By Adam Wadley & Colin Hill
The ancient proverb “The Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend” ignores the stark reality that most conflicts are not between heroes and villains but two or more asymmetrically odious villains. As much as we love to watch underdogs take on the big bad, most of the time in global politics we are forced to watch the New York Yankees play the New England Patriots in an insufferable game that can be best described as the unholy marriage between celebrity golf and amateur cricket. So it goes with Hong Kong, the Chinese Communist party (CCP) and United States, iterating a meme war ongoing since time immemorial.
When Hong Kongers began to protest against their treatment by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), it was natural for them to appeal to Western governments and publics for moral, political, and financial support. After all, Hong Kong wants democracy, it wants a system like the West…! Right? In fact, to the extent that the movement in Hong Kong stands for the spirit of freedom, it cannot be given aid in its expression by Western powers or peoples, because the idea of freedom has died in the West. This is not to say that China is undeserving of challenge; China remains locked in the same cold global civil war waged since 1945, and it, like all powers, must be confronted in order to force the issue of misguided bureaucratic meddling.
Too often, we think that our job in interpreting the news is to figure out who is “more right,” and go all out in supporting our champions and answering for their inconsistencies. Rather, thinking must continue in a methodical procession, a dialogue of arguments, counter-arguments, and counter-counter-arguments that continues until we can make sense of our reality (or die trying). At the ordinary of political thought, we see that Hong Kong wants democracy, that United States claims to have democracy, and that the West is assembling the firing squad to crucify China on human rights. The first impulse of millions of Americans is to side against China, but crucially with United States. Our next response might be to defend China from Western criticism, making a metacognitive choice that the normal interpretation is wrong because United States is the aggressor in the situation. Thinkers, we must go further! It is necessary to engage in meta-metacognition to see that simple-mindedly agreeing or disagreeing with the dominant opinion is foolish.
At this level, we can see that United States claims to stand for democracy, and that many people believe it. At the same time, United States is the empires of public relations. For over 100 years, it has poured ungodly wealth into the project of molding its people’s minds in the most efficacious manner. By this time, the populace is so simple-minded that many are shocked to discover that just because you say you are something doesn’t mean you are it. This is an example of something that a pre-spectacular mind would grasp intuitively, but which has been lost in generalized childishness.
This is all to say that someone’s true motives can be something other than what they say they are, and that our own motivations can remain a mystery even to ourselves. It is not necessary to have one’s papers in order before one speaks to power, yet when one’s blind spots are pointed out it is proper to accept the revision, and not double down on dreary dreams of dogmatism. This is a plea not to drop criticism of China due to Western hypocrisy, but to reform Western hypocrisy if we are to have any hope of assisting the Hong Kongers, like David facing down a much larger and more powerful enemy. Indeed, most likely the project of instituting democracy for the first time will involve simultaneous engagement at a global level.
My fellow Americans, what is our station? We Americans, with our precious rights, solemn oaths to country and constitution: our littered trail of bloody corpses on the road to freedom. United States has responded to movements for increased democracy with political assassinations and systematic persecution, forced electroshock therapy and solitary confinement. The deaths of JFK, Malcolm X, MLK Jr., and RFK showed that America is a land of bloodletting of those who challenge the ruling military junta. And all this in a 5-year period! From the start, United States has operated as an oligarchical military junta, with violence directed outward in every direction to maintain the fantasy of tranquility and freedom within. The “freedom” of United States is unmasked by the misery and desperation of its people.
Those in United States are not able to see China in a disinterested manner due to the inculcation of vulgar anti-communism in the American public. This is an example of how Western dogmatism holds even the West back: in seeking protect property rights, allegedly the most sacred rite in the world, the West has endeavored to teach its children and even leaders foolish stories of the simple superiority of our system. Any wise ruler, or citizen, of any land, must consider all the ways it is possible to fall into error. To establish blinders for thought, “Communism is Evil,” is to murder the mind, and, in fact, doom the nation. No blinded nation has yet won a lasting victory.
The Red Scares in United States following the Russian revolution betray the bad conscience of the American elite. They know that they preserve human misery for personal profit; and not even absolute but relative profit. Our entire system is set up to worship the objective virtue—property—at the expense of anything timeless or sublime, simple or dignified. We see it in the non-stop glorification of the military police on monopoly propaganda outlets known as CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, in the drive to consume more and more of what is not worth eating, and feel less and less of all worth sensing. The Red Scares were great crimes, which cut down the noble and sensitive few who may have helped avert the tragedy of the last century.
This is not to say that a satisfactory communist vision has yet been articulated. Instead, it is to say that the conversation is not settled, and those who reinforce their cognitive biases with wealth and capital make themselves no more right. Illusion must give way, and cannot be forever sustained; in fact, we already have the critical mass of those uncomfortable and questioning which is the raw material of the moment. To fashion something like democracy, it is merely necessary to see the true target: not just China, Iran, or those other objectionable governments who also happen to be official enemies of the resident junta, but rather the entrenched weaponry, ignorance, and drive to control which is present in mankind.
Among us all—United States, China, and their respective publics—we constitute the Hegemony of Hypocrisy.
|United States Government||Claims to support democracy, is military junta|
|People’s Republic of China||Claims to fight oppression; is a totalitarian bureaucracy|
|United States Public||Claim to support democracy, accept servitude and ignorance and serve interests of junta by denouncing official enemies|
|Hong Kongers||Claim to want democracy, but really just pay lip service to get support from the West, don’t question injustice internal to Hong Kong|
With the talk of China’s genocide against the Uyghurs, we should note that United States treatment of its internally colonized so called black population also constitutes genocide. Enforced poverty, brutalization by internal colonial enforcers known as police, and sequestration in solitary confinement, all on the basis that “this is simply how things are.” Property relations do not simply “exist,” they are political conventions that we can challenge. The Western public has lost the stomach to acknowledge that we are, on the whole, completely subservient to a military and corporate elite which is blundering us all into extermination.
This intervention is made to try and prevent the descent into simpleminded jingoism and support for the establishment which have been the trap laid for Americans dozens of times over the years, and into which we ‘til now have ever fallen. Luckily for we Hum(a)ns, the future need not resemble the past, and we may yet dream of a better mode of life, as yet unarticulated, but eagerly waiting.
November 3, 2019