Belmont Club

Small freedoms

Sometimes attitudes are formed imperceptibly, in a manner so slow that we don’t recognize that our values are actually changing. Take the Chinese. In the early 1990s, a person I know who visited a bicycle factory as a journalist was accused by the Public Security Bureau of being a spy.  A decade later, Breitbart TV has this video of a Chinese bureaucrat being stopped by restaurant patrons after he tried to molest an 11 year old girl at a restaurant. The man turned out to be a member of the Communist Party of China and although the police refused to detain him for lack of direct evidence, he was later sacked after

heated discussion among many online communities after a surveillance video clip from the restaurant was uploaded. The video showed the 11-year-old girl helping 58-year-old Lin as he asked her to guide him to the men’s room in the lobby of Xinmeiyuan Restaurant in Shenzhen around 8:40pm last Wednesday.

My conjecture is that the people were empowered by two things: first, the sense of self-worth that comes from not being an employee of the government; and second, the information revolution created by the Internet. Self-worth gave the girl’s family the confidence to keep the representative of the Vanguard of the Proletariat from leaving the restaurant. Communications created the possibility of multiplying the outrage. That’s why any significant increase in dependence on the government and censorship of the Internet is dangerous. The Chinese people may now be discovering the value of freedom which the West is beginning to forget, maybe even in Philly, about which Jonah Goldberg says:

Some very vexed liberal readers want to know what I’m trying to say with the video posted [above]. Truth be told I am not trying to say anything too profound. The video is making the rounds and I thought it was interesting and even newsworthy. I think the “security” workers are sort of lame. Clearly, Obama needs to beef up funding on that civilian security force he keeps talking about. But spare me the indignation about racism this and racism that. I can guarantee you that if two similarly thuggish white “security” workers for McCain were hanging around to guard against “enemy sabatoge” the Josh Marshall crowd would be screaming bloody murder about voter intimidation, the return of Jim Crow and all the rest.

Takeaway: know how to use that cell phone camera in an inconspicuous way and how to upload a video. Which brings us to YouTube and then to Google, but that’s the topic of my next post.


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