The Fifty Cents Party Training Manual

This post has been making the rounds on the intertubes, the version we’re translating comes from Anti-CNN. It’s a satirical guide for prospective Fifty Cents Party members on the many methods they can use to respond to criticism:

fifty cents

Translation

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: The duck egg next door is even worse tasting, how could you not mention this?

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Please make a constructive comment, if you’ve got talent then lay a better tasting egg yourself.

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: This egg was laid by an industrious, courageous, good, kind, honest, and upright chicken!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: It’s way better than last year’s egg.

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: You grew up [by] eating this egg, what right do you have to say it tastes bad?

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: What intentions are you harboring to make you say this?

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: You criticize the eggs that come from your own chicken, are you or are you not Chinese?

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Fuck, I suspect you are a “wheel” [liar, or probably more likely FLG member?].

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Just complaining is useless, if you have extra time you’d be better off working hard to earn money.

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Taiwanese netizen, fuck off, we don’t welcome you here.

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Aw, Youyou’s mentality is so gloomy, even has to grouse about bad-tasing eggs!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: The egg is bad because the hen who laid this egg was incited by some [bad] hens who can’t lay eggs.

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: This comment has already been screened by the moderator.

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: So China’s eggs all taste bad, and America’s eggs all taste good? Traitor!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Taiwan’s eggs are good, go there why don’t you, see if you don’t get leveled by a nuclear bomb*

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: China’s eggs can already defeat America’s eggs, be proud!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: I won’t avoid eggs from the motherland no matter how bad they are!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: You dare to say the eggs from our chicken farm taste bad? What position are you speaking from?

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Carrying a bowl to eat eggs, then putting down the chopsticks to curse, you don’t know what’s good for you, ungrateful, shameless and brazen!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Bad tasting eggs are a tiny minority, the majority of eggs are good, excellent, and stand up to testing!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: This is a small group of criminals deceiving the unaware-of-the-truth masses!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: This is having an ulterior motive and inciting [others], what are you trying to do?

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: That is a rumor, I can responsibly say that all eggs are up to quality standards!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: There is no basis to this, I hope the media can report objectively!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: I think some people’s eggs aren’t that great, our eggs are five times better!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: The correct orientation is the happiness of our chicken farm, the erroneous orientation is the misfortune of our chicken farm.

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Our chicken farm is still in the early stages, we must persist [on this course] for the next twenty years without wavering!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: We want to found a chicken farm with our own special characteristics, and have our hens lay eggs with their own special characteristics.

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Although the taste is a bit worse, it has benefits for our health, if you import an American egg without authorization, your digestive system and stomach, perhaps even your entire endocrine system, will collapse. –Leftist Scholar of Reason

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: The chicken egg tasting bad is not related to the earthquake. –Earthquake expert

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: There are hostile foreign powers gossiping about our eggs without authorization —Liu Jianchao

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Chinese chickens, come on! –Patriotic youth

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Because of the Beijing customer willfully stirring up trouble and saying the egg is bad, we have gone to the capital twice to mediate, without result. –Shanghai police

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: This is a recent rumor started by people on the internet.

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: You are part of the small minority who is unaware of the truth, how could the egg taste bad?

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: The nation is prosperous and the people are strong, why aren’t you just eating chicken meat?

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: No egg is perfect, so you have no right to gossip about this egg!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Whether eggs from the Qing dynasty tasted good or not, only people from the Qing dynasty know.

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: Think of the old society, poor people didn’t even have rice to eat, every day eating chaff and wild herbs, today’s happy life was paid for with the lives and blood of countless martyrs, you must treasure it!

Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
Response: This is the first stage of chickens laying eggs, if you want to eat good eggs you must wait until the higher stage, this early stage is a very long process.

*Not sure how to translate the last part of this sentence, “看不核平了你”. And of course, the real harmonious comment would be that the egg tastes yakexi!

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0 thoughts on “The Fifty Cents Party Training Manual”

  1. 看不核平了你 is “see if you don’t get leveled by nuclear bomb.”

    “wheel” is not exactly a “liar” — it refers to a member of a certain “evil cult” that practices by spinning a “wheel” within the body.

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  2. I think he means the Fa– wait, no blocking here. The FLG.

    Some of these just don’t even make sense.

