More and more At first I want to say, that I am not a Chinese citizen and I can't vote here. I wish I could have a Chinese citizenship, but I still can't apply about it, because I still do not have complete all the requirements (for example to be married more than 5 years to one and the same wife). That's why I didn't learn a lot about the Chinese elections and the Chinese congress. I just know that here the president is not one and the same and that the new president is not the son of the ex-president (as in North Korea) or the brother of the president (as in Cuba). That's why it is not authoritarian. Re-think again what is the real Authoritarian country. In my point of view if there is more than one person or one family to rule a country, it is not Authoritarian.
"With that in mind, which do you believe is historically most responsible for repression in the world, authoritarianism or capitalism?" The problem is that the capitalism also may be authoritarian. Authoritarianism is not a political-economic system. It's just a way of power. Authoritarianism may occur in the Feudal states many years ago or in some capitalistic ones nowadays. That's why I do not mix these 2 different things. The capitalistic states are very different, so the "repression" (I don't know what kind of repression you mean, but it is not so important) have to be different -- for instance, as many people said, the Scandinavian capitalism (Sweden, Norway, Iceland, etc.) is not so bad as the one in the Americas. So it depends of the capitalism -- if you compare the capitalistic India or Nepal and the capitalistic Holland or Iceland -- the picture is very different (I don't mean only the "repression").
"With that said, it could be the case that Marx, Engels, Lenin were so ignorant of basic human behavior that they could not envision that the reforms they sought would lead to the authoritarian, corrupt and murderous regimes that have resulted in their names." The same ignorance as the Jesus' one. He has no idea how bloody will be the Christianity after him. So, my answer is - "yes, in this field (NOT IN ALL THE FIELDS!) these genius people -- Marx, Engels and Lenin - were a kind of ignorant, because they overestimated the possible, future results.
As I wrote before in an essay AGAINST the revolutions before - "It's not a good idea to fight or/and die for some revolution, BECAUSE later the people may make a counterrevolution; people may make some revisionism and you are fighting or/and dying for nothing!"... IN FACT MARX SAID SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT IT: "What is certain to me is [that, if this is Marxism, then] I myself am not [a] Marxist" (in a letter to Engels, Marx later accused Guesde of being a "Bakuninist")." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Marx http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License
So as you can see even the contemporaries of Marx were able to change, to revision the Marxism. How we/he can expect that in the future everything will be okay? The same - Jesus and everyone else, who is believing that his/her theory will be unchangeable and the world will be stable. It's possible, but it's not that possible. The possibility is not that big as far as the mankind is a part of the fauna (an animal with semi-well developed brain and a predator - we still have canine tooth and we kill animals and eat their meat, i.e. predators).
"Now explain away the fact that current and past authoritarian regimes and subversives have made, and make, the same claims of creating a Utopian society even though history and current regimes demonstrate otherwise." It's the same as in some "dream-lands", I think - for example some people there voted for party A and this party spent their taxes to make war in some "far-far away" country for...(may be you know better what far). Then the people hope that party B will stop the wars and vote for the party B, but - noooo...war again! Later the next elections - again party A or the same - party B will get the power. And these voters still believe that it is a democratic choice, that it's nothing about the power of the capital, etc. Dreamers...So, I suppose here is something similar - there are a lot of fails building the socialism in the world, but "I have a dream" and I dream about how someday the human evolution + the good political will of the people may create the Socialism (at least). And I am not talking about blood, terror and revolutions, I am talking about the peaceful EVOLUTION, i.e. I like the English way - they call it Fabianism (it's a kind of evolutional socialism).
"Utopian society" It's not utopian at all. Everything is about the good will. Imagine that there is a micro-society - you and your brother on an lonely island. Your brother produces 2 coconuts per day and you produce 5 liters of mineral water. Then you and he IF YOU WISH, IF THERE IS WILL, may share the coconuts and the water. If not - you can drink only your water, he - the coconuts; or you can trade like "give me one coconut and I will give you 2 liters of water"...you also may enslave your brother and to use all his coconuts, until he die, etc. EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE:
-slavery (you use his labour and do not give him anything and he's dead)
-isolationism (you don't deal with your brother)
-communism (no matter how much and what you and he produce - the product will be shared like in a brotherhood - 50/50)
-liberal capitalism (bargain; haggle -- "1 coconut costs 5 liter of water!", "What the heck?! It's only 1 liter of water, you greedy b. (baby )!"...)
