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'We good now China?' South Park creators issue mock apology (theguardian.com)
888 points by dgelks 8 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 342 comments

I have to say, this is really the only way to respond to China when it comes to their no-humor censors: just come out and mock them. They don't really have any way to reply.

One wonders if there is an entire revolutionary class within China sharing South Park videos for freedom.

Sometimes we forget that getting disappeared in china is not just a meme.

Police will show up to arrest you just for posting comments online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCOAbkTs_a4

And so taking a stand like this is a privilege for those with status - a dude working in a newspaper stand wouldn't get away with this - but Trey Stone & Matt Parker have survived the worst the Scientologists could throw at them... they'll weather this one or, if China decides to throw pressure at ComedyCentral or whoever their corporate overloads are, then they can be ready to greet the Streisand effect.

I applaud them for doing this even though it'll mean nothing but trouble for them, any positive PR they're getting this will be drowned out by pressures coming out of China and the loss of a giant market - still, good on ya mates.

I expect that they need their self respect a lot more than they need the Chinese market. What will they do with another $10m each? or $100m... they don't strike me as G5 and coke fellas... Maybe more divorces?

They have been known to drop acid from time to time.

That's not an expensive hobby

Depends how much acid you do

Looks similar to what happens in the UK - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF_rvhsGjBM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1Xr4nfKsWk

Wonder what she typed.

Ah, there it is. “What about the UK? What about the US? Hmmm?” We’re talking about China. The state being able to disappear people is not okay anyway, which includes China, where it seems to happen a lot more frequently than other countries.

One is a country with rule of law enforcing its laws. The other is an autocracy enforcing the whims of the current ruler.

This is such a ridiculous framing, so in your opinion by this logic, if Xi was democratically elected by a free and fair election, and then proceeded to ban memes via a legislative branch that would be perfectly fine? I think what the UK is doing is equally shameful. This kind of "its ok when the west does it" type of narrative is why when I talk to Chinese students about censorship issues they can consistently point to Western censorship of topics with smugness.

"Oh but those things we ban here are anti-PC, so we are offended by them", sounds eerily similar to, "Oh but those things we ban here are anti-CCP, so we are offended by them".

There are two separate issues with China banning memes:

1. it's symptomatic of Xi's government being able to do anything it wants to (including killing people to harvest their organs) without any checks and balances

2. it violates our ideal of freedom of speech

One of those is a far more serious problem than the other. A democratic society can fix laws that don't live up to its ideals. A lawless, autocratic society cannot.

>A democratic society can fix laws that don't live up to its ideals. A lawless, autocratic society cannot.

China has mechanisms to change laws but they have to be routed through the proper channels. From what I understand, individuals can complain all they want, as long as they don't organize outside of these designated channels.

This definitely pisses off the % of western governments that use "grassroots" movements as an attack vector to undermine unfavorable foreign governments.

To paraphrase Yakov Smirnoff: "USA and Soviet Union have same freedom. In USA I can I can drive to White House and complain about Reagan; in Soviet Russia I can also drive to Kremlin and complain about Reagan."

Complaining about Reagan didn’t do much to protect us anyway, we gave our power away willingly.

The only effective way to change laws is to organize. "you can change laws, but you can't organize to do so" is in effect saying you cannot change the laws. And that's by design -- China is an autocracy.

"Individuals can complain all they want, as long as it is in their own homes, with no more than two individuals present, and they must be blood-related."

Both points are perfectly encapsulated in UK hate speech laws.

They subvert free speech with the heckler's veto, and there's nothing anyone can do about them, "democratic" or not.

People in the UK can vote out the government and change the laws that way. People in China can't.

The US is hardly perfect...

1. The US has long operated offshore prisons where human rights are routinely abused (though harvesting organs is never a thing I've heard of happening in them)

2. The US routinely silences comedians when they're reported to say something impolite or against the grain - remember Kathy Griffin?

What is your source on the United States government taking action against Kathy Griffin?

The US Government publicly shamed her over her post - https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/86987479808781926... this lead to hardships for her[1] that I believe aren't debated?

As per statements by the white house[2] and other branches[3] that twitter account is an official channel of US Government policy, I think this is reasonable and generally accepted[4].

1. https://ew.com/news/2017/06/02/kathy-griffin-donald-trump-br...

2. https://time.com/4808270/sean-spicer-donald-trump-twitter-st...

3. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/nov/14/doj-donald-...

4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rebeccaheilweil1/2017/07/11/tru...

If you don't like Donald Trump's conduct in office (I don't, incidentally) you and millions of others can organize and likely prevent him from getting reelected. If you don't like Xi Jinping's conduct in office...

...you can organize and likely prevent him from getting reelected if you don't have to deal with gerrymandering, can get votes enough to overcome the vote weighting of the electoral college, and if there's no foreign sabotage of the election.

I agree China and the US are in radically different places, but there are serious problems of some degree in many places right now.

If I was a Chinese citizen I probably 1. wouldn't be around anymore or 2. not be nearly the same person - I'm quite thankful I grew up in a society that let me read Marx for Beginners[1] at a young age and has allowed me to express myself - I support the HK protestors without any reservations and, even with the oval office being as it is, I think the US's government is far more fair and held to account than China's - still, it is counterproductive to the freedoms of America to constantly exaggerate those freedoms and hold patriotism over honesty. America may be a shining city on a hill but up close it's pretty clear to see the parts that are tarnished - we can work to fix those issues if we accept that they are issues, or we can insist there are no issues and let those hard fought for freedoms get taken away.

1. It's pretty hilarious and approachable for young minds, here's an archive version for the curious https://archive.org/details/MarxForBeginners-English

This is such a ridiculous framing, so in your opinion by this logic, if Xi was democratically elected by a free and fair election, and then proceeded to ban memes via a legislative branch that would be perfectly fine?

You've just described India under Modi...

I agree it's a bad idea to crush the will of the people under our feet and force them to bend to our will - which is why I completely disagree with your statement. I dislike China's government but I feel like America, with it's track record, really shouldn't start talking about how nice regime change would be.

For the time being, while the government may be autocratic, it is enforcing it's law and you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere in the world where the rule of law rules harder.

Disappearing a bookseller with no trial and imprisoning complainers is not the rule of law.

An autocratic government is inherently antithetical to the Rule of Law. They are mutually exclusive.

Please expand on what this "Rule of Law" proper noun you're referring to is. I am quite curious how it is a thing that democratic societies can have while tyrannies must lack it and I reeeeally suspect that your distinction will fall under a No True Scotsman fallacy.

The difference is simply "rule of law" and "rule by law". Rule of Law means the law rules, and all laws apply to all people, without considering their wealth or connections or anything at all, other than their deeds and the law. Rule by Law means people use laws (and often selective enforcement of it) to rule over others.