    “Comment: This chicken egg tastes disgusting.
    Response: Whether eggs from the Qing dynasty tasted good or not, only people from the Qing dynasty know.”

    …what?

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  3. @ ewn: Ah. I looked up internet slang definitions of 轮子, and got like 40 different answers, but if it’s a reference to FLG that would explain why no one was directly saying that…also thanks for the other sentence, I will edit it!

    @ Josh: Yeah I’m not really sure about that one either.

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  4. I dont know who wrote it, but it sounds more like mocking MeiFen dang than WuMao dang, as the never stop-“This chicken egg tastes disgusting.” indicates.

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  5. @ Wahahah: So you think someone wrote this entire thing just to make fun of the so-called meifen dang with “This chicken egg tastes disgusting”? Come on. You know there’s no way that’s true.

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  6. Custer,

    No, this guy didnt realize that when he wrote that repeatly.

    Actually, the egg does taste badly, he was right on that. But he never try to erase the worries, that is the problem he has never and will never want to face or answer.

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  7. Well, it’s nice to see the post from Anti-CNN, thanks for your attention. I am a translator from anti-cnn who has been doing this for one year. My ID for Chinese Geeks is exactly same on Anti-cnn. I have translated responding of your post “Without the GFW, Could China Win Western Public Opinion?” which is translated by you or your users. http://bbs.anti-cnn.com/thread-221263-1-2.html

    Amm… the article translated by C. Custer is interesting one, and there is other one called 民主精英速成法(A quick fix of democratic elite)http://bbs.anti-cnn.com/thread-224066-1-1.html which is opposite attitude of “elite” in China.

    The reason you can see such a critical post is ACers are opening to criticize or blame which we called objective.

    Hope C. Custer could translate the post i provide , otherwise i will do that.

    It’s nice to have political debate through internet but i wish it could be objective.

    I believe there is no such a country which could be justified either US or China, but fact is that no country should be blamed for what they did, whatever Iraq War or Internet Controlling. US has a really advanced propaganda tech which China doesn’t have, China have half of the world as enemies that US doesn’t’ because of our “socialism with Chinese Characterized.” It’s clear for me that who are stronger or weaker, but the core is that no such a country which is justice. We are fighting to survive for the limited natural resources of earth, there is no significant necessity to be justified as a human being.

    You may disagree with my attitude, but there are amount of people who are thinking like me, some of them are American, some of them are Chinese.

    So, when Americans gone crazy with Winter Olympic, there is an operation is going on on the other side of earth. Civilian got suffered but there is no such a western media stands out and criticize at least as i know. Propaganda is an art, it’s not something amoral or unmoral. In my perspective, the difference of propaganda issue between China and America is US did better. What western media doing is to justify blowing civilian up from thousands meter high is more glory than the suicide bomb.

    Let’s talk about democracy, i believe “democracy with Chinese characterized” is essential requirement of Chinese society but not the American democracy which is diffused around the world by cultural, economic or military imperialism which i learned from education of America(i study abroad). Those words of “imperialism” are taught by American teacher are demonstrating what America is doing all around the world.

    World peace is like a bad joke which makes people hard to laugh at, but it is the world we live in. Dirty but clean, moral and unmoral, what you can do with it? just go and take a break. China is only could be changed by Chinese people who honored their blood, same thing to America. I am glad that there is connection between two countries, although it doesn’t really change anything, haha.

    新年快乐

    PS. I study abroad.

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  8. @ Wrath, yeah that looks good, we’ll translate that one too when I get a minute.

    As for the rest of your comment, I’m not sure I follow what you’re saying. Specifically, what does being “justified as a human being” mean?

    As for the rest of it, sounds like realpolitik pragmatism, which I’ve always felt was bullshit. China and America have both done bad things, limited resouces, blah blah blah. Doing the right thing is always hard, whether it’s in China or the US or wherever. And there’s no stupider thing to waste our time talking about than “which is better” when we could be helping other people.

    Happy to hear you studied abroad. Where?

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  9. Sorry about my bad expressing ability, i am trying to say that we can not justify or blame national action by sample principles or attitude of a citizen or human beings.
    I study in America, i understand your attitude of realpolitik pragmatism, it sounds like a bullshit but it has been used by those big names, what can we say about that?