"Name a nation, past or present where collectivism is practiced and all property is/was mutually owned." There are some communities in Israel, as I pointed already - the Kibutzes in Israel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibutz . Some Chinese told me that here/in China/ some Chinese villages are using the same way.
All these example shows that the collectivism is practically possible. The problem is that not so many people know it and/or not so many people wish to live in this way. It means it's not Utopian, but not popular and/or not very willing modus vivendi (way of life/mode of living).
"Name a nation that operates based on a true democracy where everyone has a say on major issues and majority rules." I am even not sure if there is a full, 100%, true democracy nowadays. For example I know some Europeans who voted before for their favorite candidates. And the candidates promised them "I will give you X, Y, Z"...1-2 years later no X, no Y, no Z...But they're already elected and they can do whatever they want, even the opposite of what they said before the elections. And some voters still call it "democracy". It's a fake democracy! Mostly it's just a disguised or semi-disguised form of oligarchy, kleptocracy...Sad, but true, dear patriot.
"Name a classless society of any note that has ever existed and endured." As I learned ago - it was in the first Christian communities. The capitalism is organic and it exists?! The death is organic and it exists, too. So does it mean that we don't need to hope that people can fight the death and to support the inventors, who are trying to find medicines against the aging? Not every organic and existing thing/process/phenomenon is a good or the best/optimal one. The same as the capitalism - it's not the best that the human brain can create. There are better ways. Of course it is not the worst thing, too. I think it's just a level of the human evolution. Later it may be replaced with another better level or with another worse level, or it may just exists "till the end of time", i.e. evolutional stagnation. Everything is possible and even the super-computers are not able to predict it, because there are too many factors (some of which unknown) plus some things like the Butterfly effect and it's unpredictable or almost unpredictable. And I don't think that the capitalism among good honest people. When you're good, honest and poor, then you can't be a capitalist, because you lack of capital. And when you become a worker/servant/neo-slave of the rich guys, which will take 40%, 50%, 60% or even 99% of your labor, then the capitalism becomes very non-innate to you and you may even kill yourself, because you don't want all your life to spend as an Beta, Gamma or Omega (Alpha is the boss, Beta is the one under the boss, Omega is the last level of the servants/workers/neo-slaves).
"Authoritarians are the biggest obstacles to peace and security." Some people think that there is also another big obstacle to peace and security - it's one comparatively young country, but with a very rich war ("military operations") history:
I don't know really who is the bigger obstacle to peace and security - those authoritarians and "authoritarians" who you mean or USA, or both?...Just want to inform you that there is also another/other point/-s of view about it. Many people think that if there wasn't USA, the world would be more peaceful (I just want to inform you about this point of view honestly), I don't know if they're right or not. So, you also, better not to be so sure who really is the obstacle, the possible/potential obstacle, the co-obstacle, the potential co-obstacle, etc.
"name one example of a fiefdom in the United States where a single individual or a single organization representing a minority of the population dominates." First, I don't know if there are fiefdoms in China. Can you give me some source to read and to see what is this exactly? I know some minorities keep some old ways of life here, but I don't know which case/-s you mean.
Second -- about the USA, I think a good example are the religious sects - how about the Moon one - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Myung_Moon ? I am not very familiar with this stuff.
"Thanks to the United States and capitalism you have the Internet." The point was that you can use Internet to see that the crimes in the USA are more than in China.
Now I will answer you if only thanks to the USA and the capitalism I have the Internet? Imagine I am still living not in China, but in that capitalistic East European country, where the unemployment rate is high and where many people with job still can't afford to buy:
Then how I will have the Internet?!
