Politico published a piece this week that amounts to a love letter to communist China. The tweet promoting it is horrendous, the article is worse, and the consequences of being Beijing’s blog of propaganda will hurt the very Chinese people that Politico pretends to be representing. Here you can judge for yourself.
Trump is getting roasted on Chinese Twitter for his virus response, highlighting a broad verdict there: America disastrously faltered while China outperformed https://t.co/GTjxnvCVuM
— POLITICO (@politico) May 4, 2020
So there’s a lot to unpack here. First of all, this idea that Weibo, a Chinese social network is comparable to Twitter in America. Weibo is operated and monitored by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). To pretend that anything that appears there represents the true attitudes of the Chinese people would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous. It’s roughly the equivalent of a Nazi press conference in 1940 in which some Jews in Warsaw praise the efficiency of the German government with big smiles while guns are pointed at them.
Let’s bear in mind that China has a million Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps, is crushing dissent in Hong Kong, disappears not only dissidents, but also doctors who defy orders in an attempt to stop a pandemic, and tracks the social behavior of every person under their murderous rule. Given all of this, is it possible, just maybe, that people in China don’t feel totally free to express their true opinions on CCP tracked social media?
Add to all of this that the Politico article blindly accepts Chinese facts and figures on their coronavirus response rate even though it is patently obvious that China has been lying about it for months. It’s a damning situation and one that needs its origins understood. How did we reach a place where a mainstream American outlet is literally pushing Chinese Communist Propaganda?
The answer to this question lies in a cultural relativism crafted by the left over the past few decades, which paralyzes them from criticizing other cultures even while they rip their own to shreds. After all, who are we to call out human rights abuses when we are destroying the planet, cultivating systemic racism, irresponsibly allowing gun ownership, interfering internationally in imperialist ways and culturally appropriating everyone’s outfits?
To see this at work, look no further than the Pulitzer Prize that the New York Times just received for its “1619 Project.” In this case, the problem with the project isn’t the giant cannon balls historians have blown through its flimsy fabric, but rather the intention of the project itself. It isn’t just that the Times is trying to center the American narrative around the horrible institution of slavery, but that it is actively trying to replace the concept of freedom as the primary motivating desire of the American experiment.
Once you do that, the stated goals and values of the founding of our country, which have certainly been poorly executed for much of our history, become essentially irrelevant. At that point it becomes results, not principles, that guide moral judgments regarding governments and cultures. That is exactly the foolhardy approach that Politico has taken in its naïve and troubling tweet and piece.
The normalization of totalitarian regimes in the name of social progress in the media is nothing new. In the 1920s and 1930s, New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty served as a propagandist parroting Soviet talking points as millions were shipped to the Gulags. Oh, and he won a Pulitzer Prize for it. Go figure.
As we enter what may become another Cold War with China it is useful to remember a few words from Ronald Reagan’s “evil empire” speech that helped win the last one:
“I urge you to beware the temptation of pride—the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.”
It is easy to put the excesses of the contemporary Left down to its deranged hatred of Donald Trump, but this badly misses the point. The seeds of these obsequious genuflections to communist China were sown long before the magic ride on the golden escalator. Just as the communists were given a pass for inhumanity in the twentieth century, now that same rationalization of relativism is being employed again.
The most effective way to fight communist China, our greatest geopolitical foe, is to embrace and understand what makes freedom better than tyranny, tolerance better than concentration camps, and free speech better than demands of praise for the Community Party. Happily, the New York Times and the past Politicos of the world lost the last Cold War and they will lose this one too.