> The Rule of Law is an intrinsically abstract idea, which finds itself grounded in philosophical and moral conceptions. One of its most basic tenants is that all people, whether they be at the lowest level of citizenship or the highest, being the sovereign or government ruler, are all equal under the law itself. This means that no one is above the law, and any law that is broken should be equally punished across the board, regardless of status in society or local community.

> It is also associated with the concept of natural law, which basically claims that because we all belong to the larger human community, everyone must be treated under the same laws and possess the same rights.


> In contrast, Rule by Law is a concept that sees the governing authority as somehow being above the law, and has the power to create and execute law where they find it to be convenient, despite the effect it has on larger freedoms that people enjoy. To expand on this idea, rule by law is a method that governments and people in power use to shape the behavior of people, and in terms of governing a country, mass groups of people. This usually has the end goal of psychologically or forcefully persuading people to agree with policy decisions they otherwise would not agree with.

(from https://www.vannormanlaw.com/rule-law-vs-rule-law/ )

It is more about having a divided government. Many democratic societies have a separation between at least two, sometimes three branches of government, allowing for one to check the other. In the USA’s case, the judicial branch interprets law.

China lacks such separation, the judicial branch cannot check the power of the party/official class, they cannot interpret law and they definitely cannot enforce what the official don’t want to enforce (see China’s constitution that with freedom of speech, assembly, and so on...). By definition, this concentration of power is authoritarian, so these things go hand in hand.

But within the US we observed that the judiciary was hijacked by the congress with their failure to appoint a justice in a timely manner and lately the congress has been acquiescing to the executive - going against prior initiatives and momentum to stay in good political graces owing to the intense cult of personality over the executive.

I think from country to country the amount by which different branches check one another will vary - and I agree that stronger checks leads to a stronger government - I just disagree that this is a black and white issue rather than a grey one.

That is just another part of the check. The executive nominates judges, legislative approves judges, judges then interpret. Ya, it isn’t perfect, but you still have a few judges (Kennedy before and Roberts now) who are independent enough to sometimes do the right thing against their ideology (judges are mostly independent after being approved, so influence is limited).

So I generally agree with what you're saying, but I don't know if that makes enough of a difference, the US has more checks and balances than China but China does have checks and balances[1] and the US's isn't perfect - is the Rule of Law something that switches from off to on somewhere between those two points?

I really don't disagree that China's government is crap, but things aren't black and white, all peoples everywhere are struggling for a good balanced government and pushing back against oppressive governments - that said in China, while people are disappeared, there is a general rule of law for the general populace... Normal folks can get by with a decent orderly life, it's constrained and they do lack a lot of freedoms Americans enjoy, but I would draw a stark contrast between living there and Cambodia, Pakistan, Venezuela or Russia - those are countries where law doesn't rule and personal safety is no guarantee.

As an aside - oh look at this neat thingy[2] a rule of law ranking - I had no idea it existed.

1. In theory, at least, the communist party appoints the chairman - a number of seats within this representative board are freely elected, though some are essentially super delegates that get a guaranteed seat. More on that here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organization_of_the_Communist_...

2. https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/document...

None of China’s checks and balances proceed past theory. In reality, they just have a hierarchy and and as long as the top leader says something is ok, it is. Under Hu it was a bit better, since Hu was so weak, but in that case the result of the hierarchy breaking down was an increase in corruption.

Yes, China has laws and those laws are often enforced, you won’t get away with murder probably. But if an official feels like they want to intervene, all bets are off; the only recourse for justice are the whims of an even greater official.

And I’m not saying that China is a dangerous place to live: as long as you don’t go against the party’s (or a family member of such) interest, you aren’t going to be effected by a lack of rule of law (though you still have to be careful of rule by law). The pollution will kill you before anything bad happens to you in china’s legal system.

Are your interactions with the ruling sovereign within a given jurisdiction arbitrary or governed by Law?

Are the actions taken by the enforcement arm of the sovereign power fairly predictable according to the code of law they publish, or is there are there numerous uncodified “rules” you must also abide by?

Are political enemies executed or punished during regime changes, or are regime changes regular, peaceful and governed by law? Are the families of political enemies also punished?

Does the legislative power pass ex post facto laws or Bills of Attainder? Are property rights respected? Do laws pass through a formal process or at whim? Are Courts of Law and Equity independent?

So if the lady in China went down to the police station, called a lawyer, and got released 6 hours later, everything's ok?

If the folks in UK got released 2 months later, everything's ok?

Rule of law is not about whether the outcome in a particular case is good or bad, or whether a particular law is good or bad. It's about whether the outcome is arbitrary, and whether you have recourse when the outcome does not align with the law as written. When the state can arrest people and imprison them (or release them) arbitrarily, you don't have rule of law.

Does that mean if the law says the police have arbitrary discretion to decide who to imprison, then the outcomes align with the law as written and you still have rule of law?

How about if the law is written so strictly that everything is an offense, such that it's impossible to enforce on everyone, and you choose to not enforce it against people you like? Any case where it is enforced, you can still point to the law and say the outcome aligned with it.

And what if the law unequivocally says a certain group of people are slaves, is this justified simply because the outcome is not arbitrary and there is a codified rule of law? Whether the law is right or wrong does matter.

The relevant metric is whether you can reliably predict the outcome of almost any interaction with the government. If government actors are constrained by the law, you can reasonably predict what they will do. If the law is just a fig leaf, you won't be able to predict their behavior. No society is entirely autocratic or entirely governed by the rule of law, but they tend to cluster at one end or the other.

If I can predict that almost any interaction with the government will end in my destruction, that is not a sufficient standard of justice. The problem is not that chinese citizens can't predict the behavior of their government.

Rule of law is necessary, not sufficient, for justice. You cannot have justice if you do not know what behavior will get you punished, and you cannot know what behavior will get you punished if the government can act arbitrarily with impunity.

Edit in reply to below: the issue in China is precisely that the government's response to criticism is unpredictable. If Xi Jinping criticizes Chinese policy, that means a new policy is now in place. If a random guy on the street criticizes Chinese policy... maybe he'll be fine? Or maybe not. Depending on where and to whom he says it and how nice public officials are feeling that day.

And the problem with China is not that it's lacking rule of law, but that the laws are unjust. It is easy to predict what will happen to you if you criticize the government.

> So if the lady in China went down to the police station, called a lawyer, and got released 6 hours later, everything's ok?

If China elected Xi in a free and fair election, if they developed faster than light travel and clean fusion power then everything would definitely be ok!