You see to have something, you need not only this something to exist somewhere, but also you need more factors/conditions to have it. I am also sure that not everyone in the USA is rich enogh in order to be able to pay his/her electricity, computer, Internet access -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_the_United_States
And why do you think that the socialism can't invent Internet? The inventors are everywhere. And as I know -- when someone is more free and don't need to serve 12 hours per day to some capitalist, then he/she may invent more things, because he/she has more free time for thinking and experiments.
"How much Internet and what you can do and say is controlled by the Chinese Government." The control is not every time a bad thing. For example here is forbidden to have a gun at home or in your pocket, that's why here we can't see news like those in the US where someone is taking a gun and open fire in some shop, school, bar...Also here you can't find KKK, Skinheads, etc. I am happy about this kind of control. And as I know after the terrorist attacks the control in the USA is more than before. And this is good, too. I am a fan and a supporter of the control. And I think that we need more control. The control is not enough.
What I can say is controlled? I don't think so. Because till today no one from the government or police told me to speak/not to speak something. May be it's just another myth about China abroad. And still I think the control must be more, because some people speak too bad. For example some Chinese speaks chauvinistic against the foreigners, just because of the foreign persons foreignerness (no matter if the foreigner is me - the philosopher socialist from East Europe or some African uneducated gangster-capitalist in Guangzhou-city. BUT WE'RE NOT THE SAME!). It's against the socialistic spirit of brotherhood and internationalism, that's why I think these chauvinists have to be controlled or what? To leave them to speak more and even to make some terrible thing like the KKK in the USA?! Less control = less safaty. More control = more safety. So, you better love the control too. I have also another example - if you do not control a kid to study, then most of the kids only play and don't self-educate. The control is in many cases a good AND NECESSARY thing. And I insist in this not as a Chinese fan or as a socialist, but as a philosopher anthropologist who knows the real human (semi-animalish, semi-predatoric) nature.
"I'm not very impressed with statistics that are derived from a government that has been anything but forthcoming historically." Then how to make the verification?! I am telling you that here I feel more safe, than in the other countries I was + I am showing you statistics, approved by the American website Wikipedia. Is there another source?
"I don't consider a country that imprisons citizens for talking ill of their government on the Internet a safe place to live." I don't know if it is true. And even IF it is true, I think it is safe, because to talking ill against so successful government that made China a super-power is not something necessary, it's not a basic need of a normal person. The important is that here you can't be killed or crippled by:
- gypsy gang grpups
- aggressive groups of rappers (and other sub-cultural elements)
This is important and necessary, not to speak ill against the people who created such a powerful, amazing country as PRC.
I know some Chinese speak ill against the government, because they can't imagine what will happen with China without it. You know after the collapse of the Socialism in East Europe and Russia how many problems they got:
- high crime rate
- high unemployment rare
- ethnic wars and conflicts
All this may happen to China if there is no this CCP government. There is a song - "No CCP -- no new China." And it's a great song. You know how weak and how semi-colonial China was in the 19 century. And now you know that China is probably the 2nd economic power after the USA and the 3rd military power after Russia and USA (or after USA and Russia, it's not that important).
"It's like there is a big Golden Shield surrounding the country.
A shield that has probably taken note of our conversation." So what? Our conversation is PUBLIC anyway. Do you care/afraid if someone will read or will read not it?! I think that it's just a honest conversation between two very intelligent men who have different political and economical points of view.
"Are you affiliated with the Chinese Government authority?" No, I am just an ordinary citizen of the EU, who lives in China for a long time, who has property (for living) in China, who is married in China and who has a dream to get Chinese citizenship as soon as possible.
"'Crime' might be low...of course that depends on what is considered a crime." That's right. What I mean, when I am writing/typing/speaking about crimes are the most common ones like: a man kill another innocent man/men on the street, at school, etc., or someone robber you in the night. All these, I think, are recognized as crimes in most of the countries. I am not talking about some specific crimes as "kissing on the beach" (it is a crime in an Arab country), etc.
