Inflation of Words and else
Update: A recent pathetic phenomenon: By implying that US and Russia are ‘equally bad’ because ‘we (also) have a bunch of killers’, Trump echoes the rhetoric of the Far-left like Noam Chomsky.
As an international student of Chinese origin, I choose a course with regular seminars on the topic of censorship (understandably!). One day we read an article on the censorship in US prison library, and my professor called it virtually worse than Gulag.
I’m very shocked after learning the story of American civil rights campaigners in prison. However, after further reading, with all due respect, I do not see their condition anywhere remotely similar to Gulag. There is no evidence of organized massacre, mass famine or cannibalism in American jails in the ’60s, and their living condition is arguably among the top 5% standard of the world, with food, clean water and enough clothes, so I somehow consider the statement as an exaggeration.
This is resembled by the recent growing trend of the political movement against power abuse. There seems to be a consensus among campus intellectuals, that one of the democratically elected presidents is literally a Fascist. However, I’ve seen a complete absence of heavy armed civil war and/or resistance guerrillas in the western world, which seems to be the only possible logical response and citizen duty, if the campaigners genuinely believe the fact that they are fighting against a Fascist and his millions of Nazi. After considering the intellectual honesty of leading figures, I guess this is also a kind of rhetoric skill or exaggeration in expression.
I understand the fact that rhetoric and inevitable word-inflation is a necessary part for raising political awareness and campaigning, while a slight amount of overreaction is a healthy mechanic of the society of self-correction. However, as a result, for a political dissident in China, it’s quite uneasy to join the agenda in the mature democratic society.
There is no need for an average citizen in the UK to comprehend the classification(a tiresome and obviously torturing work) of different hierarchy of evil, or distinguish the bad from worse and worst. As a rule of thumb, it seems every regime with a lower or equivalent democracy index than Poland or Hungary (I’ve found plenty of worrying criticism of them from Foreign Affair) is virtually unbearable authoritarian for intellectuals. Beneath that threshold, there is an inexhaustible hierarchy of evil, with a huge difference between every level of Inferno: Singapore, Turkey, Thailand, modern Russia, modern China, Franco Regime, modern North Korea, Nazi and Stalinist, Khmer Rouge. When things happen to be beyond people’s imagination, something similar to a total meltdown or computer memory overflow in language happened and jump to another extremity, as we are not unfamiliar with the Soviet lovers among the intelligentsia in the past and more recently, an article on NYT, calling China to assume the position as the new global leader.
I’m both deeply confused and enticed when examining the strange possible condition when we have run out of superlatives, when all the words lose its power and censorship is no longer needed for the regime. Nonetheless, despite all my harsh words on a seeming lack of political prudence above, I’m more than glad to see and join the campaigns and marches against the blatant (in American standard) power abuser, with the hope that the spirit of civil political participation will spread around the world.