Commentary on Political Economy

Saturday 10 August 2019

The Chinese Dictatorship and Its 'People'

History does not repeat. Nor does it rhyme. Historia docet, claimed the Romans who – from Livy to Sallust and Tacitus and beyond – were masterly historians and historiographers. History teaches, then – and no history should teach us more than the darkest times in human experience. It is difficult, albeit not impossible, to think of a darker time in the history of humanity than the period of the Second World War, which represents the apotheosis and the annihilation in short order of fascist dictatorships from Germany to Japan.

There are a few lessons to be learned from these dark chapters. One is that – contrary to a widespread misconception – dictatorships always rule against the wishes of the populations whose freedom they so violently suppress. This is simply not true: in large part, fascist dictatorships at least initially almost always come to power with the overwhelming support of enthusiastic, if deluded, “masses” of atomized individuals after periods of repression and regimentation. Societies whose solidarity has been rent asunder by the regimentation and orchestration of daily life (examples are the Nazi Gleichschaltung, Maoist and Stalinist indoctrination, and Imperial Japanese cultural disintegration of all human spontaneity) are the most eligible to fall prey to totalitarian nightmares.

Another lesson is that the first socio-political notion that totalitarian fascist dictatorships seek to obliterate is the paramount concept of “citizenship”. Essentially, fascist dictatorship seek steadfastly and tirelessly to replace the concept of “citizen” – a social member with precise written legal rights and obligations – with that of “people” – a hazy definition dependent on the charisma of the Supreme Leader or Fuhrer or Duce or Brother Number One, or whatever. By championing and propagating – indeed, brainwashing – their now-powerless erstwhile citizens into the vague imaginary elan of “the People” (das Volk, or Xi Jin Ping’s “China Dream”), fascist dictatorships turn every citizen into a potential enemy that must be eliminated, even physically if necessary.

With reference to the Chinese Dictatorship, it is clear how Xi Jin Ping and his henchmen are now proceeding to turn every member of the Chinese Empire into a real and present enemy to be suppressed. It started with Tibetans, then the Tiananmen protesters, then the Uighurs, then the Christians, then the Falun Gong, now the people of Hong Kong, next the Taiwanese – and so on and so forth.

The chief lesson to be drawn from the dark chapters of fascist totalitarianism is that fascist dictatorships - in the name of a fictitious "People" - end up incarcerating their own "citizens" and turning their countries into vast concentration camps or Lager or gulags. That is precisely what the Chinese Dictatorship is doing with Tibetans, Uighurs, Christians, dissidents, and now Hong Kongers, and next Taiwanese - and ultimately the rest of the human ecumene!

We know where this Evil originates. And we know to what catastrophe this Evil leads. We know how the story ends. Either we crush this Evil – either we slay the Han Chinese Dragon, or before long it will most surely engulf and subjugate us. Historia docet. Amen.

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