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Apr 25, 2009

Jackie Chan head-kicks free societies.

Cartoon; by Ramirez.

Sometimes its just great to sit back, relax, and watch something you don’t have to think about too much while reading the paper or whatever, and martial arts films tend to fit the bill. I quite like Jackie Chan, he’s a great humorist, entertaining, not as cerebral as Chuck Norris (LOL), or as self-righteous as Steven Segal. Jackie always gives me the impression he is actually taking the piss out of the genre.

As a guy who has made his name and fortune in the free world one would expect him to support freedom, which has allowed him to get where he is. An item in Wall St. Journal indicates otherwise:

"I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not," he told an audience at a regional economic forum in southern China Saturday. "If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic." He continued: "I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want."

Mr. Chan, a Hong-Kong born actor of "Rush Hour" fame, isn't the first to claim that Asians would rather have prosperity and stability than political freedoms. (Think Singapore.) This implies, wrongly, that Asians are somehow incapable of genuine self-rule and need to be "led" by their superiors. It also ignores the vast economic gains made by free nations compared with their authoritarian counterparts.

Mr. Chan has in the past spoken out against Beijing's massacre of democracy advocates in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. In recent years, however, the actor has softened his position on China's leadership. In 2004, he called Taiwan's presidential election a "joke," although he later apologized.

Mr. Chan's latest comments were denounced in Hong Kong and Taiwan. "It's really shameless," Hong Kong legislator Leung Kwok-hung said, "his success in Hong Kong was the product of the freedom of expression [here]." In Taiwan, Bi-Khim Hsiao, international affairs director for the Democratic Progressive Party, called the comments "counterproductive to all the efforts of the many freedom fighters around the region." Neither government dignified Mr. Chan's jabs with a formal response.

If Mr. Chan is really so gung-ho about China's political system, he might feel more comfortable living in Beijing or Shanghai than in say, Los Angeles, where he maintains a residence. It's a pity he won't be able to watch his own movies there; his most recent film, "Shinjuku Incident," didn't clear China's censors.
H/t The Agitator, "Freedom’s Just Another Word for Not Enough Control."
He reminds me of a conversation I had with a prominent Liberal Party identity in the 70s where I was explaining the difference between libertarian ideas and Liberal Party ones. The reply was, “If your ideas were implemented, then people would be able to do anything they like.” (It was meant as a criticism.)

People with these sorts of opinions naturally see it as control we can believe in, - where the sort of things they dislike and only those things are what is controlled, while the freedoms they like are left alone. Of course in a democracy there is that nasty aspect of the people electing parties who feel differently about just what controls are needed. That is why there needs to be a total rethink by both left and right along the lines of leaving freedom in the hands of the people.

It may be a little chaotic at times, but once you allow freedoms that you disapprove of to be overturned, the stage is set for someone else to overturn yours, and it is a damn site harder to retrieve those you have lost, after all your mob will be too busy inflicting some more of your prejudices on the other side to be bothered with minor details. The fact is that generally an incoming government will be reluctant to lose those powers that the other side gave themselves.

I notice that few Republicans are cheering on the current activities of the DHS, which seemed like such a good idea while they were in charge.

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