Thursday, March 14, 2013

Keeping Up With the Chinese

Garance Franke-Ruta provided an entertaining account of Marco Rubio's speech at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference).  I noticed something different than she did, though.  She was interested in Rubio and Rand Paul pandering to their right-wing audience, I was interested in something else.  The relevant passage:
"The Chinese government provides their people no access to the Internet. The Chinese government will hold citizens prisoner without any right to recourse. The Chinese government coerces and tortures people until they get confessions. The Chinese government restricts the ability of people to assemble. If you escape China, they actually put pressure on governments to forcibly return you. The Chinese government has coercive birth limitation policies, which means that in some cases they are forcing abortions and sterilizations. The Chinese government uses forced labor. And this is what they do to their own people.

"We want that to be the leading country in the world?"

"No!" replied the audience.

"We want that to be the leading voice on this planet?" Rubio continued.

"No!" came the cry.
Oh, my goodness!  Almost all the crimes Rubio lay at the feet of China are, in fact, part of the great phenomenon he calls America.  The US was built with forced labor, which has made a comeback in the prison-industrial complex.  Torture, forced confessions, the abolition of habeas corpus, extradition of political dissidents (or nowadays, simply killing them with drones), restriction of the freedom of assembly, even forced sterilization -- all are American traditions, and they're happening now.  As for restricting people's access to the Internet, that's been tried too.  All of these have been acceptable to conservatives of Rubio's stripe.  Do we want that to be the leading country in the world?  Do we want that to be the leading voice on the planet?