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  10. @ C. Custer,

    Why is that you feel justified in defining your own version of political nihilism as absolutely “right”? If there’s one thing my experiences outside China has taught me, it’s the dangers of moral absolutism, something at least half the population in the West seems absolutely intoxicated with. To be fair, a fair amount of Chinese people seem to suffer from this condition too, but I usually have trouble distinguishing amoral pragmatism with moral absolutism, so I’ll shut up before I offend somebody

    Whether you like it or not, there isn’t usually such a thing as “morality” between states; that is reserved for interpersonal interactions. Just as most capitalists, the concept of “interest” is the only thing that has ever been negotiable between states.

    For an example, let’s take a look at medieval Europe, the height of self-righteous blind moral absolutism in the form of religious zealotry, all in the name of the Christian God. It goes without saying that Rome, being the religious leader of all of Christendom (now known as the “Free World”), held an immense amount of power over Western and Central Europe. What’s interesting here is that this power wasn’t held by indoctrinating the rulers; it had a much more grass-roots orientation in that it had the ability to excommunicate any ruler that dare disobey the Church of Rome, and either allow the religious masses to remove them, or allow other states to use said excommunication as a pretext for an invasion. Thus, the rulers of Europe obeyed; not out of simple faith and admiration of what the Church of Rome stood for, but rather out of self-interest. In fact, given the ease with which many more recent kings switched easily between Anglicanism, Catholicism, and other branches of Christianity, I’d say they weren’t admiring the Catholic ideals at all.

    I see a parallel of the history above in the way today’s America behaves, except that instead of forcing obedience, America (and the West, represented by America) is using its ideological monopoly to exert its influence directly on members of other states. It has the ability, to use a metaphor, to excommunicate other states from the Church of Democracy, and it’s certainly not being particularly careful with this power, let alone use it to advance the goals of the Western liberalist position. Not that I approve of that particular goal, but you should be aware that your zeal isn’t being used in the “right” (as you define it) way either.

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  11. @ chaji: You’ve completely misunderstood what I meant by “right”. Ten points for the assumption that all Americans are democracy zealots, though! Actually, I don’t believe in moral absolutism OR in “democracy for everyone” imperialism. I do believe, though, that in any given situation there is right, wrong, and shades of gray therein.

    My problem with realpolitik is that it is a philosophy of hopelessness. ‘People are selfish, so let’s not even try, we’ll just fight to see who can be the most selfish.’ People certainly are selfish, but great things and great kindnesses have happened when people aspire to more than just serving their own interests.

    In this regard, I like to think of Lu Xun: pessimistic, but not hopeless.

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  12. in any given situation there is right, wrong, and shades of gray therein.
    ______________________________________

    Right and wrong is not determined in the process, it is judged by the results.

    Otherwise America did wrong things to send millions of soldiers into WWII as everyone knew it meaned hundreds of thousands of them would die.

    When you put your morality above the results, you are moral absolutism.

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  13. Nonsense. I would say America did the right thing. They sacrificed many American lives, yes, but for the greater good. In fact, America’s mistake was acting too slowly. If we had entered the war earlier, perhaps millions of lives could have been saved, especially if we had put any effort or emphasis on liberating the Nazi death camps.

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  14. @ C. Custer,

    So I take it you’re defining the *direct* maximization of human happiness as “good”? Even that cannot be taken to be universal.

    I see a certain amount of blind optimism and naïveté in your posts, in that you seem to truly believe modern Western liberalism is somehow the “correct” way of human development.

    Allow me to quote you:

    “I do believe, though, that in any given situation there is right, wrong, and shades of gray therein.”

    I don’t know whether you realize this, but this is precisely the definition of moral absolutism – that there exists a moral standard (usually your own), with which all situations can be judged to arrive at a definite, universally true conlusion

    Thus, you define the developmental history of all human cultures to be on a straight line, and the line has two ends: absolute good, and absolute bad. And on this line, it would seem, that the Western world had moved the farthest away from the absolute bad end, and is currently the closest to the absolute good end.

    Is it at all imaginable to you that much of Chinese traditional culture teaches the eradication of the individual will, and submission to the organization, be it the clan, the locality, or the state as represented by the Emperor? Is it at all acceptable that for thousands of years, this was (and to a large degree, still is) defined as “good” within Chinese society? Can you manage to stop yourself from judging this by modern liberalist standards?