But here in the real world I'd like to hear the story of this hypothetical Chinese lady who got a phone call, let alone a lawyer. Was she rich and a well connected communist party official? Or more likely this is just a made up happy fantasy, like warp drives?

The video of the Chinese lady is scary.

It also scares me that so many people are willing to say, "At least we have the rule of law unlike that video." If the end result is exactly the same, that's scary.

But also, as long as somebody can show you horrendous atrocities happening elsewhere, you are willing to let minor local infractions of the rule of law stream by? Just show orphanages getting carpet bombed and it's not a big deal if we mistreat immigrants. Show immigrants getting mistreated and it's ok if we arrest homeless for sleeping in the park.

When I was young, Germans were bad guys. Then Russians. Then Chinese or North Koreans. Back to Russians. Or Mexicans. Or Canadians. Fight for justice in Africa. Feel safe and secure in your own benevolent democracy.

Watch two videos of the exact same behavior and excuse one of them because it is happening in a place that practices the rule of law. Condemn the other because of their voting system.

Edit: the point is that neither is ok.

Rule of law is used by all states regardless of quality. What makes China autocratic but, say, national security letters non-autocratic?


Whataboutism, also known as whataboutery, is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent's position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument, which in the United States is particularly associated with Soviet and Russian propaganda.


Why does most of the Chinese use "whataboutism" to defend their country?


i certainly don't forget. I've been watching Russia and China from a very safe position of privilege in the US for many years. The last time I really worried was when I used to post dumb stuff on usenet in college, but in retrospect, I was never really at risk.

It's not privilege. It's a right the country has fought and died for for over 200 years. It's a principle the country was founded on.

"Privilege" has lost all meaning in today's world. It's just a word to throw around to slow how "woke" you are.

Calling our rights "privilege" is throwing out the struggle and sacrifice of everyone that fought for those rights.

You may have been Lucky to have been born in the US, but not Privileged

> Calling our rights "privilege" is throwing out the struggle and sacrifice of everyone that fought for those rights.

But isn't it the very definition of privilege, when through no effort of your own you get to enjoy the benefits for which others have "fought", "struggled", and "sacrificed"? How is it different from the privilege of being born into a rich (or just functional) family?

> You may have been Lucky to have been born in the US, but not Privileged

It looks like the word "privileged", through all these fights on social media, has got a bad rep :-) How is being privileged different than being lucky?

If I google privilege definition google tells me

'a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. "education is a right, not a privilege"'

Obviously whoever wrote that should be penalized because they mucked it up with their example, if privilege is a special right then how is education a right not a privilege?

But anyway, a privilege is something that is understood as something you have been given. The American Constitution holds that rights are something that one possesses innately, although a cynic might wonder what the difference is I think a close reading leads to the understanding that when a right is taken away it is by nature wicked that such a thing should be done, whereas the removal of a privilege would not be automatically unjust.

Thus by the American conception of things every human has the right to free speech, that China takes that away from it's citizens thus not make American's privileged - it makes China bad and its citizens oppressed for having their rights removed.

on edit: sorry about the many typos, not going to fix though as I am dealing with pneumonia and near bed time.

>Thus by the American conception of things every human has the right to free speech, that China takes that away from it's citizens thus not make American's privileged - it makes China bad and its citizens oppressed for having their rights removed.

A priori, in a natural state, there is no "right of free speech". It was fought for, built, implemented, and maintained. We are privileged if we are born in a country with solid institutions which grant you this right. That's all there is to the initial comment, I don't see why such a fuss.

Ok, well I put my kid to sleep and am still up so I guess I'll answer this.

I did not say that there was A priori, in a natural state, a right of free speech. I said what the American conception of rights is generally regarded as being - some support for my claims https://www.docsoffreedom.org/student/readings/equal-and-ina... https://www.aclu.org/other/bill-rights-brief-history - many other articles on same subject available and should be easy to find.

Aside from that one can easily determine that the authors of the bill of rights were quite clear in almost every instance not to "grant rights". For example in the first amendment it says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." most people say the First Amendment grants Freedom of Speech, but anyone with a decent grasp of the English language would have to say that it only makes it illegal to limit that freedom.

Now of course I am myself not quite happy with assuming inalienable rights to exist, it seems more reasonable in some ways to assume they were fought for or granted, that they came from somewhere and are not natural to humans. On the other hand I am at least as reluctant to assume a natural state and that I can know what rights, if any, might apply to that state.

So if you can expound on your knowledge of this natural state, please do so. I merely expounded on what the generally understood American conception of rights was, and did not presume to claim to know the truth of that conception.

Close, but not quite. In a state of nature (natural state) you absolutely have the right to free speech, among many other natural rights which are innate to you. You simply lack the guarantee of the ability to exercise that right when in a state of nature.

In the absolute state of nature there is probably nothing to stop you exercising that right, unless you are eaten by a carnivore just as you open your mouth to declaim.

The CCP is a very BIG carnivore.

"rights" as defined by libertarians and anarchists who follow the non aggression principles, are assumed as axiomatic, or considered "self-evident" to them at least. It is a belief based on a form of trancendencent morality above the whims of flawed humans, but universally exist (somewhere) in the hearts of all humans. There is no proof of this of course, but many believe it.

Kindergarten and first grade might be rights, but if students don't graduate they learn that later levels are privileges?

Education is a right to all, not a particular person or group, hence not a privilege.

But specialized education and the extent of that education is a privilege. Not everyone has access to the same levels of education.

Absolutely. For example, in the 4th grade, my group ("advanced" students) was allowed to test for a Gifted and Talented program (only the students in the "highest" level of classes could take the test).

The G&T program was basically training for grad school: indepdent study, project-based learning, access to computers and internet when they were rare, etc.

That training made a huge impact on my career (I am a post-scientist ML expert at a large internet company). I mentioned the program to some folks I went to school with and they pointed out this G&T program was not ever offered to them.

Interestingly, these kinds of systems end up being important for the long-term success of a country. but at the same time they tend to perpetuate privilege. Students who weren't in the highest level of classes weren't even given a chance to take the test

> But isn't it the very definition of privilege, when through no effort of your own you get to enjoy the benefits for which others have "fought", "struggled", and "sacrificed"? How is it different from the privilege of being born into a rich (or just functional) family?

The reason this framing is despicable is that rights and privileges are not the same.

Being able to afford a Lexus is a privilege. Not everyone has it and that's OK.

Having access to clean water is a right. Not everyone has it and that's not OK.

Free speech is a right. Everyone should have it even if some people currently don't.

You can't just say free speech is a right. Every country including the US has restrictions on speech to varying degrees.

The US draws the line at true threats, and inciting imminent lawless action, among others.

New Zealand now draws the line at simply sharing a manifesto along with anything else decreed by the Chief Censor.

