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Chinese Atrocity

One of the great mistakes committed by many pro-liberty enthusiasts in America is to forget how free we Americans still are compared to persons elsewhere, especially to persons outside of western Europe and the English-speaking world.  Yes, we Americans are not as free as we should be; our government insults and harasses us continually with pernicious regulations and taxes; our "leaders" typically are venal liars, with no more personal integrity than ordinary pick-pockets — they would be clowns worthy of belly-laughs if their access to power over us were only pretend.

And, yes, the "war on terror" has further diminished our freedoms — just as any "war" on an abstraction will inevitably create excessive power for the state.

But compared to people in much of the world Americans remain free.  I can write this blog and say pretty much whatever I wish to say.  I might be called nasty names by commentors, friendly critics might express their constructive criticisms, but I never worry about being arrested, fined, or imprisoned.  I can call George Bush whatever names I want; I can accuse the Congress or the Supreme Court or the FDA of stupidity, cupidity, or even treachery, and then sleep like a baby at night without fear of a midnight pounding on my door.

I want to be more free — much more free.  But at the same time I recognize that the fate being suffered now by these four innocent young men in China is a fate that I and other Americans need not fear.

The goons who run the government in Beijing imprison people merely for writing publicly about democracy and other alternatives to the centralized behemoth bequeathed to China by Chairman Mao.  The Chinese government prevents people merely from expressing opinions that, in the view of the government, might "subvert state power."

These political prisoners should be freed immediately.  And those of us who live in freer societies should continue to press for all of our rights, and not forget or to take for granted the ones that we do possess.  And we should condemn the greater assaults on freedom committed against our fellow human beings in other, less-free parts of the world.