    It’s ok if you can’t; I know many Chinese people suffering the same condition, except regarding modern liberalism

    As for the Nazis, remember this quotation from 柴玲:

    “同学们老在问,我们下一步要干什么,我们能达到什么要求。我心里觉得很悲哀,我没办法告诉他们,其实我们期待的就是,就是流血。就是让政府最后,无赖至极的时候它用屠刀来对着它的公民。我想,也只有广场血流成河的时候,全中国的人才能真正擦亮眼睛。”

    I’ve known people that think it’s a good thing Hitler decided to kill millions of Jews, because it managed to show the world the evils of Nazism and Fascism, from which Nazism evolved. But given that Nazism and Fascism are not well-defined to begin with (many would argue that there’s no way to define them at all), why would they view it as intrinsically evil to begin with?

    In my view, this is the result of political and social indoctrination of a people by themselves: they have been blinded, made confident, by the many “advances” they have made in the past few centuries. The government would then use it as the justification for pragmatic actions taken in national or personal interests, as you must realize by now, to gather support from the populace.

    The quotation from 柴玲 above shows the precise nature of such indoctrination (I assume here that she truly believed it) – that political and philosophical Westernization is, if not inevitable, is “correct” for all of humanity, and “should” be carried out. Having listened to Voice of America and Radio Free Asia in the past, I have no doubts at all that such views are common, if not universal, in the Western world.

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  15. No, I think what’s good or right depends on the situation. I don’t actually think that there are absolutes in the way you describe them (hence my “shades of gray” in the original comment), but I do think there are moral judgements that transcend cultural background. For example, let’s say you have a two-year-old son, and I murder him for no reason and in cold blood. Is the judgement of that action as “wrong” impacted by culture at all? What culture wouldn’t condemn such an action?

    In that sense, there are moral absolutes. But with that said, most issues are much grayer. Not all situations can be judged by one set of standards — each situation is different. There is, ultimately, a right and a wrong, but the set of standards may change based on the situation (situation here includes a lot of things, culture among them). Depending on the situation, I might judge the same thing differently if it happened in the US vs. in China, and I think that’s wholly appropriate. That’s what I was saying the original post, but since you seem to have understood my meaning to be that all situations can be judged by a single standard, I’ll say it again.

    And, of course, you assume that I consider Western cultures to be superior and assume that I know nothing about Chinese traditional culture. Actually, I’d venture to guess I know more about certain aspects of Chinese traditional philosophy than you do, but that’s probably not a productive avenue of discussion.

    In fact, in ancient times the traditional Chinese group-first thinking makes a lot of sense from a “greater good” standpoint. China is a huge territory, and historically speaking, submission to tyranny was often less harmful to the populace at large than the periods of turmoil that resulted when people didn’t submit (of course, it’s a much more complicated balance than that, but I’m not going to write a book about it here). The same argument can, of course, still be made today, and it isn’t without merit.

    VoA and RfA are propaganda tools. They don’t represent the average American’s views any more than the People’s Daily editorials represent Chinese people’s views. Generally speaking, the average Westerner knows very little about China, and cares even less than he knows.

    As for my naiveté, well, it’s a thin line between naivete and hope, but if at times I cross that line, I still prefer that to being jaded 🙂

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  16. @ C. Custer,

    I must say, the murdering children example is a very interesting one. From an emotional perspective, no, I cannot personally judge it to be wrong. Unlike you, however, I do not exclude the possibility of a culture out there somewhere being supportive of such practices.

    Speaking of which, ever heard of human sacrifices? That’s certainly killing for “no reason and in cold blood” from a modern Western standpoint.

    I suppose you could still hang onto your own ethical standard, and refer to such practices as inhumane, which I agree on a personal level, but I doubt those who practice human sacrifices will agree with you, yes? That would be precisely the problem I was refering to earlier.

    My point, to describe it clearly, is for people to see that their views regarding what’s “right” and what’s “wrong” are usually only valid when viewed from their own specific perspectives, be it specific to a single person or a group.

