The West’s current competition with China is therefore not a face-off between democracy and authoritarianism, but rather the clash of two fundamentally different political outlooks. The modern West sees democracy and human rights as the pinnacle of human development. It is a belief premised on an absolute faith. China is on a different path. Its leaders are prepared to allow greater popular participation in political decisions if and when it is conducive to economic development and favorable to the country’s national interests, as they have done in the past 10 years.
However, China’s leaders would not hesitate to curtail those freedoms if the conditions and the needs of the nation changed. The 1980s were a time of expanding popular participation in the country’s politics that helped loosen the ideological shackles of the destructive Cultural Revolution. But it went too far and led to a vast rebellion at Tiananmen Square. That uprising was decisively put down on June 4, 1989. The Chinese nation paid a heavy price for that violent event, but the alternatives would have been far worse. The resulting stability ushered in a generation of growth and prosperity that propelled China’s economy to its position as the second largest in the world.
The fundamental difference between Washington’s view and Beijing’s is whether political rights are considered God-given and therefore absolute or whether they should be seen as privileges to be negotiated based on the needs and conditions of the nation.
The West seems incapable of becoming less democratic even when its survival may depend on such a shift. In this sense, America today is similar to the old Soviet Union, which also viewed its political system as the ultimate end. History does not bode well for the American way. Indeed, faith-based ideological hubris may soon drive democracy over the cliff.
A couple of thoughts:
1) you are a "crony capitalist" pal. If you didn't have friends in high places in the Party, you couldn't do jack. Out of curiosity, what sort of kickback arrangements do you have?
2) The only thing heartening about such blind arrogance is the way it will walk right into its doom. The problem is they are going to cause a lot of misery and take a lot of people with them before they find out they were wrong.
3) Before you get too comfortable, just remember how many of Mao's little books are out there. Wasn't it required reading? China's been riding the post-Tiannanmen "stability" for a while now. All it takes is a bump or a downturn, and you can wind up with an unpleasant reminder that the "vast rebellion at Tiananmen Square" was just a mass protest, not a rebellion. Rebels shoot back. Just ask Mao. If you're a "venture capitalist", maybe it's in your interest to NOT make that route look like a good thing.