China is much more strict, but who's to say where the line should be drawn? Not even western governments agree.

If you ask ten different cartographers to create a map of the world, you'll get ten different maps. That hardly proves that the world doesn't exist.

We decide where the line should be drawn through argument and public debate, and by refusing to comply with weaker definitions from anyone who can't convince us using reason that where they want to draw the line is actually in the interest of the people.

I think that this distinction isn't widely understood as the definition of privilege. If you look it up in a dictionary privileges you'll see a lot of definitions where privileges are defined as a special case of rights so they are most definitely not mutually exclusive


That's just reinforcing the point. Privilege is a special "right" rather than a universal one that should be held by everyone, something like the right to be called doctor (held only by someone with a doctorate) as opposed to the right to due process (which should be held by everyone).

Due process is a human right in a way that having a title is not.

Due process should be accessible to everyone but until that's actually the case it's still a privilege of the people who have it. The fact that other people should have it doesn't mean it's not a privilege to the people that do.

(It's still a right by the way, as I said it can be both)

Edit: Anyway, I don't feel the need to argue this since it's just a semantic argument but the general thesis is that I found your narrow definition of privilege to be surprising compared to how I've experienced people using it but English differs over geography so idk.

I think the heart of this is the is/ought distinction.

When you have a right to free speech and then someone puts you in jail for exercising it, it isn't that you don't have the right, it's that your right is being infringed.

Calling it a privilege that you don't have any time someone is infringing on your rights would mean that nobody's rights could ever be infringed, since any time they were infringed it would merely mean that you didn't have them to begin with. But you do. People have human rights even when someone is violating them.

Being able to afford a Lexus is a privilege, but it is not an example of capital-P "Privilege" [1]. Not every lower-case p privilege (perk) is an example of capital-P Privilege.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_privilege

The point is the opposite -- not every right is a privilege. Some are inalienable and their denial is a human rights violation rather than merely an instance of economic disparity.

That a right is "inalienable" is a construction such as any other right or privilege. A social construction enforced by solid institutions. You only have the "right to life" (however inalienable you think it to be) because there is a whole system of laws, courts, government, law enforcement, that grants you that right in practice.

Everything is a social construction. Does that mean we should descend into relativistic nihilism, or that authoritarianism is acceptable merely because it exists?

Human rights are defended when we as humans refuse to stand idly by while they are violated. Which is why it's still important to identify the lines that are not to be crossed.

Muddling the fundamental safeguards that allow a free society to exist with the petty jealousy of who has a bigger house is only a boon to the despots who would tear those safeguards down.

You're conflating the existence of a right, with the freedom to exercise that right. Just because a government/society/group/etc infringes upon your ability to exercise your natural right does not mean it doesn't exist. The concept that the rights of the individual are derived from the individual is the basis for a lot of classical liberalism/enlightenment thinking, which in turn is the basis for most of today's modern governments.

You speak of privilege as an absolute category; I was thinking in more relative terms. If you take two people, of whom one has access to clean water and the other doesn’t — wouldn't you say that the first is in a more privileged position than the second?

So I'll tell you why I really hate the term in this context.

The common usage is to describe an unfair inequality. One person is feeding steak to their dog while another is starving. The spirit of the accusation is that the better off person is too well off and we need to even it out by knocking them down -- since we can't feed steak to every dog, since we can't give everyone a private jet and a mansion and a harem, the people who have those things are contemptible for not giving them up to help the less fortunate.

Human rights don't work like that. It isn't the case that people in free countries could help out people in authoritarian countries by giving up some of their free speech if only they weren't so greedy and selfish. They're not using up all the free speech so that nobody else can have any.

It's possible for more people to have free speech, and due process, and clean water, without taking any of it away from anybody who currently has it already.

Which makes the relativistic comparison counterproductive. It isn't a zero sum game. China should have it independent of whether or not New Zealand or America does, and they could all fully have it at the same time.

> The common usage is to describe an unfair inequality.

> The spirit of the accusation

Yes, this is indeed the common usage, which I find extremely puzzling. The word "privilege" has become somewhat of a pejorative term — an accusation rather than a statement of fact. It seems to have a stronger negative connotation than the word "luck", or the word "advantage", although it has a very similar semantics. I wonder how long this has been the case. Has this bundle of negative connotations come to be associated with this word during the latest culture wars (and if so, I would like to push back against this automatic "spirit of accusation" against those who happen to be in the privileged position), or is there a much longer tradition of such usage?

> It's possible for more people to have free speech, and due process, and clean water, without taking any of it away from anybody who currently has it already.

Of course it is. I am surprised that the presupposition is that a privileged person is necessarily taking something away from an unprivileged one.

> Calling our rights "privilege" is throwing out the struggle and sacrifice of everyone that fought for those rights.

Next South Park should do an episode that shows how greedy western leaders running opium/heroin for the better part of now two centuries, turned the most populous country into a paranoid dictatorial hellhole for the Chinese people.

US introspection would be too on the nose?

You ever ask yourself what percentage of the heroin/opium supply would be pulled off the market if China could extradite people from HK? More than 50%... and who gets hurt by that?

Many brave people have fought and died for their countries and rights. Its easy to forget that minorities and “unlucky” people fight too; knowing that you’re safe expressing your points of view is something that many have earned, not all have received. That very much sounds like privilege to me.

We need to avoid getting lost in minor internal debates. I agree some classes of people in America have had more difficulty exercising their rights, but they always had those rights and the courts enforced them usually. What we are talking about with China and Russia is totalitarian dictatorships that come and take you from your home and beat you and murder you for making a comment on the internet they didn't like or even sharing a Winnie the Poo meme.

We need to all band together to fight this or we will lose all of our privileges and rights.

You, uh, you could own people a few generations ago. There are women alive today who remember not being able to vote. To call that “some difficulty expressing their rights” is remarkably tone-deaf. And no, the courts usually sided with the majority (c.f. Plessy v. Ferguson, etc.)

Name a country that's never done it. Because I think taking criticism from them would be appropriate. Or at least someone who hasn't had an asshole ancestor in the last, oh... I don't know... 3 generations?

Let's just discuss what your ancestors did to my ancestors! Because holy crap! That'll definitely fix our current day problems! No better cure for the present than to yell at each other about things that happened a few hundred years ago! Maybe if we turn it into a card game, we can have tournaments and see who's the most oppressed every year. As a Polish-Jew, I wonder where I'm going to be in the rankings in historical oppression. Oh wait, it doesn't matter. I'm going to focus on today instead.

I’ll be sure to remind the millions of Muslims in Chinese concentration camps that they can rest easy knowing that other countries also sometimes commit atrocities.