    Chinese people have, for the most part, have realized this. This shows through as pragmatism both economically, as occasionally unrestrained capitalism, and politcally, as realpolitik. I don’t know if you see this the same way as me, but bonds forged out of common interest are far, far more stable than those of ideology. The history of the Eastern Bloc and the CIS, I believe, illustrates this fact perfectly.

    As for VoA and RFA, I find that the mainstream attitude (not in the media, for that is mostly prolefeed anyway) in the population at large to very closely resembles the religious fundamentalist attitude they exhibit. In other words, most people seem to have internalized the goal of the universalization of Western values to such a degree that they treat it as a universal axiom upon which all their arguments are based. I hope you can see why that’s a problem…

    About your naiveté… I think of all theories as mental models for approximating the real workings of the universe. So far, the model based on interest has performed far, far better than the one based on ideology. Don’t you think that, just because one makes you feel better, does not make it more valid?

    And I find it a little insulting that you believe I don’t think you possess any knowledge regarding Chinese culture and traditions. It seems almost as if you’re trying to fit me into a particular stereotype to make it easier to discount my arguments. If you wish, please address my arguments as they are.

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  17. My apologies. When you wrote “is it at all imaginable to you…” you implied that I hadn’t, even in my wildest dreams, imagined that Chinese traditional society was the way it was. It certainly gave me a pretty strong impression you were assuming I was ignorant, since you didn’t seem to think I was even capable of imagining it, let alone knew it already.

    As for the murder scenario, yes, certainly there are some cultures that would be OK with it in the context of a sacrifice, but I’m not sure any of them exist at this point. Anyway, that wasn’t the question. I’m saying what if I, right now, fly to wherever you live and murder your son. Is there a culture that actually exists (not hypothetical) that would be OK with that? I would say there isn’t, so there are some moral issues we can all agree on.

    To diverge a bit, I wonder what makes “common interest” any less hard to pin down than varying moral perspectives? What’s in Chinese people’s interests, for example, varies greatly depending on whether you ask a party member, a farmer from Anhui, a Tibetan, a foreign student studying in the US, or whatever.

    Additionally, while I agree that models based on “common interest” have been successful in some cases, but they generally still need to be limited by a greater moral guideline of some kind to be of much use anyway (look at the recent US economic crash as an example of what unbridled self-interest in the short term can do long term…). This is as true in China as it is anywhere else; Chinese policies are not all purely pragmatic or based on interest.

    A system based on “common interest” serves those interests more easily and effectively than any other system, but historically speaking, it generally leaves people out. China is a good example. If everyone in China felt their interests were being served, I suspect there would be fewer riots. The advantage of a system that takes morality or at least humanity into account is that, in theory, it doesn’t leave anyone out. In practice, it’s obviously much harder to create that kind of system, and the best system is probably something of a balance between the two. But pure realpolitik is good for the people in control (they serve their own interests) and bad for other people.

    That said, I would also say that the way nations exist and respond to each other has changed so drastically over the past 50 years with the advent of all this communication and transit technology, there’s really not enough data for either of us to say “this system is better” because all we have are pretty short-term results, the long term is still up in the air…

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  18. I’m an engineering student, not a philosophical, anthropological, or history student, so there’s really not much I can tell you about existing cultures, but given the existence of older civilizations that had once practiced human sacrifice, it would be absurd to suggest that it is, by any means, “inferior” according to some universal standard.Such practices were ended in Europe only by the Christianized Roman Empire (please don’t argue that Christianity is more advanced than pagan religions…) because it was in opposition to Christian standards, and most of the cultures that had been observed to practice human sacrifice in recent history, such as the native American empires and in sub-Saharan Africa, were forced to stop such behaviors by imperialistic (or missionary, not that there’s usually a difference) Europeans.

    If you really want to make the argument that the above example only shows the superiority of the Western philosophical system, then you’re essentially reducing the definition of “advancement” in culture to 2 things:

    1. the ability to produce better consumer products. Note that this does not necessarily bring a sufficient amount of happiness to the people that constitute the culture (unless you make the consumerist argument so often used in the study of business and economics, but that’s a hard-to-defend position). Note that this would also include advances in medicine.

