Ruling a non-self-governing society
For those who lust for power, ruling is a business: first is to reap interests from the fool, then to bribe the clever by harvests reaped, to let the corrupted clever to fool the fool. But the result is that, it ends up being unable to distinguish who is the clever and who is the fool. Some fools try to fool the other fools but fail, while some groups of clever are revolting to your rule. When we are ruled, we lose our self-discipline to rule ourselves.
“To rule” is a one-way power relationship. Citizens are not cattle in a farm, they should not be ruled. Citizens in modern states rule themselves, instead of being ruled. They choose a government as an agent to handle some chores, not to rule them as a boss.
Even professionals and coordinators are no more than agents. Take the example of a plumber. As you and I may not know how to fix the water pipes, plumber is a professional who can do something you can’t. But he is still your employee.
Yet it’s so weird to see in the 21st century that the most common power relationship among people is still “to rule” and “being ruled”. When we are talking about modern politics rather than medieval politics, isn’t it strange that we’re still talking about who rules whom?
In the political discussions among Chinese, the main topics are usually about how they should rule the others; or who should rule them, such as by some sages or elites; or who should be ruled by those sages or elites. None of the discussions ever talk about one ruling himself.
The problem of Chinese is their laziness in thinking. Once they get used to such laziness, the ruling class easily becomes tyrants, and those being ruled voluntarily become slaves. Such slavery is voluntarily. Those being ruled are reluctant to think seriously on their duties. They just hope to live a good life by obeying the orders. This kind of laziness nurtures slaves.
As we see, the government often accuses those opposing it as the reason of poor administration. Over the decades, Chinese has learned to make use of this kind of distorted argument: to blame on those opposing them as the reason of their mistakes. To those who hold this kind of thinking, what the authorities do is always right. All faults are their faults.
To most Hong Kongers and Chinese, most of them still hope to have a powerful man or a powerful organization to rule over them. This is the Achilles heel for them concerning the power relationship. They pray for the emergence of a powerful boss to give them his leftovers, and hope that their boss will give a hard hit to those who bully them. Such attitude will not attract normal leaders. Only dictators who wish to manipulate and take advantage from the situation will appear as a saviour to answer their wish.
Hong Kongers and Chinese just need a government with normal leaders. However, to have normal leaders, there must be normal advocates (or citizens) in the first place. Slaves hope for a powerful man to decide everything for them. Advocates choose leaders with logical thinking. They choose those who share same idea with them, but who is more powerful to make it their dreams possible to be realized. For the slaves, they hope no more from their leaders than a bowl of rice. Advocates are not afraid to argue with, or to point out the mistakes of their leaders. Slaves will only think of the possibility to change for a new leader when they starve. Advocates will withdraw their support with their leader when they no longer share the same idea. They will shift to another more congruent in idea.
Hong Kongers have much better hope than the Chinese to shake off their slave characters. Let’s work hard on it.
The Curse of Power
The spirit of democracy is based on the clarification of the source of power. In Chinese society, the source of power always remains vague and opaque. That’s why Chinese society still remains in the medieval times. In medieval times, people viewed the power relationship from the perspective “who rules whom”, not from the perspective of social contract or right and responsibility. That is why there is no civil society in China.
Democracy is knowledge. Whether there is a word “democracy” in dictionary is not the point. Democracy is only the threshold of other ideas of politics. Knowledge of democracy in a civil society is no more than kindergarten knowledge. Other topics like welfare and retirement plans are topics for undergraduates.
The value for the existence of power is one’s contribution and self-sacrifice. Those who are willing to sacrifice and contribute are rewarded with power to the extent of his sacrifice, but not more than that.
In reality, it ends up some people possess more power than they are entitled to, which ends up in corruption; some others are chasing for the power which they cannot bear, they end up becoming slaves. Why does power become the centre of the universe in human society? Idiom says, “Learning is the noblest of human pursuits”. If learning is no more but to become a bureaucrat, how noble is such pursuit?
If their understanding of power relationship is not distorted, political trickery will not be regarded as something natural.
Such distortion originates from a false philosophy two thousand years ago: belief in an omnipotent power which can solve all the problems. The omnipotent power of the God has been assigned to humans. Those humans just cannot bear the curse of such mighty power. It ends up all these humans corrupted with power absolutely, becoming deformed and lunatic. Such belief is power is a total disaster.
We don’t need sages to bear everyone’s responsibility. What we need is every one of us to bear his own share of responsibility, everyone makes his own judgement, that’s enough.
Our education never teaches us to bear our own responsibility, say, to pick up your gun to protect your land and family; to be a man of virtues, as your virtues give you confidence and firmness; to appreciate men with virtues and to expel the evils, both for the welfare of yourself and the public; to fight for your own rights, as it is your own life; to bear the responsibility which you can bear, as shouldering responsibility is a sign that you live your life.