Hey, hey, homie. I've been discussing that it's been going on here on HN and arguing against some apologists for the communist regime in China. Shove it.

The point to that statement, instead of trying to use this as a situation where America is to blame, because it always is, let's stick to the discussion at hand with China and their CURRENT atrocities. Because no country is innocent, no country is heaven sent. We're all trying to live in a world where this shit doesn't happen anymore. If we just look around and go "Well you're ancestors did this!" "And your ancestors did that first!", we're going to get no where.

Right, so I’m really curious as to why you’ve done exactly that, and then were exceedingly rude about it.

We fight to make this country what it is so that we can all stand together as one people, not so we can whine like little babies about who’s more privileged or marginalized than everyone else.

Acknowledging that rights are more readily and equally given to some people than others is not whining.

Which marginalized group, when fighting "to make this country what it is", hasn't been opposed and mocked (e.g. "whiny little babies) by the status quo at the time of their fight?

There is more to be done to protect, secure, and expand the rights of everyone. But they are still rights.

Privileges are things granted to you, often conditionally, by someone else. Using the word often sounds quasi-religious to me: "Thank Privilege for this meal we are about to eat, and our safe home, ...".

>Privileges are things granted to you, often conditionally, by someone else. Using the word often sounds quasi-religious to me: "Thank Privilege for this meal we are about to eat, and our safe home, ...".

most people didn't do anything do get whatever rights they are enjoying - they were just born into these rights while many other people don't have those rights. Pretty much definition of privilege.

> Calling our rights "privilege" is throwing out the struggle and sacrifice of everyone that fought for those rights.

That argument works for the Lords Privileges in England too - the ancestors of those Lords were brutal knights who fought bloodily to become the Lords and to get and enjoy the Privileges themselves and by their descendants.

I think you're conflating the exercise of rights with the existence of those rights.

"Being born "into" these rights" is close to accurate, but misses the point. You (and everyone else) are born with a basic set of natural rights which exist regardless of how much or how little you can/do exercise them. People have been struggling for hundreds of years to avoid having those rights infringed upon, not to "create" them.

Privileges on the other hand, derive their authority from a secondary source. Driving, public education, etc are good examples of "Privileges" where society builds/pays for something, and members of that society are granted the privilege of its use. Compared with your right to free speech, which doesn't disappear because someone/something infringes upon it.

> are born with a basic set of natural rights which exist regardless of how much or how little you can/do exercise them

There is no such thing as the "natural rights" except may be for the right to die (and even that is contested by many governments (and super-government-powerful organizations of the past like the Church was for example)). Any rights are created as a result of an [usually temporary] equilibrium between various participating forces established and supported by violence or a credible threat of a such.

Rights can, in theory, be had by everyone. Privileges are inherently for a select few.

Wouldn't the world be wonderful if all 7 billion people had free speech?

>Rights can, in theory, be had by everyone. Privileges are inherently for a select few.

when it is had by everyone then it is a right. Until that it is a privilege. For example voting in US was in the past a privilege of white male property owners, and today it is pretty much a right (if one discounts voter suppression state laws, etc).

Another example - free speech can, in theory, be had by everyone in Russia or China, yet it is really far from everybody having it there. Thus it isn't a right there despite that "can, in theory".

I understand where you're coming from and I thought twice about using that word. I certainly appreciate the work done to give me freedoms, and I agree luck had a big part of it.

But the reality is that as a white middle class male in the US, I do have the privilege to say things and do things in public that people who aren't white or middle class can't. The freedoms we have aren't equally distributed due to systemic racism and sexism.

I'm pretty anti-woke, actually, I hate the term.

I think the main issue is that the choice of the words "privilege" or "right", when used by enough people, has the power to set societal expectations. Why should a privilege ever be extended to more people, the people who have them should just consider themselves lucky they aren't taken away.

And I think there are plenty of things that are "privileges", but it's based on the idea that it is impossible to extend it to everyone. Being admitted to a top school is impossible to extend to everyone by the definition of a top school. Being believed in a court of law when it's just your word over someone else's, but being more trusted because you belong to a particular group is a privilege. Being let off with a warning at a traffic stop because you have the right face is a privilege. Living in the "good" part of town is a privilege.

Surviving a traffic stop without being shot by the cop should not be called a privilege. Being able to receive a competent education should not be called a privilege. These are things that can be extended to everyone and the words should reflect it, so that it's clear which things we should be fighting for, vs the things that are impossible for everyone to have.

Wouldn't the privilege be in the ability to exercise rights without paying a price like so many groups have had to in our history?

This all sounds like a confusing semantics game.

Every right has been resisted at some point. It doesn't drift in and out of privilege status depending on how must resistance is being applied at any one moment.

A right gains its power from people's belief that it should be universally granted, and that they will stick up for others when that right gets breached. Once a thing gets redefined as a privilege there is no expectation for people to stand up for other privilege.

A privilege is something granted/gifted to fewer than everyone, while not harming those that are excluded.

The left has tried to redefine harm to include "unequal result or outcome," which makes the entire principle meaningless.

We're definitely in the crazy years. A conversation about a Chinese crackdown on freedom, a country that literally throws minorities in jail for being minorities, devolves into a squabble over people in the US not feeling entitled to express their opinions, even though the letter of the law, every single politician, billions in private funding amongst corporations, banks and non-profits, does everything possible to ensure people feel entitled to express their opinion.

Can you give me an example of something a non-white, non-middle class person can't say or do in public? Maybe it's my limited world-view, but I can't think of anything specific.

Picking up trash on your own lawn (the officer involved in this faced no penalty and is currently getting paid in full until 2020 because he resigned).


As a minority male, I can pretty much say and do anything on public that a white person can say and do.

In addition, I am not viewed by a certain portion of the population as a oppressor based on my skin color.

If anything, sometimes I feel sorry for my white friends and am happy for my minority privilege of not being held responsible for things my ancestors did long before I was born.

If you’re an African American male you have to be very careful how you express anger, however justified it may be.

If you’re a female, it’s more difficult to be taken seriously or heard in meetings, and people constantly talk over you.

If you’re basically anything that’s not white, people will embarrassingly coddle or patronize you, if they’re not prejudicing you.

I never really thought about specific examples until I read this comment, but this is what came to mind.

What a ridiculous statement. The US is the least oppressed society in history. Especially for women and minorities.

there were laws through the 1960s and I think even later that prevents african americans and other non-caucasians from marrying caucasians.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia required Supreme Court to override laws that violated the constitution.

If that's your standard for "least oppressed", I think your standards are very low.

Believe it or not, a lot of things have changed since the 60's. Name a society with more rights, more opportunities for the historically oppressed. Deny reality all you want, you're only hurting yourself.

