Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and political dissident. Although he collaborated on the construction of Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics, his criticism of the government later led to his arrest without charges and imprisonment for several months. I believe there are two main takeaways from the following article he wrote for The Guardian. First, he knows what it is like to live in an authoritarian regime with very little freedom or civil liberties. Thus it would be wise to take his warning to heart. Second, he illustrates a key point I have been trying to make for years. All citizens of the world must refuse to allow their respective governments to drag us into a war started by various oligarchs located in distinct geographic locations. 99.9% of the population must come together and understand that oligarchs within the U.S. and oligarchs within China are united against us all. We must never forget this. These guys don’t fight wars. Rather, they rape, steal and pillage and then send you to do their dirty work. Don’t fall for it. From The Guardian:
I lived in the United States for 12 years. This abuse of state power goes totally against my understanding of what it means to be a civilised society, and it will be shocking for me if American citizens allow this to continue. The US has a great tradition of individualism and privacy and has long been a centre for free thinking and creativity as a result.
In our experience in China, basically there is no privacy at all – that is why China is far behind the world in important respects: even though it has become so rich, it trails behind in terms of passion, imagination and creativity.
When human beings are scared and feel everything is exposed to the government, we will censor ourselves from free thinking. That’s dangerous for human development.
In the Soviet Union before, in China today, and even in the US, officials always think what they do is necessary, and firmly believe they do what is best for the state and the people. But the lesson that people should learn from history is the need to limit state power.
To limit power is to protect society. It is not only about protecting individuals’ rights but making power healthier.
Civilization is built on that trust and everyone must fight to defend it, and to protect our vulnerable aspects – our inner feelings, our families. We must not hand over our rights to other people. No state power should be given that kind of trust. Not China. Not the US.
There you go David Brooks. A lesson into how to be a human being.
Full article here.
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