Dear China

Dear China,

So things are going well, I hear. Your GDP growth is in double digits almost every year. You just passed Japan as the number two economy in the world this past quarter.

That's cool. I mean, whatever.

And you're still censoring the internet over there, I guess, along with everything else... and putting dissenters into secret prisons and what not.

Which is... well, that's your deal- your own business or whatever. I'm cool with things.

PLEASE CRACK. OH DEAR GOD PLEASE CRACK. I know you're just waiting for the right moment to tell the world you're declaring bankruptcy like the U.S.S.R did, but first you need to stop growing so fast.

Just take a moment. Have a breather. Stop sending your kids to school for twelve hours a day. Give the ill effects of a closed, authoritarian society some time to catch up with you, for god's sake.

The past five hundred years have been about the West, and western values- the classical era, the renaissance, the enlightenment, the industrial revolution, the internet. Sure, we had some kings and a few inquisitions along the way, but they only served as a foil to the era of liberal democracy that was to come.

And so what I have been taught my entire life, and have taken to heart as fact, is that open, free societies thrive, and closed, authoritarian societies crush the human soul, stifle creativity and science, and ultimately crumble under the weight of their own corruption and poverty. The Fascists lost WWII, the U.S.S.R imploded, America became the lone super power and all the runners up were western democracies. Meanwhile, authoritarian regimes like Iran and North Korea continued to be backwards shit holes like any good Western political theory would have predicted.

Things were pretty simple. They made sense. Freedom = affluence. Democratic pluralism = success. And Reagan took it even further.  Laissez-faire = good. Government regulation = bad.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We had the winning combo, the right stuff.

I'll admit I smelled a rat even before everybody started talking about you in hushed voices and worried tones. India had a democracy, which was supposed to equal good. A lot of poor, third world countries had democracies, and they stayed poor anyway.

But I never thought it would come to this. You are an affront to 2000 years of Western trial and error. You are an abomination in the eyes of the Enlightenment. If your authoritarian model proves to be competitive with liberal democracy- a viable alternative, then that means 1984 is a viable future.

You either need to get liberal to justify your success, or you need to fail to justify your totalitarian oligarchy. It's one or the other, so make up your mind, China.

Because otherwise half the things I learned in poly-sci and history class would be obsolete, and I refuse to pay to retake those credits.

Sebastian Braff


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