Canada? Anywhere in western/northern Europe?

The US is the least oppressed society in history.

What is ridiculous is to think that is an argument against the truth of parent's statement.

The parent statement is objectively not truth.

You're attempting to refute an absolute statement with a relative one; "--- are oppressed" / "--- are less oppressed than ever." These two statements are logically consistent.

I question your definition of "objectively" in this situation

Of the your two comments thus far, neither is even remotely what one might call a counter-argument. "Nuh-uh!" does not count. There's still time to edit the comment, care to throw me something more substantial to work with?

What does "least oppressed society", a comparative term, have to do with the claims made by the parent commenter? That designation does not preclude the existence of any disparity or injustice.

Where do you even begin to pick apart a statement like this... The US is completely fucked with regards to racial tensions, it's a complete shithole in that respect, for the standard of a developed nation. Race permeates public consciousness to a degree not really seen anywhere in Western Europe. Until the 60s there was institutionalised discrimination for crying out loud. Even today there is a measured, objective disparity in: arrests, convictions, police brutality, not to mention job applications and other areas. Can you compare this to a country like Spain or the Netherlands?

"Least oppressed society in HISTORY", this reads like a Trump tweet. Sure is some egregious lack of self-awareness.

Sure, if you (10 years ago) smoked a joint on the street, and you were black, you carried a far far higher risk of being imprisoned.

Where's the parallel between doing something illegal (10 years ago) and being able to comment on the political climate without fearing for your life/livelihood?

The unequal application of the law based on race. Equal treatment under the law is just as much a fundamental right as freedom of expression is and, arguably, equal treatment prevents the subtle and slow erosion of other rights.

The fact that African Americans are the most likely people by race to be stripped of their right to representation and political expression by a wide margin.

To clarify - this is via them losing access to representation by being deemed a felon, and a lot more African Americans are sentenced with drug possession or intent to distribute than any other racial group proportionally.

lol What an awful example.

Depending on where you are, simply leaving the house. Black people are more likely to be "randomly" stopped, more likely to be searched at a stop, and more likely to be arrested at a stop. Other statistics highlight similar issues faced by other minorities.


The article you linked draws more of a link between income levels and police violence than it does race. They explicitly say that the crime rates of low-income neighborhoods, populated by majority minority groups, are higher than that of more affluent neighborhoods. Furthermore most of the injuries happen when the person stopped has a gun, regardless of race.

Not great, and certainly unacceptable, but not equivalent to not being able to "simply leave the house".

if you want to deny the lived experience of african americans in the US, you're free to do so (it falls under free speech) but frankly I think making ivory tower-level statements like this ignores an extraordinary amount of evidence that african americans (and many non-caucasians) experience systemic racism that affects their economic opportunities and health.

I grew up in a majority non-white area, and am now subsequently living in another majority non-white area. I can count on one hand the number of beat cops I've seen in those cities. Seems to me if there's a higher crime rate, the amount of cops increases, and the likelihood you get stopped increases as well.

On another note, when did Caucasian become a term for white people? As an actual Caucasian, having immigrated to the US from a region near Caucasus, I don't get why people use the term so loosely. The debate is about skin color, just use skin color.

To introduce some humor into this deeply humorless world (this is a South Park comment thread), try hearing the word "Caucasian" as "Cock-Asian."

Ha! Gets me chuckling during every intense race-relation debate. I can't not hear it, now!

Parent: "substantive objective measurements show that nonwhite people are subject to systemic racism"

You: "yeah but I grew up in so and so and I never saw anything like that, plus I have a friend who is black and bla bla bla"

Come on...

The "substantive objective measurements" don't even need to be debunked, the article does that itself. My example wasn't to illustrate "no discrimination doesn't happen" it was to illustrate the fact that maybe, the relative wealth of different geographic areas, combined with racial demographics and crime rates, could have more to do with policing practices that JUST skin color. I specifically didn't bring up any of my multicultural friends or whatever, because my argument is not "I didn't see anything therefore it isn't there" but "fewer cops mean fewer people get stopped". Urban density which means that 1 cop can cover more people, and higher crime rate which means more cops are likely out on the street instead of on traffic duty, equate to more people getting stopped by police.

Go ahead and reduce my argument to a strawman and put words into my mouth, but don't act like you're contributing to the conversation.

The data shows that income is by far the biggest factor, but also that it is not the only factor. Income is the biggest differentiator, and therefore the priority issue to tackle, but "skin color" discrimination does happen and it is a factor to explain these disparities. These are two separate things that are important to remember.

I agree. My belief is that the racial biases of the police don't come from beliefs about racial supremacy, but due to the patterns that emerge due to the income factor. If we can solve the first issue, the biases will disappear. This is supported by the fact that the race of the officer doesn't appear to be a factor in police violence cases. It seems, to me at least, that removing the root of the bias would be vastly more effective than trying to instill counter-biases.

Exercise their second amendment rights? Note the differences in the stories of Philando Castile (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Philando_Castile) and Brandon Vreeland (https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/men-who-walked-into-dear...).

How about Erik Scott? [1] Or Daniel Shaver? [2]

These are just two incidents that immediately spring to mind to counter your cherry picking. White people are not free from the danger of being shot by police. In fact, there is evidence [3] that white people may be more vulnerable than black people in any given scenario, because scrutiny on police use of force has been applied disproportionately in cases of black victims.

1. https://reason.com/2012/06/12/family-of-west-point-graduate-...

2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/12/0...

3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2016/04/27...

As a white man with upper-middle class money to afford good lawyers, I can tell a cop to piss off when they're out of line and suffer fewer repercussions than others. I might go to jail for the evening (no biggie, I've traveled that road), but come Monday morning me and Ms. Pit Bull Lawyer, Esq. go smooth it over with the judge. If it even gets that far...'cuz, you know, I'm white.

This could all be in my head, but based on reporting and anecdotes from friends, I firmly believe that if a cop's being a dick and I call him/her on it, the cuffs will go on much more slowly than if I were another color or lived in a different neighborhood.

Anybody with good enough lawyers can tell a cop to piss off, you might even get the cop on a hate crime if you're non-white. I've got the same amount of anecdotes to suggest the opposite. My dad got pulled over because he didn't stop at a stop sign for the mandatory 3-mississippi in our neighborhood, and no lack of melanin in his skin would have been enough to prevent the ticket.

What I hear you saying is that in a hypothetical world where one can change race like changing a shirt, when confronted by on overbearing cop you'd choose "Black Man, size M" as soon as you'd choose "White Man, size L". And whilst telling the fine officer to piss off, you stand equal chance of living long enough to even need a lawyer no matter which race you chose that day. If I'm hearing correctly, I strongly disagree, but such are different perspectives.

