I don't understand all this 'social media' lark like Facebook, Twitter, Texting and such like. As far as I am concerned it all began - and ended - with blogging. The world of 'Blogdom' sums up the entire human condition - it is mostly a heap of shit but here and there can be glimpsed a gleam of gold! As you can guess, you are about to be told of my latest 'gold find'. It comes via one of my very oldest favourites, Samizdata, which has been bookmarked by me from my earliest blogging days although recently, for no known reason, I have failed to visit as often as I was wont to do - my bad! Anyway, my fault was nearly my loss because I almost missed a link to another interesting site called Not PC: promoting capitalist acts between consenting adults which had the sort of blogpost I love, one in which my lazy, gut-based re-action to events is forced to reconsider.
Written under a pseudonym it is concerend with the recent pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. To be honest, I didn't give that much of my attention to it except generally to wish the students well and hope they had the intelligence not to push the authorities too far. As it happens, both sides behaved themselves and the result has been, er, zilch, nought and nothing - but at least no-one died. However, 'Suzuki Samurai', the pseudonymous post-writer has forced me not so much to rethink but to actually start to think!
He begins by reminding us of, er, the 'rules of the great game':
Wasn't it easy a few years back to see who were the good guys and who were the bad guys? Our team were the free(r) societies. Their team, the dictatorships. Or another way of saying: capitalists vs communists. The Hong Kong/PRC & West/East German borders were the front lines in an ideological battle (which at close range must have seemed like an imminent fighting battle).
We in the West proclaimed that what set us apart were free speech, free movement, free(ish) markets,rule of law and democratic elections; and while not the whole truth it’s still mostly true.
I have emphasised the "mostly" because this very acute writer points out that Hong Kong doesn't really quite fit - again with my emphasis added:
I say mostly in this context because rich, prosperous, flourishing Hong Hong had all those attributes except the last: democratic elections.
Yep, it turns out no elections were necessary in a society based on the sound principles of low taxes, low regulation, free movement, and rule of law – it made them rich extraordinarily quickly. Who'd want to vote that away? Well quite a few folk if elections around the world are any indication.
That, since the discreet, 'behind the damask' rule of the late and very great, Sir James Cowperthwaite, has been the guiding ethos behind Hong Kong's extraordinary growth and prosperity. The last thing Hong Kong needs now is rule by a bunch of local, busybody semi-socialists. Beijing recognises a good thing when they see it and they will sit quietly and allow HK to flourish provided no-one rocks the political boat.
To put a dystopian slant on it (no pun intended), if you were a Hong Konger then ask yourself which would you prefer if these not impossible choices confronted you:
- A Beijing mandated official is 'elected' and keeps the freest economy in the world as it is,
- A freely, democratically elected socialist comes to power and starts to turn Hong Kong into a regulated, highly taxed, welfare state?
Yeeeeees, quite, see what I mean, it makes you think, don't it? Just gotta lurve Blogdom, aintcha?