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Politicization vs. Liberalization
真正政治家的唯一行为动机是要去将政治在社会中限制在最小范围之内。 一个将政治泛化的社会必然是一个腐败社会。 --- 陈凯
A conscientious politician's only motivation to enter politics is to limit the effect of politics in a society to the minimal degree. A society in which politics dominates daily topics and subjects must be a corrupt society. --- Kai Chen
The most striking contrast between China and America I have discovered since I came to the United States is the simple, most obvious fact that in China, politics and governmental activities dominate people' lives and society, while in America, politics is limited to a small corner in people's lives.
A political year in America is usually an election year. Other than that, people here in America mostly talk daily about sports, movies, health, work, entertainment, personal issues, love and sex, birthday, marriage, etc. Surely even in these topics, there is certain element of politics. But generally, people do not talk about politics and religion in public places and occasions that are not dedicated to such. People view politics not as important as other aspects in their lives, such as family, personal happiness, health, sex, etc.
It is an entirely different story if you go to China. Whatever the topic and subject people are engaged in usually are revolved around governmental policies, political rumors, complaints against certain governmental officials, world politics of domination, anti-West, anti-Japan and anti-America, middle-east, etc. Everywhere you go, you cannot escape politics, and you cannot get away from the Chinese government. Be it "for" or "against" the communists, people are obsessed with politics. It is as though without government and politics, the Chinese don't know what other aspects in life that are worthy of notice. China is indeed a governmental and political society. And indeed, China is thus one of the most corrupt society. Such is also true in some other places in the world. France for example where I visited many times, is such a place with a fervor for politics and international affairs. It is also one of the most corrupt countries in Europe.
Middle-east is also a place of anti-West, anti-Israel, anti-America political nut-case. All you see on TV about Islamic countries and regions are thousands upon thousands people protesting in the public places. It is as though they have nothing else better to do. It is as though their own lives have no meaning unless they are related to government and politics. What kind of society can this be?
These all remind me of the Chinese Cultural Revolution years. The most famous slogan at the time was "干革命“-"making revolution". People did not make anything of value any more, they were only making "revolution". We had no food, no school, no health care and medicine, no soy sauce, no water, no electricity. But we has plenty of "revolutionary politics". Even today, if something is wrong in China, people tend to first look for solutions in the government, in politics. They have totally forgotten about themselves, what they can do to change things as individuals, regarding their own lives.
The most curious and strange phenomenon in China is whenever people open their mouths to express their own opinions about anything in life, they will get a cautionary warning from others not to talk about politics. On the surface, this seems like people want to get away from politics. But in essence, this is exactly what lurks beneath people's appearances. That is: Only politics matters.
If China is ever going to be a normal society with individual freedom to express, it has to inch away from a society that is dominated by government and politics. People's interest has to be focused on the real issues concerning life, liberty and happiness, NOT power and intrigues in the government.
I challenge you to stay away from politics and governmental policies, and focus on the real issues of your life, your individual fulfillment and your personal pursuit of meaning.
Best. Kai Chen 陈凯