Venture capitalist Eric X. Li, in an op-ed for the New York Times, “Why China’s Political Model Is Superior,” credits the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre with producing the “stability” that “ushered in a generation of growth and prosperity.”
As for America, Li explains that our problem is an “expanded” political franchise, “resulting in a greater number of people participating in more and more decisions.”
“Elected representatives have no minds of their own and respond only to the whims of public opinion as they seek re-election,” Li informs, and “special interests manipulate the people into voting for ever-lower taxes and higher government spending, sometimes even supporting self-destructive wars.”
Mr. Li points to California and predicts an American “future” of “endless referendums, paralysis and insolvency.”
But wait a second . . . Americans have no initiative or referendum powers at the national level. The people didn’t vote for this level of taxes, spending, war or massive debt – our elite political leaders did that. Too much control by the people? Hardly. Too little.
Note that the national government most affected by initiatives and referendums is Switzerland, which also has the world’s highest per capita income.
But, as Li tells us, “China is on a different path. Its leaders are prepared to allow greater popular participation in political decisions if and when it is conducive to economic development and favorable to the country’s national interests . . .” After all, “political rights . . . should be seen as privileges to be negotiated based on the needs and conditions of the nation.”
Those negotiations have left Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo in a Chinese prison.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.