Friday, September 25, 2009

The G-20 of Oprahworld

The Dalai Lama, bumping fists in Louisiana this week, found good and heartfelt friends there. But not likely in Pittsburg. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, cheerful, positive and encouraging when traveling in China as First Lady when the Central Committee was pulling middle-aged and elderly ladies from a Taoist sect off the streets by the thousands, never to be heard from again by their families, has assured them resolutely again that there would be no pesky human rights issues to impede our first and most essential friendship with the one-party state that is China. That one party being the Chinese Communist Party.

We are all friends now. Obama, who sees the world as a college dean does, wants to be friend to all. We are all one people in Oprahworld. Especially now that China is taking the lead in environmentalism. It sort of evens out the kidnapping of the child monk, the Panchen Lama, and the thousands of Buddhist monks tortured and murdered in Tibet by the Chinese government. Only Sarah Palin brought it up this week in her speech in Hong Kong.

China’s welcome initiative on environmentalism is modeled after marketing strategies of the old New York groups, venerable now, forerunners of firms today like Crips and Bloods, Inc., entrepreneurs out west. If you throw a basketball game as a charity event for poor children and single moms you can get away will all kinds of other stuff like dealing heroin to the same children and moms. Your marketing will amplify itself. There will be ten, 20 stories by the happy-face liberal press (what Stalin called “ . . . useful idiots”) about the good you are doing for the poor. It will make people happy and deny the more difficult issues. We want to be happy and we want to look nice. Because we’re all one people in Oprahworld; Obama, Hu jintau, Levi Johnson, Octomon, Mackenzie Phillips, Mao Tse-Tung – high fives all around. Makes no difference in the Land of the Free if you’re rich as the Rockefellers or born with a tail. Such a long ride from Germany and Bach’s cello suites in the time when people were all different. Better now.

The temptation of totalitarianism is never far away here in the greater cities of the northeast. Ancient memory possibly, because so many of us up here come not that long ago from Euro-realms dominated by one Rough Beast or another. But this quote from the New York Times’ celebrity columnist Thomas Friedman on Sept. 8 sent a chill through the live-free-or-die types with a few generations in the woods up here in New Hampshire:

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.

I expect Friedman will be in Pittsburgh this week egging them on. I am certain he will not be in Tibet for the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China because no foreigners will be allowed in the country. As Diana N. Rowan, a writer and activist who has written for The Atlantic and The Christian Science Monitor, ha written of that moment which the Chinese called “peaceful liberation” or as “reuniting Tibet with the Motherland,” “. . . more than 1.2 million Tibetans have died in wartime violence, by execution, the effects of long imprisonment, torture, starvation or suicide. Forced abortions and sterilization were once a policy. There are vast areas now, particularly in Kham and Amdo, where most Tibetan families lack any male members over the age of thirty-five.”

It may in time be seen as the great abomination of our period that we enter into full relationships with a government that is clearly totalitarian. Not to fight fascism as we did when we entered into alliance with Stalin, but just to make a buck. Both parties now have the one approach in fact, that Friedman so seeks. But as the few and the brave are stepping up in states like New Hampshire, Vermont, Texas and Wisconsin, possibly there is a states rights defense against entering into full commerce with states without freedom.