A Thirtieth Anniversary the World is Preparing to Forget
June 4th, thirty years ago, the Chinese Communist Party annihilated hundreds of people who were protesting for their freedom against one of the most vicious, soulless, and diabolically clever governments in human history. The regime’s viciousness and soullessness may be verified in death tallies, for those who need quantitative evidence of the true meaning of progressive authoritarianism. The diabolical cleverness is revealed in the continued existence, and deepening stranglehold, of the Communist Party in China, given that 1989, the year of the Tiananmen Square massacre, was also the year the Berlin wall fell, signaling the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. One communist nightmare was shaken to its foundations by failure and international humiliation. The other found brilliant means of retrenching, reforming its superficial appearance among the Chinese people, and making short-term compromises on communist economic principles in order to create a softer, more comfortable noose with which to choke the life — that is, the will to self-determination — out of the world’s largest population.
It is worth noting, and considering with full sobriety, that Donald J. Trump, who plays the leader of the free world in a very hokey and laughably unrealistic reality television show these days, has openly praised the Chinese government’s murderous crackdown on the brave protesters of Tiananmen Square, saying, “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak.” [Emphasis added.]
As Patterico pithily observes, referring to Trump’s defenders:
Some extraordinarily dishonest hacks have claimed that is not praise, pointing to the use of the words “vicious” and “horrible.” The kindest thing you could possibly say about such people is that they should never be taken seriously about anything. Ever. The rest of us can read. We are not stupid and, unlike these sycophants, we are not liars.
There is an important moral lesson to be drawn from that accurate assessment of the Trump cult’s defense of their idol’s moral lassitude: What makes disasters like Tiananmen Square possible, and possible to survive for the perpetrators, is the willingness of mankind’s followers, believers in a regime, adherents to a leader or an “ideal,” to lie about what they have seen, and what they are seeing — to lie to themselves most of all. Without this great talent for self-deluding amorality — the liar’s intransigence toward the evidence of his own mind and senses — progressive authoritarianism could never survive, let alone become the default position of the entire planet, as it is today.
The Trump cult has the authoritarian virus, either as victim or as carrier.
Meanwhile, the people who died before those Chinese tanks, making their desperate last grasp at the idea of liberty, and whose deaths the dummy leader of the free world celebrates as evidence of the value of “strength” in a leader, have been completely expunged from the Chinese psyche. In a mere single generation, they are gone, as if they had never existed. (I teach exchange students from China every year, most of them smart and polite young people; and every year I feel a pang of sorrow as I say goodbye to them for the last time.)
The day is likely coming when those admirable Chinese dreamers will effectively have been erased from the entire world’s memory. Donald Trump’s cultists, aka the new improved Republican Party establishment, will have played a role in bringing about that erasure, because, in a distorted mimicry of their dear leader, they have all accepted, and are actively helping to foster, the belief that “power” (i.e., government) is more valuable than freedom, “respect” (i.e., vanity) than life, “strength” (i.e., weakness) than humanity. The very same belief embodied by the Chinese Communist Party vermin their idol so admires.
To hell with the lot of them. And that’s not a condemnation, by the way, but rather a prediction.