Yes, watching the news these past few years we can totally see that cops get convicted for "hate crime" every single day.

They shoot innocent, unarmed men to death as a matter of course, and get off with a few months' suspension, but somehow you think you can charge a cop for a "hate crime" for getting pulled over (conveniently concluding then that it's the black folk who are "privileged").

No my point was that wealth supersedes race in police interactions. Look at the Jussie Smollett case, you can definitely stir up some anti-police sentiment if you're rich enough. The conclusion isn't that black folk are privileged, it's that if you are well-off and look the part, race will play a much lower role when you get pulled over.

Not parent, but thanks for the reply. In response to my own sibling comment I say, "hmm, I apparently was not hearing you right."

Yes, but there's still a pretty hard distinction between material privileges and actual constitutional rights. For instance, we don't criticize racialized police brutality because it's some maldistribution of police attention, but because it violates rights that are supposed to be inviolate.

> "Privilege" has lost all meaning in today's world. It's just a word to throw around to slow how "woke" you are.

It gets thrown around a lot, but it absolutely has a meaning.

Ever know anyone who says that "they ignore politics"? In many cases, those people come from a place that they can do that because it doesn't affect them that much, and certainly not as much as other people.

For instance: today the supreme court in the US is deciding whether it's ok to fire people for merely being gay.

To not have to worry about that is 'privilege'.

Oh and in Argentina Pro-US-"Freedom" Party make disappear protesters or poor people claiming for their rights, and I don't see that in CNN or in Twitter. If you post something in Twitter against the actual administration they ban you from using some services or even finding a job.

Nobody's forgotten that it isn't a meme.

This is true of all countries. Try posting threats about federal employees and you will also get arrested.

Threatening someone's life is a bit different from a cartoon, and it should get anyone arrested in any country, with some consideration of context, of course.

I was under the understanding that words generally don't rise to the legal definition of assault (at least in the US).

"words" doesn't mean anything. Making a death threat isn't just "words". [0]


Well, lets not forget their detention camps for ethnic minorities they don't like: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/23/china-footage-...

I mean at this rate, I seriously think in a decade or two, we're going to find a Holocaust level event has been going on in China that's going to make the Nazis look like amateurs. But instead, we're focused on stupid left/right political differences and figuring out whether gender binary bathrooms cause anxiety.

Holocaust level events have already happened in China. For instance, Hitler was responsible for ~11million deaths, Stalin ~6-9million and Mao was estimated at over 40million.[1] Currently China has an entire ethnic group under full lock down where millions of “terrorists” and their families are already interned in large camps where there are reports of forced sterilization.[2] Due to the pervasiveness of technology things will likely get much worse. However I disagree with the assertion that we are not doing anything because we are distracted by civil liberty issues such as trans rights I think there are far more economic factors involved. Furthermore, using the unrelated tragedies of other countries to accentuate polarizing partisan topics diminishes both the severity and legitimacy of an argument.

[1] https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/02/05/who-killed-more-hit... [2] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7546833/amp/Chinese...

For your information, Mr Hitler killed over 5 million people.

Mao killed way over 30 million. Absolutely incompetent, he manage to remain in power just using terror.

The other day there was an 70th anniversary of the founding of PRC and this criminal's gigantic picture was at the hotspot.

Oh, I know. I'm a Polish-Jew. The actions of the communists is not shrouded to me. It's just a shame that the western world is so apologetic to them, I'm forced to use nazi references. Communists make fascists look like little-league amateurs playing with crayons when it comes to genocide. That's played out multiple times in multiple places in the 20th century. The real power of the communists though, they do a far better job at having a smile on their face and making everyone else think "Genocide is good for the party". Kind of like how everyone still this Che is some hero and wear shirts with his face on it. Oh, and that 30 million is just your average, run of the mill murder. The numbers of starvation due to piss poor policy, greed and power hunger are estimated to be even higher than that. Like that good ol' four pest plan. That worked out so amazingly well.... idiots. You reap what you sow... oh wait, they couldn't.

Technically speaking it's not really apples to apples. One is due to malice (hitler was actively trying to exterminate a race). The other is due to incompetence (mao would've preferred if those people didn't die but was too stupid to predict the result of his actions).

Not trying to defend either of them of course. But just for the record books we would should have a saner way of counting.

If you're going to attribute deaths due to lack of foresight then the inventor of cars probably have one of the highest kill counts. Or Genghis Khan for fathering such a large population of mortals who eventually needs to die.

> When there is not enough to eat, people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.

I think you are overattributing his stupidity here. Engineered famine is a fantastic way to make sure populations that don't like you are less of a problem in the future. The Holdomor and Irish Potato Famine are two other obvious examples.

You're not aware of how communist regimes form. They're actually really smart in this regard.

You kill everyone that doesn't agree with you, along with their family. That's anyone who didn't fight with you either. Let along just against. The 20-45 million that died from famine is in addition to a rough estimate of 30 million killed during and shortly after the revolution. You see the same in Russia too. Oh and in Cambodia. They all actually focused on the "intelligentsia" community first. Cambodia just decided to wipe them all out. Russia and China were big on making double sure they were with the party (not just neutral), before they passed up on killing them. The book 1984 really wasn't accidental in that regard. The more you could think for yourself, the more dangerous you were to the party.

It's not an accident that people are scared to criticize these governments. That's where John Steinbeck really fucked up in his book the Russian Journal. Saying "Oh, do you know anyone that's disappeared because of the soviet regime". If you don't know any Russians (at the time)... I mean, duh, you're probably not going to. But talk to even one dissident against the soviet regime in any of the eastern bloc, they'll give you a list of names of who they personally know.

Lack of foresight and intentional starvation of an entire generation of people are two VERY different things.

Putting ethnic minorities in concentration camps is an early-Holocaust atrocity today.

> Putting ethnic minorities in concentration camps is an early-Holocaust atrocity today.

Yep. But maybe we should fix Guantanamo first

Or maybe it's just a Japanese-internment level atrocity.

This is utterly unhelpful whataboutism. The japanese internment is not ongoing, is broadly recognized as an atrocity, and has been formally apologized for by the governments involved.

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Liberties_Act_of_1988

- https://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/1988-government-apologizes...

It’s never a good sign to need to split hairs over which caliber atrocity is being committed. That being said, separating children from families is genocide according to the Rome statute, so this pretty high up on the list.

I don't mean to minimize any atrocity. But it is interesting to note that some of the strongest opponents of Chinese behavior have done similar things in the past, and perhaps even through the current day.