"You have a distinct advantage in this conversation." I like this conversation, but I do not insist to have or to haven't advantage, because my goal is not to write how bad or how good are the US or China, or some another country, I just wanted to say, that it is not right some people (especially some Chinese persons) to think that if you're a foreigner in China, you're here only because you're an idiot, who don't know that for him the only "right places" are Europe or US. The topic was started to show that not everything is money/job and that the love to China may be as a result of history relationships, culture, political believes, food, etc. I am not an anti-USA person, who wants to write against the USA, because I don't like some USA things (like too many freedom for religion sects, existing of dangerous racists like KKK, involving in so many wars, etc.), BUT I also like some USA things (like the advanced science, the useful discoveries, some amazing movies, actors, sportsmen, etc.)
"Countries like China live in a vase.
From the outside, the China vase is brightly decorated and pleasant to look at, topped with beautiful arrangements.
Unlike the fish bowl one cannot see what is in the vase and within the vessel the light of day is controlled and many shadows exist." Everyone can came here (I had many American colleagues around, when I was a full-time English teacher and 90% of them were nice and intelligent people) and to compare. As far as I remember the Americans also liked the safety here very much, the big cities (some of them bigger than the American cities/towns where they come from), the Chinese food, etc. I never heard, even when some of them were drunken, someone to be upset, sad, unhappy of something about the Chinese government. It's a big myth that here something is wrong, terrible, etc. Of course there is no problem-less country, every country may have problems, but it is not so big as in your allegory. If you use it about North Korea -- probably it is right, because they control what to show you, but here everyone can come, take pictures, make videos, share them. China is a free place, even more free than I wish (as I said it will be good the chauvinists who speak for example "Die, you foreigner; @$@#$@# your mother!" online to get more control!). The problem of every society is much bigger when there is LACK OF CONTROL, than when there is MORE CONTROL.
"I have nothing against the Chinese people." So you're only Anti-Chinese about the Chinese leaders, not at all? Oh, this is better, because I almost get the impression that you may hate all Chinese, which is the same what I am trying to oppose from the beginning - the foreignerness (including the Chineseness) is not a sin.
"Those that I have met in the United States seem very happy to be here.
Especially those with three or more children." You're right. One of the main reason Chinese to prefer living abroad is that there thay may have A LOOOOOOT of kids. Well, it's their choice, but I prefer the CHILD-FREE thinking - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childfree. People on Earth are too much and the kids are time consuming. I prefer less kids or no kids, because I would like to spend my life with the science and with the Chinese culture, not being something like a baby-sitter.
"Let's pretend that there are no Chinese gangs, any other undesirables, there's no human or drug trafficing or guns as you profess." May be there are some, but not so much as from the place where I am coming from. Do you know what is the difference between:
a) You see people use drugs even in the university and in front of the police stations (a country in East Europe)
b) You can't see a single case of drug around you, except some singular case on the news (China)
The feeling and the % (per cent) is totally different - drugs, guns, organised crimes - everything. Why? Because of the good, quality control over here!
"I'm guessing there are no skinheads (neo-nazis), no gypsy gangsters, no guns on the street and not so many hooligans in the DPRK or Cuba or Iran or Venezuela or a number of other authoritarian states." Also, because of the good control! So now you know how more control may provide mor safety. We don't like to live in a jungle. More control, more order is what we need. And as I said, after the terrorist attacks, the USA also made more control (for example much better control on the airports) and it saves thousands of lives, i.e. it's good.
By the way I don't think that Iran and Venezuela are 100% authoritarian - they have elections and the people can choose different presidents. I think only the de-facto-monarchies -- Cuba and North Korea -- are authoritarian, but in these countries also not everything is very bad or so bad as some Western people imagine.
"Why do you think that there is more crime in freedom loving countries?" Because more freedom = less control. I can illustrate it with an educational-psychological example: if a teacher in class let the students freedom, some of them or many of them do not listen to the lesson - they start to play cards, to use the cell-phones, to read books...BUT if the teacher start to control them in some way, then all the class is quiet and the students may learn better.
Unlimited freedom is not a value, it's a problem. A person even have to control HIMSELF/HERSELF, because if you just do freely all what you wish, you're getting fat, ill, etc. For example it's a great pleasure now to type you this, BUT I know that after that I must control myself and to make some boring fitness, because I don't want to be 100 kg. or ill. Self-control is also a kind of control and it's a good thing.
