How a power-ist society works

Kevin Chin-wen Feng
Jun 6 · 5 min read
Source: The Economist

At night in Shijiazhuang, a corp commander made 500 soldiers and 20 infantry-fighting vehicles march down the streets fully-equipped. Their target was not a foreign enemy or some rebels. It was a brothel.

The commander ordered his troops to bash and bulldoze the brothel. The reason: he broke a glass and was charged a price deemed unfair by him. In this emerging situation, the owner of the brothel used his “Guanxi.”

He used the Guanxi to ask the armed police and the provincial Party Committee officer to appease or attenuate the conflict. However, this commander’s Guanxi is stronger than the entire set of authorities.

With this power, authority, and influence, the commander could continue unabated. No one dared go against him. Brutally and sadistically, the commander even ordered the owner to recover/rebuild the brothel to its original state in order for the commander’s troops to demolish the brothel once more.

The owner didn’t have a choice but to follow his commanders’ coercive and cruel demand. The commander’s name is Qin Wei-jiang, the National Defense minister’s son. Surprisingly, the civilians appreciated Qin’s actions.

Since the owner is the head of a local gang in Shijiazhuang and often terrorizes the neighbourhood, this story is trending on Chinese websites and even Facebook. People praise Qin and wish there were be more commanders like him to attain people’s justice.

So, in conclusion, a general who participated in illegal prostitution had a civil dispute with the brothel, demanded his armed troops to solve the conflict, and was finally taken as an example of justice by civilians. What a weird scenario!

In this article, I want to introduce China as a power-ist society, how it works and how it’s different from a capitalist society.

Power as essence, for suppressing and exchanging power

Capitalism is several social orders for calculating and accumulating the capitals. Powerism is the same, but about calculating and accumulating power. (Keeneth C. Fan)

In capitalism, private property is sacred. The national force has the duty to protect it. In quins case, he may be understood as a warlord in anarchic society or culture, who uses his army to deal with a personal dispute.

But in contrast to an anarchic nation-state, China is a despotic country, which is ruled by a well-organized party, CCP. The CCP controls society through advanced technology. It is impossible to understand Qin’ s story under capitalistic means. It is only possible under the aspect of power-ism.

In power-ism, a person in a high power position can not only do whatever they want to less powerful people, but can also force them to do things they don’t want to do. This extends to the family and children of those in higher power positions. Qin, as a son of a higher authority figure, can send his army to bash the brothel, even force the owner to recover everything for it to be crushed again.

The most important thing: people are not only tolerating these forms of actions. They are encouraging them. When people in a power-ist society are suffering under a powerful oppressor, instead of equalizing or restricting them by themselves, they are more willing to ask an even higher power to punish the oppressor. The power is as scared in powerism as the capital is in capitalism.

Jack Ma was the richest man in China owning $39.1 billion. With just an official order from the CCP, he was forced to resign and hand over Alipay to the government. In the western world, some entrepreneurs use their money to manipulate the governmental policy; however, or by contrast, in China, the government can manipulate the company’s policy and even personal property. Capital is a form of power. The power is always above the capital.

As same as capital, power can be exchanged in a power-ist society, not only by high authorities but also in daily life. A hospital doctor, for example, lets a policeman cut the line, then the same policeman will let him pass the sobriety test a few days later. Everyone uses their power to cheat for the people who have Guanxi with them. Until, it develops into a reciprocal network. Cheating is not only a benefit for individuals, but is also creating a structure to maintain power. (No cheating, no Guanxi.)

No bottom line in powerism

We need 6 divisions to defeat Italian, but 12 divisions to help them.

This saying derives from a Nazi general’s joke. It conveys the cruel logic of power: sometimes destruction is cheaper. Shooting the missiles costs nothing, but you need to spend lots of money to clear or maintain them. If a person doesn’t have any bottom line for his actions, it’s very likely that he will do something destructive to maximize his influence.

When people calculate power, they don’t care about justice or ethics as the superior one can always dominate; they don’t care about lying since all they care about is their interest; they don’t care about cheating either because it’s necessary to maintain the Guanxi.

A power-ist will appraise Mao Zedong criticizing his enemy in the name of democracy and turning into a dictator. Its a clever strategy. A power-ist will also compliment CCP tricking the west into investing money in China by the means of Chinese economic reforms then returning into a planned economy when CCP considers it to be a good time for a world revolution.

Human rights as the bottom line of a humanistic society, is taken as a joke by power-ists and that is why humanism is hardly promoted in Asia. Even though, their people are non-religious. Unfortunately, powerism is not a new thing created by modern authoritarians, it has a much longer history as of two thousand years from the concept of Shi.

To be continued……

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Humanist Voices

Official Secular-Humanist publication by Humanist Voices

Kevin Chin-wen Feng

Written by

Common humanism only loves human’s virtues, but mine is to love human’s vices, and to think in depth about how to use these vices to make the world better.

Humanist Voices

Official Secular-Humanist publication by Humanist Voices

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