Tag: power

Batman, Plato, and Meritocracy: Who Should Hold Power?

Thomas DiGennaro | United States

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is loaded with elements of philosophical theory and undertones of libertarianism. One that stands out, in particular, is the mass surveillance used to track the Joker in the ending of the film and the resulting ethical questions that arise.

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How China Overtook the USA Where The USSR Couldn’t

Daniel Szewc | Poland

There are multiple reasons why China, a country which had to endure the dictatorship of a communist even worse than Stalin, Zedong Mao, managed to lift itself from the ashes, whilst Soviet Russia couldn’t do it.


To get the elephant out of the room, the only variable that is inherently more favorable to China than it is for Russia is geography. After WW2, the USSR’s access to warm water ports was the best in all of Russia’s history, yet it is undeniable that there was a muzzle on the bear. The Greenland-Iceland-UK triangle in the North Atlantic, Bosphorus, and Dardanelle, and the Danish straits being controlled by NATO all stood in the USSR’s way. The American Navy, which stood ready to invade the Eastern Russia coastline, also prevented the USSR from having complete territorial control.

In contrast, the People’s Republic of China had a better situation- an underperforming India busy with Pakistan to the South East, impoverished people to the South, and devastated Japan to the West. This allowed the Revolutionary Army of China to concentrate less on defending its borders than the USSR had to.

Economy and Ideology

From the era of Xiaoping Deng seizing power in the Middle Kingdom, China was an active participant in the global market, since they accepted revisionist Marxist doctrines. In practice, they became communist in name only- the gray market was allowed to flourish, and redistribution was minimized, but the authoritarian control maintained. Gorbachev’s, Jaruzelski’s and Kohl’s “opening to the West”, meant a lack of accepting Western cultural demoralization and the slow economic shift to the left, that is still making its way to this day. China, on the other hand, became America and Europe’s supplier of goods, therefore a complete blockade of them would drastically lower the living standards in America and Europe, and cause Westerners to rise up against their governments. Extreme tariffs against goods produced in the USSR would have a minimal effect, simply because Americans did not prefer Soviet products, and the USSR’s products were unfit for American consumption.

To further explain in how much of an disadvantage China was originally, it is enough to say that they didn’t enjoy de facto home rule for the period of European colonisation, even though the Chinese emperor did de jure administer most of it’s territory- in comparison, the only era that could be remotely called “non-home rule” since the Dimitriadis (an era of Polish foreign rule in Russia during the early 17th century) was the Bolshevik rule- most of the party’s presidium was Jewish during that time, even though most people may not know it- Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronstein) and Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov) for example, were the grandkids of Orthodox Jews and changed their surnames to aliases to hide their roots.

China’s line of attack based itself upon prior experiences that they have learned from- as Otto von Bismarck said: “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others”

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The Paradox of Excessive Executive National Security

By Thomas Calabro | United States

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and American President Donald Trump have always had a somewhat similar style of government. One that supports law, justice, and order, attacks critics in the media, and constantly seeks to garner power for the president of the state. But should the news of Pastor Andrew Brunson be a wake up call to the President of the true nature of the fear tactic employed by both Turkey d the US? In other words, if approach to combat terrorism under the guise of security, were used against us, would we support that same approach, it’s ethics, or even it’s legality?

This comes as the evangelical pastor from North Carolina was sentenced to house arrest for supposedly aiding terrorist groups such as the one that is believed to have  a orchestrated the coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. After this attempt to oust Erdogan, the Presidency saw itself garner new powers, and attack enemies in the media all in the name of combating terrorism. Events that create this level of unsettlement in the civilians usually brings the debate to an emotional state where the environment of debate becomes more unstable, and hostile towards the ideas of freedom, liberty, and individuality. For the US, the September 11th attacks were a defining moment where Americans truly feared for their lives of terrorists, and in Trump’s case, the murder of Kate Steinle seemed to have had the impact of “proving” to Trump’s future supporters, the harsh rhetoric against immigrants. 

The environment in the debate on national security is one becoming less reliant on fact and logic, and grows based on emotion. While many do worry about the stability and security of the state, and it’s citizens, we must be able to acknowledge that leaders are more than willing to use compromising moments, that instill fear and anger, to grab new powers. In those moments when your emotions overwhelm you, authoritarians look to push you to make the decision to give them opportunities to “protect the nation.” Those who object are not seen as having legitimate concerns with the policies and what they entail, but are labeled and dismissed as naive and out of touch with reality. Some are even labeled as traitors, who wish to create chaos, and let the bad guys win.

President Trump’s attitude towards this approach shows a level of hypocrisy among statists who support fear-based power-grabs, until they are used against their own beliefs and values, and suddenly find themselves on the opposition. Trump doesn’t seem to like this approach when it affects an evangelical American, so why should we be surprised when others stand up against very similar treatments against other religious, ethnic, and cultural people.

Rather than accepting fear of others, and anger towards those who disagree, we should embrace the ability to use logic and reason to fully vet our government, our people, and those who are deemed as a threat. Even if the state properly exposes threats towards national security, we must still be able to keep our government, and its officials in check, and not simply accept everything they say because they are some benevolent entity that can run our lives, thoughts, and emotions better than we can.

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