"Yeah, I suppose greed doesn't really exist in China.
I think it was outlawed a few years back." I don't know if it is outlawed (I don't know all the laws in the world), may be you're joking, but I think it is a good idea! If a society is able to eradicate the greed it will be a more happier society. You know Buddha discovered it - if you're not so greedy/willing/wanting/wishing, then you can't be so unhappy.
"How many do you want?" You're asking me about how much RMB do I want? According to my business plans (because I am a socialist/communist, but as long as I am living in a world, where the money are still very useful and we need money for almost every services and goods, I am behaving as a moderate and smart capitalist) I think you can be my sponsor (business angel) with 9420 U.S. dollars (it is around 60 000 Chinese yuan or RMB) at the present time. Then I will invest them in a good restaurant - I know some places (towns) where people like to eat foreign food (let's say "hamburgers", but it is not hamburgers, it's just an example, because I want to keep my business idea in secret) and I can earn most probably around 1000 USD per day. This is what I want. As you can see - I am not greedy. I just need a normal primary capital, then I will be able to create my own business (family business, not exploatation business). You can think about it, the offer is serious. If the business is successful, you may get back 300-400 % or even more, depends on - I QUOTE YOU "How many do you want?"
"How exactly does "socialism" ( a government administered society) benefit you as an individual?" Provides me safety, culture, etc. Motivates me for comprehensive personality development and provides me cheaper goods/services or even free ones. I miss the time in my ex-Socialist native country when we had -- free education, free hospitals, free libraries and cheap medicines, transportation, electricity...After that Gorbachev sold out the socialism and after the "democracy" + capitalism (or "capitalism") came, we lost all these. Now some people even can't pay the electricity bill. And yesterday I read one local (in that East European country) intelligent wrote how his family may buy shoes, i.e. they're not that poor. Oh, my god !!! And now more and more people started to miss the socialism, even some of the anti-communists, who were so eager (before) to see the "freedom and democracy"...Sure now they have some better things than before - for example the boys don't need to join the army if they don't like to, it's not only bad, but probably the ratio is 10:1 (bad-good) when you compare with the Socialistic period/era/regime (no matter how you/they call it). And these are the people who still remember the time and can COMPARE. The young generation mostly can't imagine and even don't believe it, so for them there is no real "informed choice" and most of them only choose something like - capitalism and/or nationalism, ultra-nationalism, pro-Americanism or anti-Americanism...very hard, up to impossible for them to choose something like Socialism/Communism, because for them it's just a myth, an utopia...the same as you - they never experienced it.
"From what I've read in your posts it seems that the only thing it provides you is some solace that everyone, except for government officials and elites, are equally poor and equally robbed of any opportunity to improve their circumstances.
Kinda like being a kept animal...not interested." You can't get it, because you never experienced it. I will show you a picture of when I was young and I lived in a true socialism (some call it "STATE CAPITALISM" or "Partycracy"/"Partocracy"):
-free hospitals, free school and university, free libraries
-very cheap transportation -- for example 1 salary = 6000 bus tickets (now 1 salary = 700 bus tickets)
-cheap food (that time people ate meat daily or almost daily, now someone can affotd only bread and some onion or something like that)
-work for everybody (now - high unemployment rate and some intelligent people - doctors, engineers, historians, etc. should "work" as ... I can't find the English word for those who collect trash from the trash bins and then sell it for recicling? You know what I mean? I found the word HOBO, but I am not sure if it covers the meaning of that "job", when you search for empty bottles or dirty paper and then you sell them for some little money)
-very low crime rate, no drugs
-not so many prostitutes
-people worked only 6-8 hours and they could afford to go 1-2 times on vacations (mountains, seaside, abroad), now someone work 12 hours and still can't buy meat to eat or good shoes...
So, who is so crazy to like the situation over there now? Only the very hard liners (very hard anti-comminists), young generation who don't know well how it was, foreigners like you, who also didn't live even a single minute in such a heavenly place, the very rich capitalists, who are able to buy whatever they want... This is the reality, I think.