Wednesday, October 23, 2019

HILL: What if China had colonized America?

Ming America
Listening to Democrat candidates for president makes one think America is a terrible place to live. Income inequality, racism, no single-payer health care system, reckless environmental pollution … America must be the worst country in the world to live in today.
Care to guess what would be worse? What if China had colonized the New World from the West Coast first before the Europeans ever landed at Jamestown or Plymouth Rock? What type of government and society would we have today?
We might be Hong Kong trying to establish its independence from communist China. Worse than that, we probably would never have become a free democratic republic in the first place because our Chinese founders would have had no conception of what individual freedom was supposed to look and act like in a free society.
Had the Ming Dynasty wanted to find a short route to Europe, the emperor of China in 1500 might have sent explorers to the east across the Pacific Ocean. By mistake, they would have bumped into the New World and paved the way to set up a new kingdom in the name of the Ming Dynasty. The ruling potentate, colonists and armies would have been loyal subjects to the emperor of China and all aspects of Colonial life would have mirrored life in China.
Not unlike the English Colonies that were set up on the East Coast. Many of the early colonies were sponsored by a king or queen of a European country ostensibly to find gold and silver mines rumored to be all over the New World, including North Carolina. Americans were treated as royal subjects under British army rule until 1775.
Perhaps dissidents would have escaped China and sailed across the gigantic and dangerous Pacific Ocean to leave oppression and misery behind. Again, just like the Puritans, Huguenots and any number of Europeans who wanted to escape religious or ethnic persecution in order to live a free, albeit not very safe, new life across the Atlantic.
Compared to our history, was there ever any chance that Chinese explorers or rebels would have established a free democratic republic on the West Coast?
No. Zero chance in fact.
Where would Chinese colonists have come up with any of the philosophical ideas that would have led to a democratic republic in the first place? Where in Chinese history would any idea of individual freedom have come from?
Chinese rulers have systematically exterminated citizens who exhibited free thought capabilities. As recently as 1966-76, Chairman Mao boasted about burying alive 46,000 Chinese scholars and philosophers during the so-called “Great Leap Forward.”
Freedom of thought is poison to any dictatorial regime. Freethinkers must be eradicated at all costs.
Chinese culture dates back at least 5,000 years. Chinese rulers over five millennia have extirpated the DNA for free thinkers in China thereby rendering the chances of a Chinese equivalent of John Locke emerging to write about the right to own property next to zero. No Chinese philosopher wrote about the Adam Smith “invisible hand” of capitalism that helps everyone as entrepreneurs pursue their dreams. Instead, they extol the virtues of collectivism serving the monarch or communist party.
The structure and very fabric of our American way of life are dependent on our founders’ understanding of the philosophies of Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Epicurus, Epictetus, Augustine, Aquinas, Mill and Kant. None of which was available to any Chinese citizen over the past 2,000 years and is probably not available today.
The democratic republic of the United States of America may have its faults, faults we all try to correct every day. But we still have freedom, unlike what would have happened had China had its way with the New World half a millennium ago.

We could be Hong Kong. Or far worse, we could be Chinese subjects. Think about that before you vote for more socialism instead of more freedom.
(first published in North State Journal 10/23/19)

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