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« Common characteristics of world dictators | Main | ‘One-China policy’: The lie that brings Nixon and The Washington Post together »

March 14, 2005

Comments

jj

He did speak about the example of the Chinese overcoming government elements to expose the SARS epidemic. I thought that was good. He provided a good example of how papers can oppose the government in the US. He may have missed some opportunities, but it is not likely they would print any direct criticism.

Frank Warner

I mentioned the SARS case, but again, that Chinese news coverage required government approval. And by the way, did even a dictatorship have any choice but to report on SARS? This disease was spreading fast.

Yes, Bennett was more than happy to point out all the faults of the "least bad system." He gabbed on and on about how he has to oppose the U.S. government. Doesn't he realize the Chinese hear that every day?

His point of view was, everything's bad in this democracy, and we're just struggling to report how bad it is. He avoided saying anything like "We have a free press, and this is how a free press makes things better."

The Chinese need to understand the inherent danger of their own system. When China's dictatorship gives an American journalist a rare chance to speak freely to the Chinese, he should have had a few good words for freedom and a few facts on how the lack of political freedom does China no good.

Yes, mention the faults of democracy. But then put it in perspective.

Democracy inevitably allows some dents in the armor that protects individuals from government abuse. In dictatorship, however, individuals are stripped bare of that armor.

That is the difference. That is the difference the world must understand before it is too late for all of us.

Red Star

Warner,

you are promoting an idea blindly. Democracy does not suit everyone/every country, expecially China at this stage. China is unique like India in the sense that the vast majority of people are poor and uneducated. The level of the playing field must be fair before the freedom of complete competition in all aspects (speech/earn a living etc...) is opened up to the general public. There would be an utter chaos if that were to happen. It is better to slowly get the house in order and liberalize slowly vesus the complete opening of the flood gates to unwanted challenges.

And,Warner, you hippocrate. If you are suggesting that the editor of Washington Post should voice your opinion, then you are indeed blind to the concept of democracy.


Frank Warner

Freedom suits every nation. Dictatorship and slavery suit none.

As far as your suggestion, Red, that The Washington Post should voice my opinion, you misunderstand me.

The Post has claimed to champion the First Amendment, freedom of the press, among other parts of the Constitution. I'm saying, if the Post's editors really believe in freedom, they should explain why.

The Post knew how to talk about the vital importance of democratic institutions 32 years ago, when President Nixon threatened the Constitution. When they're talking to the leaders and citizens of a dictatorship, the Post's editors have a serious responsibility to explain that again, even more clearly.

Bennett blew it. He sniveled when he should have stood for something.

Just Me

Is it really true that no two democracies went to war with one another in the 20th century?

Frank Warner

War is rare between democracies. It's often said that no two "established" democracies went to war with each other in the 20th century. That means no two democracies that have been around long enough to understand the democratic traditions of openness and accountability.

But even if you count the fighting between weak democracies -- for example, India and Pakistan -- the record of democracies is far more peaceful than the record of dictatorships. Dictatorships' cruel nature is responsible for most wars and most war deaths.

End tyranny, and peace can begin.

See: Dictatorships' death toll.

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