Teaching Liberty in China
“How’s that?,” you ask?
Imagine reading a novel about the Western experience of freedom. The story would start in Ancient Greece, then move through Rome and the setback of the Dark Ages. But it’s a mammoth text. You are still only at the beginning. The main action takes place after the invention of the printing press in 1440. You experience the Renaissance and the American Revolution but are still only near the middle. There is a whole other half to go. And it won’t be fun. You will discover that the Crusades of the Dark Ages, never actually ended. More disturbingly, you will experience an attack on the culture of freedom and prosperity from within. Increasingly, as you trudge through the pages towards the present day, you will see liberty abandoned. In literary parlance, the story is a falling arc.
Now imagine reading a novel of the Eastern experience of freedom. You might meet Lao Tzu, Zhuangzi and a few other free thinkers at the onset, but for most of Eastern history, freedom is a non-concept. The story could start with the slaughter of 65 million of the most individualistic and principled Chinese during the Communist Revolution, then slowly show the individualist spirit regenerate. The story of the East’s experience with freedom is little question, a rising arc.
You might argue that the West is as, or more likely to rediscover freedom, than the East is to realize it for the first time. You would be right, but for one major factor. Freedom is only possible among populations with high average IQ. This is demonstrated by Garett Jones in his book, Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own. In America and Europe, average IQ is falling. In Asia and China especially, it is rising. Of all the high IQ populations, the Chinese is the largest and fastest growing.
At the same time, China is reemerging as the world super power, a distinction it has held more times and longer, than any other nation. With the relaxation of the one child policy, there is a mini baby boom in China. And there are already more children learning English in China than in the United States. Still foreign to most Chinese, however, is the language of liberty. This is where I come in.
I am an American of Greek and Roman heritage. These three civilizations account for the greatest number of human discoveries and achievements, as documented by Charles Murray in his master work, Human Accomplishment. After the Greeks, Romans, and Americans, there are the Chinese. Joseph Needham believed that the contributions of the Chinese actually rival those made by the three aforementioned pillars of Western civilization. By living and teaching in China I am earning an understanding and background in the fourth great empire.
The language of liberty has been partially rooted out in English. It Chinese, it hardly ever existed. Yet with the expansion of the Internet and social media there is growing sense that there is something wonderful, forbidden, but now within reach.