    2. the ability to make better weapons.
    The above 2 characteristics of Western culture are really the only ones that were used in the destruction of indigenously developed cultures. If you want to argue that they’re exactly what makes a superior culture, then I’m afraid you’re not all that different from the rest of democracy-crazed Americans.

    I offer a different definition of “better” for a culture – stability.

    As with any biological organism, I think, any organization as large as a culture or a country, as governed by a state, is to maintain homeostasis. Imagine what the world would be like if your body suddenly defined a higher acidity to be a universally good characteristic! Or your leukocytes suddenly decided to go the “multicultural” route and stopped destroying foreign intruders! That would’t be a pretty sight.

    To observe the “better”ness of a culture, then, only requires one to observe the amount of time during which it does not change. As with the theory of evolution, which posits that during steps of gradual evolution, the current “version” of a species is always the MOST well-adapted to its surroundings, if a culture stopped evolving or “progress”ing, that does not mean it’s stagnating or “falling behind”; that merely means it’s reached a point of equilibrium, from which it does not need to deviate to keep itself from falling apart.

    Of course, this equilibrium is not necessarily the point of most happiness. However, it should be obvious that at this point of equilibrium, the different interests within the organization are balanced against each other. Giving one group more power, however that may be permitted from a modern liberalist perspective, upsets this balance. And as we know, whenever the delicate oscial balance is disturbed within a country, the sheer loss of happiness (or utility, if you really want to use that word) is just about never worth it.

    It seems to me that even though you’re not particularly fanatical when it comes to the political system, you’re still quite convinced of the philosophical ideas of “freedom” and “personal choice”. I believe that these ideas are not up to us to decide on a theoretical level, but rather up to the entire culture, including its leaders and people, to decide through its subconscious choices, with minimal outside influence.

    This is, I should point out, why I was talking about leaving entire continents alone and letting their inhabitants sort out their own problems in another argument a couple of weeks back. Not only does it benefit the countries that stay out of potential conflicts, but it also allows entire cultures to find the aforementioned point of equilibrium for themselves.

    Allow me to use a maybe-not-so-appropriate example to illustrate my point:

    I’m just some random guy. Let’s say my name is Jeff. I am then Jeff. Associated with this name are my physical characteristics, my DNA code, my habits, etc etc. Also, let’s say I’m a very nerdy person who doesn’t work out much, who likes to stay at home and read books during his spare time. The muscles on my body would not be particularly developed, because I simply don’t make use of them.

    Now, let’s imagine that we took a cell off from Arnold Schwartzenegger (Ahnold from this point on), and used it to clone an entire insanely muscular arm of Ahnold. We then chopped off Jeff’s, arm, and mounted Ahnold’s insanely muscular arm onto Jeff.

    The arm is an analogy for a political or philosophical system, and the person is an analogy for a culture or a state, in case you haven’t noticed.

    What would happen then? Well, the most likely outcome is for the body’s immune system to simply reject the new arm, and destroy it over the course of a few days, weeks, or months. A political example would be the short-lived democratic attempt of the Republic of China.

    What if the immune system was weakened by drugs (destroying the cultural resistance through military action, assimilation, or Westernization), and the arm was forcibly made to stay? Well, it wouldn’t be particularly well-used, since the host human is simply not accustomed to a different arm. I, Jeff, wouldn’t benefit from Ahnold’s strength at all, even though the potential is there. A political example would be India, with its rampant corruption and ridiculous inefficiency despite its “superior” political system. One might even say that they’ve used the arm to masturbate instead of doing something a little more productive.

    But what if, in the best-case scenario, Jeff’s body adopts the arm as its own? It is not rejected by the immune system, AND it’s integrated into the usual lifestyle of the owner? Well, the arm would then slowly reduce its muscle mass, as most guys notice at some point in their lives, and eventually becomes just as weak as Jeff’s old arm. The host would then not benefit from the new arm at all. A political example would be Singapore, which appears Western at first glance, but as you must realize by now it really isn’t.

    As for the case of murder: although I am not aware of the existence of such a culture that permits random murders, this is because murders a “bad” for a pragmatic reason – it hinders population growth, and is against human emotions to do so. I may even hypothesize that all branches of human cultures that accepted random killings have disappeared precisely they’ve killed themselves into disappearance, and only the ones that do not accept random murders remain.

    That still does not, however, legitimize an ethical judgement on the topic of random murders.

