For millennia, mankind lived in imperial and private slavery. In our millennium, England preserved its independence and freedom because she underwent the Industrial Revolution, making it possible to mass-produce identical — “standard” goods, and hence firearms, in contrast to societies like China.
China bypassed the Industrial Revolution as yet another manifestation of European savagery, vulgarity, and wild ugliness. Imagine two women wearing a “mass-produced” standard dress — made not as unique combinations of silk but out of one fabric.
Chinese historians speak about 5,000 years of Chinese history. The Chinese system of government did not include just private slavery as did that of ancient Athens (from which the word “democracy” came), but was all general, or universal, slavery.
China was (and is today) a giant slave plantation.
Strictly speaking, before the 20th century, England had not been a “democracy” in the modern sense, since not all psychiatrically normal adults had the right to vote.
The British political arrangement was constitutionalism, but in 20th-century England, the right to vote was extended to all psychiatrically normal adults.
In the United States, the president is elected by all psychiatrically normal adults, while in England there is no “president,” the electorate elects members of parliament, and the chairman of the party having a majority in parliament becomes the prime minister of the king or the queen.
Democracy in the democratic West has been rightly considered the best, highest, greatest form of government. But can it survive today?
On the one hand, freedom contributes to its survival. A letter to President Roosevelt dated Aug. 2, 1939, about the need to be able to produce nuclear bombs ahead of Germany came not from a White House official, nor from the Pentagon and its Defense Intelligence Agency, nor from The Washington Post — it came from Albert Einstein, an émigré, who was not even an American citizen. Einstein’s letter mentioned Enrico Fermi, L. Szilard, and “Joliot in France,” that is, inhabitants of the democracies, who used freedom to work on new science and technology, leading to the production of “atom bombs” — a new super weapon.
Had Hitler’s Germany begun to produce atom bombs ahead of any other country, Hitler would have owned the world. But fortunately, he was a fool and underfinanced his atom project to finance his invasion of Russia.
So in freedom, an individual of genius informed President Roosevelt in 1939 of the possibility of producing atom bombs, and the project to produce them was soon in full swing. But suppose another person, Mr. X, and not Roosevelt, happened to have been elected U.S. president.
Of course, to be elected, X would have to assure the electorate that America for him is more valuable than, or at least as valuable as, say, his own self; but who could tell whether that was true?
About half of the electorate who voted against George W. Bush for his first and second terms did not believe what he and his supporters said about his fitness to be a U.S. president.
In 1939, the esteem of a foreigner named Einstein was as low (among certain German scientists, for example), as was in 1986 that of Eric Drexler, the founder of nanotechnology, who was ridiculed in the United States, but who was published in China on the Internet.
President X may have ridiculed Einstein as well and have thrown his letter into the wastebasket without reading it.
Was America more or at least as much valuable for President George Bush as his own self?
For what purpose did he invade Iraq? To become a rich oilman. Well, he could do so in today’s China as well.
He spent his two-term presidency on the war in Iraq, and according to Yahoo! on Dec. 3, “Iraqi deaths due to his invasion number 1,288,426.”
The result? In December, President Bush made his last presidential visit to Iraq, and as he stood at the podium and TV cameras were filming him, shoes were thrown at him, which corresponds to what was known to the Western aristocracy as a “slap in the face,” whereupon the insulted man challenged the insulter to a duel, to kill him or be killed.
Did Bush understand that the shoes were thrown at him to insult him just as would a “slap in the face” in the West?
Bush has not defeated Iraq: It has become more hostile to him than it was at the beginning of his presidency or 10 years earlier, after George H. W. Bush drew Iraq into the seizure of Kuwait.
Recall, as an example of the value of freedom in a country for its survival, Einstein’s suggestion to President Roosevelt to produce nuclear weapons. On the other hand, France, a free country, was occupied in 1940 within a little more than a month by a German Nazi war machine.
The Germans had become its cogs, while the French had enjoyed life. Hence Hitler’s Blitzkrieg.
Many Americans, including the presidents and members of the Congress, have not wished to becloud their enjoyment of life by even recalling China in the past 20 years as a growing war machine.
The West has achieved today’s democracy owing to thinkers of genius like John Stuart Mill (England) or Sidney Hook (United States).
Its next stage also requires thinkers of genius, not media entertainers entertaining the free West into the abyss ahead, or academically ranked mediocrities. And it is precisely owing to freedom that the media entertainers can doom genius to total obscurity.
In 1982, Sidney Hook invited me to his 80th birthday dinner, and I told him that neither my Britannica, nor any other such reference book, as much as mentioned him.
The only exceptions are Soviet reference books. I told Hook that they never forget to define him as the “most pernicious apologist of American imperialism.” Hook laughed. “What if Stalin, and not Roosevelt, with Einstein’s advice, had been the first to produce atom bombs?” I said. “No, it’s not for nothing that you, Sidney, are remembered for so long and so acutely by Soviet propaganda.”
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