Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The states' view of religion could foreshadow human lives for decades

This morning the Globe and Mail reported that China is eager to exchange her high-speed train expertise to Ontario for Canadian natural resources. There are reports that the Ontario government is considering a high-speed train corridor from Windsor to Montreal (a long-overdue project, in our view!) Clearly the Chinese have demonstrated considerable expertise through their 400+mph train projects and would be ideally positioned to offer such expertise to the Ontario government.
Whether or not the Ontario government would be wise to accept such an offer from the Chinese government is another question.
We already know that China has poured billions into the infrastructure of African countries, more than any other world power, in exchange for their opportunity to strip natural resources from African governments and people in a similar exchange. And the Chinese have, thereby also demonstrated their expertise in the negotiations of such "deals"....Chinese money and expertise for infrastructure in exchange for natural resources, mostly coal for Chinese factories in the case of Africa. The Chinese have already played some of their "hand" in the purchase of natural resource companies in Canada, as part of their long-range planning to feed the monster of their own appetite for those natural resources, given their population size and their long-range vision of becoming a fully developed modern industrial, technical and profitable country.
We also know that of all the stories that have emerged over the last couple of years about high-level cyber-spying, all reports point to the Chinese as the source and perpetrator of many of those "hacking" jobs. Cyber-targeting western corporations for technical know-how in order to produce their own "one-off" duplicates, at much lower costs in order to sell those "knock-offs" to the same countries from which they were absconded has become a trademark of Chinese modus operandi. Also cyber-penetration of military website, including the Pentagon, in search of both hardware specs and strategic plans, in order to leap ahead of their prime "enemy" the United States, is also apparently hardwired into the Chinese government's DNA.
Recent reports of the slowing down of the Chinese economy, as well as highly touted reports of air pollution that makes masks mandatory for Chinese people in several cities, and reports of thousands of vacant housing projects waiting for the tsunami migration of rural Chinese people into urban environments notwithstanding, the Chinese are nevertheless "on the march" militarily, economically and, in the view of the inner circle of their communist party, socially and culturally.
The government has abandoned their one-child policy, fearing a drought in population generation and a shortfall in productive workers in the oncoming decades. And, uniquely consistent with Chinese totalitarian tyranny, the Chinese government is putting pressure on both people of any religion and people without any religion.
It says here, in fact, that how a country confronts the question of religion, including all strains of fundamentalism rampant in all world religions, could well foreshadow the cultural and political storms of the rest of this century. The eruption of radical Islam is not only undermining moderate Islam, but could be part of the Chinese motive to stamp out religion from their society.
Pluralism, on the other hand, including the open and unrestricted engagement of people of all faith communities, and with those who call themselves atheists, runs counter, even anathema, to the communist need for complete and perfect control of their people. Pluralism, like democracy that supports and fosters it, as does pluralism support and foster democracy, is messy, unpredictable, sometimes heated and disruptive and often generates more heat than light, in an intellectual sense.
Shifting policy and practice in a totalitarian regime is demonstrably quicker, easier and much more adaptable than shifting direction in a democracy in which religious traditions, beliefs and practices are deeply embedded into the public consciousness. Hence, power, authority and control are much more easily managed, implemented and passed on to successive "regimes" in a state that does not have to bother with the messy and often disagreeable and certainly inconvenient obstacles presented by people of all faith communities.
Similarly, human rights, as a public issue, is starved for the oxygen it needs in a state in which religion is considered anathema to the public good. When the "people" are reduced to productive robots, moveable, replaceable and disposable in the same way as lumps of coal, to be burned in the furnace generating the most widgets at the lowest cost, all of the tenets of religion, including tenets like "created in the image of God" and "do unto others as you would have them do to you" and "love your neighbour as yourself" are so not only foreign but actually dangerous to a totalitarian regime, dependent as it is on the most reductionistic premises of financial, military, political and productive power. China has not so far been either willing or able to marry its ambitions as a leading world power to the corresponding need for human protections at all levels. What the state (government, communist party, inner circle of the politburo) needs, simply, is not to be fettered and impeded by the paradoxical and often contradictory pronouncements coming from the darkened sanctuaries and seminaries of the "religions".
Historic traditions of contributions to the welfare of the state, it is thought in states like China, can and do serve adequately as models of human contribution to the continuing growth and development of that state. Individual and even shared belief systems that centre on the possibility of a deity and a world force that might surpass that of the state, any state, (without becoming completely enmeshed with the state, as some radical proponents of Islam demand) threaten the supremacy of the state and of those whose careers, indeed whose very lives, exist at the behest of the state. The complete surrender and enmeshment of any individual to the will of the state, at least from these western Christian eyes, is as evil as the surrender of an individual to any drug gang, or to any growing behemoth like ISIS, AlQaeda, AlNusra, Boko Haram, AQAP, Hamas, Hezbollah without even beginning to consider the methods used by either or both state actors (like Putin, for example) or non-state actors like radical Islamic terrorist cells.
Existence of any group that can and will only be sustained through violence is as far distant from any legitimate belief in and practice of any religion as can be conceived by our limited human intelligence.
Hence, the belief in and the opportunity and freedom to explore "faith" as a legitimate component of a full, rich and enhanced human existence is not merely an extravagant and narcissistic "frill" like expensive cars and palatial houses, or exotic and erotic vacations in island paradises. Nor is it or can it be removed from the responsible exercise of political power and care for a people, the central purpose of all governments, regardless of the ethnicity or the historical traditions of the culture in which that government operates.
So, all governments, including the government of Ontario, must be watchful and scrupulous in their survey of the local landscape for potential terrorists, like those who allegedly were determined to blow up a bridge over which a VIA train would travel, killing hundreds. Governments must also be highly watchful of the strange bed-partners their governments sleep with, even if and when the proposed "union" of such expertise as China does possess, with the abundance of natural resources in Ontario seem like a perfect "win-win" agreement.
It is not that we fear a godless Ontario if China were to build a torpedo-like passenger service from Montreal to Windsor; nor is it a rape of all of Ontario's governmental and corporate secrets at the hands of the Chinese who would work here is such an agreement were ever consummated. (They can already do that from Bejing if they so desire!) It is in reinforcing the growth and development of a godless state with billions of people and the reinforcing of an appearance that such things as human rights and open debate and religious freedom (both to and from worship) and the transparent security of all people everywhere really do not matter if states in which all of those repressions do not curtail the opportunities of such states to spread their "wings"....economically, politically, culturally and ideologically.