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  19. You’re the only one who’s talking about the so-called superiority of Western philosophical system…I never mentioned or suggested any such thing.

    As for the arm analogy, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. For example, the Republic of China didn’t fail because “democracy” was rejected by the “antibodies” of Chinese culture, it failed because there was no democracy in the first place, just a ruthless warlord and then, after him, more ruthless, regionally distributed warlords. To adopt your arm metaphor for a moment, it’s like they attached Arnold’s arm with scotch tape — when it falls off, is it fair to blame the host body?

    Similarly, I don’t buy your equilibrium/evolution argument at all, because evolutionarily, species DO fail to evolve and die out, all the time! Sometimes not changing indicates a state of equilibrium (see crocodiles or sharks) but more often it indicates that a species is not long for this earth. Cultures can and do suffer the same fate. Look at many of the smaller rainforest tribe societies, for example. When confronted with modernity, they generally either retreat further into the forest (staving off the inevitable) or their culture is completely destroyed by it.

    I do understand your point — cultures are best at working things out for themselves. In some circumstances, I agree, but in others, I think we have a duty as humans to help other people. Certainly, were I living in a region engaged in genocide, for example, I would want other countries to step in and stop it, I’ll worry about whether the “progress” of my culture is internally or externally motivated after I feel safe.

    I don’t buy that cultural prohibition against murder is purely practical either. If it is prohibited only because it inhibits population growth, then shouldn’t murder be sanctioned; nay, encouraged in China? Given the gender imbalance, from a practical standpoint, it would make sense for the government to promote and encourage some sort of “duel” system where males could formally challenge each other and fight to the death. Yet murder is illegal in China. What is the practical reason? If it’s all just based on national interest, shouldn’t they legalize it, decrease the male population to the point where the gender imbalance evens out, kill off some of the old people to solve the ageing population issue, and then make it illegal? Certainly, such a solution would be MUCH faster and more efficient than the current population control policies, which are slow and difficult to enforce. Perhaps, rather than encouraging civilians to murder each other, the government could hold a sort of “death lottery”, or begin executing criminals for increasingly minor offenses, or enforce a mandatory “death age”?

    Obviously, these are all terrifying suggestions, but from the standpoint of national interest, don’t they make sense? Aside from the people who are killed, these kinds of policies would benefit everyone, right?

    Honestly, are you really arguing that humanity can’t even agree that randomly murdering someone is a bad thing?

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  20. I’d really like to know how you’re doing the italics. Does BBcode work here? Or is it a special admin-only feature?

    My point regarding the equilibrium argument is that cultures that fail to adapt to its environment naturally dies out as part of regional cultural equilibrium, not just an intra-cultural one. Unlike the globalization of today, for the past few thousand years, most cultures have been local in nature, and thus are far better suited for dealing with the other cultures with which it had been in contact for countless centuries. Through long periods of cultural interactions, possibly violent, they learn to deal with each other in a much more effective manner than seen in today’s global cultural conflicts. If we leave a particular region to its own devices, it’s inevitable that at some point, a maintainable equilibrium will be reached. And if the existing cultures fail to accomplish this, then either new ones will come into existence, or other cultures within the region will take over. This is a very natural process; as natural as biological evolution. In fact, this is the only way for cultures to grow.

    Just a sidenote: some would probably counter with the argument that according to me, there’s no point in saving the panda, the polar bear, the tigers, etc etc. But the fact is, these animals form an important link in the natural food chain, the destruction of which could have massive effects on human civilization. Thus, from a pragmatic perspective, there is a point to their continued existence.

    The warlordism observed throughout ROC’s history is precisely my point – Chinese people are, by cultural heritage, used to having an Emperor-like figure. This isn’t “better” or “worse” – it’s just a style of thinking. Thus, warlords rise and fall. Thus, Chiang could rule with an iron fist. Thus, Yuan Shikai could declare himself the Emperor – only to fail and have the KMT become what he had dreamed to be. The deification of Mao during the Cultural Revolution is only an extension of this habit.

    A little aside: certain “民运” ‘tards seem to like the concept of modifying Chinese culture for the sake of adopting Western culture. I think they’re missing the point in that cultures are not altered to fit the requirements of specific political systems; political systems are altered to fit the requirements of specific cultures.

