inhuman and cruel one there is.
 
  • #31
vanesch
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Townsend said:
Because Liberty means you are allowed to pursue the life you choose...nobody has to agree with anyone. Everyone is free to be as screwed up as they want to be or as perfect as they want to be. Why should anyone HAVE to live a life they don't want to live? Happiness is NOT universal! I might be happy in a cardboard box or in a 4000 sqft mansion. If I want to live like a socialist I am also free to do that.

Here you are in fact agreeing with me that liberty is not a GOAL but a MEANS (amongst others) and that the true GOAL is happiness, no ?
BTW (I hope I made that clear) I think that a good dose of liberty is necessary in order for people to be happy (it's just part of people's nature ; if we would have been ants, things would be different :-). But I agree with Polly that putting liberty above everything, even if this means severely violating other values, one should have a discussion. Because it is not possible to have EVERYBODY happy. Some will always be disgruntled. So the question is if it is better to have the altruists disgruntled, or the egoist pigs disgruntled :-) Maybe a good mix of values that makes most people happy is the good solution. This mix can even change over the course of time.
For instance, if 90% of the population is starving, I think they care less about liberty than about food. And - this was one of the fundamental mistakes the US made in Iraq - if liberty must go against national pride, things also depend on how these values are perceived.

Imagine that I live under an enlightened dictator, where I have not the slightest bit of actual liberty of action. However, the dictator is SO enlightened that he can GUESS what I really would like to do this day, so every morning, he sends in 20 soldiers with guns, who oblige me to do EXACTLY what I wanted to do. But no way of discussing !
ORDER FROM THE GREAT LEADER: TODAY YOU ARE GOING TO CHAT ON PHYSICS FORUMS ;-)
(and that was exactly what I thought I wanted to do).

Is it so terrible to live in such a dictatorship ?
:smile:
 
  • #32
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vanesch said:
But I agree with Polly that putting liberty above everything, even if this means severely violating other values, one should have a discussion.

Liberty is a supreme value necessary for life as a human being. Without it no other values are possible. Tell me how can you have values when you don't have a life?


vanesch said:
So the question is if it is better to have the altruists disgruntled, or the egoist pigs disgruntled :-)

1. You don't decide who is happy or not. Barring natural disasters or circumstances out of one's control(e.g. dictatorship), it is person's choice which decides whether he'll be happy or not.

2. Others may not share your philosophy of altruism as good and egoism as evil.

vanesch said:
Imagine that I live under an enlightened dictator, where I have not the slightest bit of actual liberty of action. However, the dictator is SO enlightened that he can GUESS what I really would like to do this day, so every morning, he sends in 20 soldiers with guns, who oblige me to do EXACTLY what I wanted to do. But no way of discussing !
ORDER FROM THE GREAT LEADER: TODAY YOU ARE GOING TO CHAT ON PHYSICS FORUMS ;-)
(and that was exactly what I thought I wanted to do).

This doesn't make any sense.

vanesch said:
Is it so terrible to live in such a dictatorship ?
:smile:

Yup. If you think I'm wrong, try living in North Korea or Cuba.

Do you know that in the concentration camps of North Korea, they kill new born babies with the spurs on the soldiers boots? Or that they perform chemical experiments on entire families? Or that the people there live in near starvation conditions?
In China where people are jailed for uttering any thought which is not sanctioned by the Communist Party of China?
In Iran where a women is killed because she supposedly destroyed the family honor because a man raped her?

A dictatorship is based on the principle that a man has no rights. It can never be good.

After hundreds of millions of deaths, 2 millenia filled with blood, two world wars, I can't understand why people still think dictatorships aren't all that bad.
 
  • #33
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vanesch said:
Imagine that I live under an enlightened dictator, where I have not the slightest bit of actual liberty of action. However, the dictator is SO enlightened that he can GUESS what I really would like to do this day, so every morning, he sends in 20 soldiers with guns, who oblige me to do EXACTLY what I wanted to do. But no way of discussing !
ORDER FROM THE GREAT LEADER: TODAY YOU ARE GOING TO CHAT ON PHYSICS FORUMS ;-)
(and that was exactly what I thought I wanted to do).