(This piece was found on The World Post, a Huffington Post publication, on today's date.
Read and reflect on the potential spread of both the dangers and the efficiencies of godless states.

Karl Marx long ago disparaged religion as “the opiate of the people,” and now the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wants to ban all addicts. The Communist leadership of coastal Zhejiang province has declared it will double down on a long-standing but little-enforced rule that bars religious believers from joining the Party.
That move comes amid a widely reported tightening of the ideological screws in Chinese universities and across the media landscape. Professors across the country have reportedly been fired for speaking against the Communist Party, and the country's education minister declared last week that China should "never let textbooks promoting Western values appear in our classes."
December also saw scattered protests by Chinese students demanding an end to Christmas celebrations on Chinese campuses, a move supported by authorities in one Zhejiang city. One professor at a Party-affiliated university speculated that the recent moves to bar believers from joining the Party are meant to guard against “penetration of Western hostile forces," according to a Global Times report. (By Matt Sheehan, The World Post, February 3, 2015)

Opposing "western values" as a goal of Chinese education, would seem compatible with the stated goal of radical Islam, another ideological group that seeks to undermine and potentially remove western values from the planet. The Chinese methods and scope may differ from those of radical Islam but they nevertheless posit another "front" on the cultural, and ideological collision of ideas that are swirling around the world.
What would be the outcome of some merging of radical Islam's opposition to western values, education and religious practice with the godless state of China? Who knows, but even to contemplate such a merging is a little scary.

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