Even by the standards of the South China Morning Post’s questionably-named Insight op-ed page, this column from last Friday is a classic. We can summarize the (approx) 1,000-word opus thus: democracy is not perfect, so let’s solve our problems through discussion.
Most of the article refutes democracy with elaborate reference to Chris Patten, Bosnia, Nazi Germany, Rwanda, Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen, Brexit, Trump, Occupy Central-as-Red Guards, Pol Pot, etc. The remaining few paragraphs suggest that if Hong Kong people (not really defined) focus on ends rather than means, they can solve the housing, health, elderly problems ‘by discussing’.
The author doesn’t specify who talks with whom here.
His underlying assumption is that: “A system [whether democracy or any other system of governance] lives for the people – not the other way around”. This is possibly not quite the right thing to say just after listing Nazi Germany, Red Guards, Pol Pot, etc.
It is also hard to reconcile with the Chinese Communist Party’s clear primary, indeed sole, purpose – namely to keep itself in power, which can only be possible ultimately if the people serve the regime, not vice-versa. By extension, it will not apply to Hong Kong’s local government, appointed by the CCP with a clear mandate to preserve the interests of Beijing’s preferred cronies and cartels. The CCP and its lower tiers in the power structure do not ‘negotiate’ or ‘discuss’ with the people. The people’s role is to shut up and obey.
The author arguably has a point when he says that calling for democracy is pointless.
Anson Au, eh? Now there’s a name to conjure with.
One glance at this pretty boy’s publication list shows that he’s no stranger to writing bollocks.
“Flexibilizing”, my arse!
Actions speak louder than words: I see Anson is just visiting Hong Kong and is based in the evil mad distasteful democracy, the UK at the LSE.
So file under “h” for hypocrite or “i” for ignore.
It is remarkable that the Self Censored Morning Post can’t find any CPC fanbois who are actually prepared to stay in Hong Kong: even their poster boy, the rabidly-frothing-at-the-mouth Tian Feilong (amusingly translatable as “Damn: criminally deaf!”) stays up in Beijing, devouring his young.
Perhaps the Self Censored, guided by the legendary English skills of Tammy Tam, read “insight/opinion” as “in sight? opinion?” and pick the first person they see on the street to spout a load of bobbins about China being brilliant and independence being awful.
Pierce Lam and “democrazy” please…
“Democracy’s bad so something else must be better.” Until someone specifies the “something else,” this argument is as tired as it is empty.
I think we may judge the validity of young Anson’s argument by the accuracy of his supporting “facts”. Marine Le Pen in France was, he claims, “only narrowly beaten by a more moderate candidate”. Well yes, what could be a more narrow margin than 66% to 34%? His other “narrowly beaten” extremist candidate, Geert Wilders, garnered the support of only 13.1% of Dutch voters. And “a majority rallied behind [Donald Trump’s] claims”, Au states, except that the majority actually voted for Trump’s opponent!
Just a thought: if people called for self-determination instead of democracy, would that make it harder for the Dark Side to refute and obfuscate?
@Chris: The answer is usually “Singapore is better than democracy”.
Nobody ever explains why if Singapore is so brilliant, everywhere isn’t just like it. It’s almost as if the exploitation of geographically specific economic inefficiencies by an obsessive micro-managing ur-patriarch isn’t a globally replicable model. Huh.