Assange? China? It’s not rocket science!

20 Dec

In her blog post six days ago, Caitlin Johnstone wrote:

The most powerful regime on the planet imprisoning a journalist for journalistic activity is as brazen and obvious an act of tyranny as you could possibly come up with, and yet you still get pseudo-left pundits acting like you’re some kind of weird freak for expecting them to oppose it.

The Assange issue is not actually complicated. The most powerful government in the world is trying to extradite a journalist and try him under the Espionage Act for exposing its war crimes. It is that simple. This isn’t some super complex subject that you defer to the experts on.

That’s one of the things that’s so frustrating about this case. It’s such a blatant abuse of government power that virtually everyone would normally be ideologically opposed to it, but because there’s been so much media spin on it for so long people don’t see it.

Don’t imprison journalists for exposing the truth. I mean, like, duh. This should really be such a mainstream issue that fringey types like myself would see no need to focus on it, and if the media environment wasn’t being so despicably manipulated it would be.

Atypically inelegant, Caitlin, that last sentence. Otherwise, I couldn’t agree more.


“Of course there’s a lot of propaganda about China, but it’s still definitely a threat.”

“How do you know that?”

“Oh my god dude, it’s all over the news!”

In the same post, Caitlin goes on to another issue which should be a no brainer but, for reasons of media corruption, isn’t. Just a week earlier a left leaning intellectual I’ve known for decades had emailed to assure me that “China isn’t blameless”.

There are two ways of interpreting such a remark. Either the bar is being set so preposterously high as to make the statement bizarrely redundant – like me announcing, apropos of nothing, that fire engines tend to be red whereas oranges are more commonly orange – or it’s liberal-speak:

I believe everything the Guardian and BBC tell me about China, haven’t time or inclination to question it but, in a show of leftish even-handedness, will adopt a stance of “a plague on both their houses”. And if such lazy moral equivalence can’t withstand a modicum of hard scrutiny, so what? It seldom has to.

Since I lean toward the second interpretation, I found Caitlin’s words equally apposite on this subject too.

China is far, far better than the US. That doesn’t mean China is awesome, it just means the US is far, far worse than anyone else in terms of tyranny and destructiveness. Working to destroy any population which disobeys you anywhere in the world makes you worse than anyone else.

The only reason nobody seems to recognize this in the west is because the US has such phenomenally excellent global narrative control. If it didn’t, the entire world would’ve laughed when the butchers of the Middle East started pretending to care about Muslims in Xinjiang.

People will respond to this by saying things like, “China is more oppressive domestically, US is more oppressive abroad.” But nothing China is doing domestically is anywhere remotely as bad as what the US is doing abroad. Nothing China is currently doing rises to the level of the US killing millions and displacing tens of millions just since the turn of this century in still-ongoing military operations.

This is an unassailably correct position; there exist no robust arguments to the contrary. The only reason people experience so much cognitive dissonance whenever I say this is because so few step all the way back and look at the big picture of our present reality as it currently exists.

Maintaining an awareness of the indisputable fact that the US is by far the most destructive government on earth gives you a much clearer perspective in our current media environment, because you see that it’s always vastly worse than 100 percent of the governments it tries to demonize.

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