    As for the murder thing, I am personally very against randomly killing other people. However, I oppose killing other people not because it’s wrong, but because *I think* it’s wrong. I recognize and respect the possibility that others may not think in the same way as I do, something many others seem to be incapable of.

    Furthermore, even from a pragmatic perspective, can you imagine the amount of flak the Chinese government would get if it legalized dueling? If it legalized random murders? It should be pretty obvious that such actions would also cause massive internal upheavals (such things were never really legal, although sometimes tolerated, even during the Imperial times), so even if we were to discount external pressure, illegalizing such activities is only the self-stabilizing and self-preservation mechanism of a culture at work, as opposed to some universal principle that people are mysteriously born with, like the Christian sin.

    Remember Qin Shihuang and his Legalism? Extreme measures only ever make sense if you don’t factor in the reactions of other people, after which they make absolutely no sense.

    So humanity can definitely agree that none of us wants to see people being randomly murdered, but no, I really don’t think humanity should be able to make the conclusion that murdering someone is a “bad” thing. Unless of course, you define ethics to be purely social in its formation. That would, however, make you a moral relativist, something you don’t seem to identify yourself with.

    I should point out that I am only saying what is, rationally, the most effective approaches for maximizing interest of a country, of a culture, etc etc. It does not mean I want to be subjected to the consequences of those ideas being put into action. It’s just like how many of us can support capitalism, yet none of us want to become bankrupt, an unavoidable consequence of capitalism. Hypocrisy? Hardly.

    The study of economics was once referred to as the “dismal science” because it posits that human suffering is an unavoidable part of the boom-and-bust cycle. I have nothing against giving the same label to anthropology.

    One more thing: many biologists believe that our success today is built on the suffering and eventual utter destruction, at our hands, of the Neanderthals. Just throwing it out there.

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  21. Oh, I don’t know how much internal pressure it would cause. You don’t think the CCP could successfully sell some kind of euthanasia policy? I admit random murders is a tough sell, stability wise, but I bet they could enforce a “death age” and capital punishment for minor crimes. After all, they were able to sell the one child policy in a culture with thousands of years of 多子多福 ingrained.

    Of course ethics come from society…where else would they come from? If the whole world can agree we don’t want to see random murders, doesn’t that mean they’re “bad”?

    Anyway, I still think there’s more to it than just interest, because there is a natural emotional reaction that people have to these things. Confucius said that even if a hardened criminal saw a baby falling into a well, he would at least feel a twinge of pity, even if he didn’t try to save the baby and there was no external visible change (yes, I am paraphrasing liberally). I tend to agree with him on that count, I think that in the case of some actions, there is a natural human emotional reaction that people from all cultures share (people with mental problems aside). Culture changes our actual reactions, i.e., how we respond in society, but I believe that we all feel something similar when presented with some situations, and those feelings are the basis of a human ethics of sorts.

    Anyway, I have the feeling we’re approaching the “agree to disagree” point here, but you can make italics (links, bold, blockquotes, etc.) using HTML code. For italics, it’s whatever you want to type (remove the spaces).

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  22. Hm, I figured the birth control policy was more desperation than anything else. The Chinese government’s always been more reactive than proactive, so if the day comes when a significant amount of random murdering is taking place, it would probably manage to find a channel for people to get what they wanted.

    As a sidenote, a massive gender imbalance worse than what’s seen today could very easily be used to raise the social status of Chinese women. One generation would be screwed, yes, but after that, I’d imagine the gender imbalance to fix itself. The supply-and-demand analogy works pretty well here, I think.

    My comment on emotions is that while most people I know share the same set of emotions, we must be accomodating of those that do not. Thus, while it is possible for a group of people whose members do not like random murders to declare that random murders shall not be done among themselves, it is impossible for this group of people to make the same declaration on a universal level. Others must arrive at this conclusion independent of outside influence.

    But yes, you’re right that we’re getting to the point where arguing is pointless. I’ll move on.

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  23. Nonsense. I would say America did the right thing.
    ____________________________________

    Yes, it is nonsense to say America did wrong things entering the WWII.

    and it is also nonsense to keep your eyes on several dozens of people while ignoring the misery of millions of people.

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