Is it so terrible to live in such a dictatorship ?
:smile:

I suppose living under such conditions would be a pretty darn nice thing. :approve:

Anyhow....I have read about some slaveys that had very lavish opulent lifestyles because their owners were very caring. However, even these slaves wanted their freedom....Even if it meant losing everything they still wanted it.

The point is, if you want to live under the rule of a benevolent dictator you are in fact free to do so. Right here in America a group of people or even the entire nation can choose to live under the rule of one man who has some how been declared the Ruler. Some people in America might not like this so they are free to play by their own rules. If the majority of people listened to this dictator they could for all intents and purposes take over the government by voting in whomever the ruler tells them to vote in.

The thing of it is, is that when the people have liberty anything is possible. With any other system it would seem that all hope rest with a violent take over or a benevolent government. Historically it seems that benevolent governments are the least likely of the two.
 
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  • #34
vanesch
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sid_galt said:
Liberty is a supreme value necessary for life as a human being. Without it no other values are possible. Tell me how can you have values when you don't have a life?

I think that many of our "liberties" are very illusional. We are "free" to make about the one single rational decision that is imposed upon us by extenal circumstances. For instance, I cannot freely decide not to go to work. Well, *in principle* I can of course, but then I'll get troubles with my employer, I'll be out of a job, my family will have a problem etc... So MOST things you do are simply because you HAVE to do them (even though you can *in principle* choose). So in a way I'm used not to be very free in my actions. But that doesn't matter much. What matters more is if the things I am supposed to do make me reasonably happy or not. They mostly do, in fact.

Now don't get me wrong, I do think that some freedom is indeed necessary for a human being to be happy. I think, for instance, that the freedom of expression is extremely important. But it is not the single one absolute value to which everything should be sacrificed.
It is exactly the same as with raising children. You don't let your kids totally free. You let them have some freedom, but when you see that it goes against their obvious interest, you withdraw their freedom (say, to jump from the 8th floor). That doesn't mean that they are unhappy. So I can very well live with not being totally free (which I'm not, in any case) if that brings in happiness in another way.

The reason to be against dictatorships is not that their subjects have no freedom, it is that usually dictatorships are cruel and that it is in the nature of human beings to abuse the power they have. But compare this to the business world. If you have a *good* CEO, with good managers, it is fun working in such a company. Even though you are NOT free, and even though the boss is not choosen democratically.
 
  • #35
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vanesch said:
I think that many of our "liberties" are very illusional. We are "free" to make about the one single rational decision that is imposed upon us by extenal circumstances.

There is only one liberty. The right to one's own life which is not illusional.

For instance, I cannot freely decide not to go to work. Well, *in principle* I can of course, but then I'll get troubles with my employer, I'll be out of a job, my family will have a problem etc...

you can't eat your cake and have it too. You are free to do anything you want with your own life. You are not "free" to do what you want with others. If you were, then that would not be freedom.

So MOST things you do are simply because you HAVE to do them (even though you can *in principle* choose).
You can choose in principle and in practice. And I don't do anything because I have to do it. I do it only if it makes me happier. For instance, do you come to physicsforums or engage in leisure activities because you have to do it or because you enjoy it?

So in a way I'm used not to be very free in my actions. But that doesn't matter much. What matters more is if the things I am supposed to do make me reasonably happy or not. They mostly do, in fact.

Now if most of the things made you sad and depressed would you do them? You would not. So you have freedom in principle and in practice.

But it is not the single one absolute value to which everything should be sacrificed.

Freedom is a prerequisite to a life. Then without freedom, how can other values even exist?

It is exactly the same as with raising children. You don't let your kids totally free.
Kids are different. They are by nature not mature enough to make decisions for themselves. Adults on the other hand do have the capability to make decisions for themselves.

The reason to be against dictatorships is not that their subjects have no freedom, it is that usually dictatorships are cruel and that it is in the nature of human beings to abuse the power they have. But compare this to the business world.

As I said before, a dictatorship is based on the concept that a man has no rights. It is therefore inherently immoral.

If you have a *good* CEO, with good managers, it is fun working in such a company. Even though you are NOT free, and even though the boss is not choosen democratically.

I hope you are not comparing CEOs and dictators. Because you see, CEOs cannot force you to do anything - they cannot violate your rights without the collaboration of the govt. Dictators can and do.
 

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