My speculation, the problem is the huge dependency the USA has on Chinese manufacturing and now on investments (Hollywood, Silicon Valley, etc). Like, as much as these tariffs are going to hurt us in the short term, I'm not fully against them. It's just like an business, you cannot have a large portion of your income come from one client or rely on just one supplier. You become far too dependent on them and are not willing to cross them, even if their demands don't align with you or really isn't advantageous for you in the long term. But you'll always move that goal post a little for short term happiness until you did it so much, you realize your goal post is in a whole different country.

I'd personally like to see far more diversification in USA imports and exports. A 21.5% dependency on Chinese imports... when I did freelance years ago I panicked over the fact I had a customer that made up 12% of my yearly income. I quickly did a reach out to obtain new customers so I could drop that to roughly 6%. While I understand geopolitics is a different ball game... it's really, really dangerous to have a 20%+ reliance on a supplier. Being shut off that easy on that much of goods and materials, that easily, is pretty scary.

Brainwashing millions of people is a terrible thing to do, but I don't believe it is on the same level of atrocity than genocide and mass murdering.

Nazis did not try to "assimilate" Jews by forcing them to reject their religion and traditions, and by forcing weddings between aryan and jews (could you imagine that ?).

There have been reports of Mengele-tier experimenting on Uyghur prisoners such as unsedated organ transplants. If these are true I'd say it's already on the same level vertically and only has horizontal scale left to exceed.

It's still genocide under the definition in the genocide convention.


I was referring to "Chinese government's mass incarceration of ethnic minorities". The purpose of these camps is to brainwash these people so they lose their ethnic (muslim) identity and do not even think about rebellion.

This is terrible and horrible, especially children separated from their parents, most probably for ever. But once again it is a totally different "evil" than what Nazis did. It would be closer to what North Korea did to their entire population.

Organ harvesting is a different issue, it certainly happens in Xinjiang but also in any other place in China where there is prisoners. I mean, China government did not put in place all these camps just for taking organs or for forced labor, from an economic perspective it would be a nonsense.

I'll say, I was a bit of a dick to you in my response. So sorry. You clarified your stance a bit.

But, you're falling into the trap. Every time "re-education" camps have popped up in history, bad things happened. Very bad things. You don't give the benefit of the doubt to this. The organization in question always claimed the whole "we're just helping" and other bullshit.

Ever meet a habitual liar? Someone that just lies and twists facts constantly. Even when they don't have to. Gives you an aneurysm from having to deal with their constant bullshit? It's more for their own sociopathic dominance ego rather than just the situation's consequences. But they just twist and manipulate every fact or try to skirt around issues with rhetoric. A reason why lots of folks hate lawyers, because that's literally their job to re-interpret facts and laws to suite an outcome (yes, not all lawyers are like that, a bit of a generalization, but it's to communicate a point). That is what is happening here.

They're not detainment camps, we are re-educating people here, to be proper Chinese citizens. No, Chinese people don't die here.

This can be valid statement and millions of people could be buried under the floor boards. China has a wonderful practice of making people "non-people" or we westerners would just view that concept as "non-Chinese". One example was during the 1 child policy, child 2, 3 and so on, wouldn't be granted Chinese citizenship, even though they were born in China, by Chinese parents. So, if you have an ethnic group you don't consider Chinese, because you can "take that away"... well of course they don't kill or harvest from Chinese people!

This is how communists communicate. This is soviet old hat doctrine. There are no Russian spies in America. Yes, because technically they're Soviets. There is no problem with any Russian nuclear power plants. Yea, because it was in the Ukraine. Or how about a shit ton of that denial from the recent blast in August until forced to admit it? Got to love their wording though on the people killed: “A bright memory of our comrades will forever live in our hearts." They died in an explosion... bright memory...that's fucked up by the way.

Lying without lying. We all use to make fun of this shit in the 90s and early 2000s. What happened in the 2010s? How did we all forget that communist regimes are the best at double speak? The only way to deal with this is call out their bullshit for exactly what it is and not back down.


Do you really believe that all the people actually incarcerated in these "re-education camps" will actually be killed directly or indirectly (forced labour, starvation) ?

If it is the case then I agree it would be comparable to holocaust or other genocides. But it is not what is happening at the moment, and I am convinced it won't happen (there has been no mass murdering in Tibet afaik)

Yes if given the chance. Economically it's actually difficult to do so, as the Germans and Soviets learned. If you don't have to hide, it makes it even easier. And denial rhetoric, which has never changed, helps them greatly in achieving that goal.

"Well, we don't have evidence that these camps involve killings. So, we're not going to investigate it. We're going to do business as usual."

As a Polish-American, here's a fun one. Look up Jan Karski. The dude that personally witnessed the extermination camp atrocities, escaped and reported to Western Allies in WW2. Even met with FDR. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter who heard the reports, "I did not say that he was lying, I said that I could not believe him. There is a difference."

Saying you don't believe someone is the same as thinking they're lying. "I believe you, I just don't think you're telling the truth." Doesn't make sense. "I don't believe you, but I think you're telling the truth". Doesn't make sense either.

But this is why I get fired up to all Hell about this stuff. You don't want to believe it. Look up BBC reports of interviews with people who got out of these camps in China. I mean, if there's organ harvesting, I highly doubt they're waiting for a natural death. That's all we know right now. It's supremely hard to believe it can stop there.

History never, ever changes. It's just different names, different faces and different blood spilled. But it's always the same stories and the same lies.

Thought Police caught in action.

>One wonders if there is an entire revolutionary class within China sharing South Park videos for freedom.

I've noticed a trend on this site in particular where we collectively wonder if our western media is a part of Chinese counter-culture. Is this hubris uniquely American?

Is Winnie the Pooh not Western media?

Of course Western media is part of Chinese counter-culture. We live in a global society. The interesting question is how large a part - and which media?

That and the idea that Chinese citizens see themselves as oppressed. As crazy as it may seem to us, they're overwhelmingly supportive of their government.

If they weren't, how on Earth would you know? Being anything other than publicly "overwhelmingly supportive of the government" gets you killed.

I believe many Chinese citizens are aware that their situation is not ideal ("oppressed" is probably not quite the right word), because I believe at least some subset of Chinese citizens are not brainwashed morons and any idiot can see what's going on.

If they really had overwhelming support, they wouldn't need to censor so hard. Banning images of Winnie the Pooh demonstrates weakness.

I think many Chinese citizens are taught from a very young age a carefully crafted ideology that tells them that their country used to be oppressed by the west, that the west despises them and looks down at them because they are Chinese. At the same time they are taught Chinese people couldn't handle the kind of "freedom" that exists in the west because politically the country would fracture and chaos would ensue, also if weapons were available as they are in many western countries people would be killed on the streets etc. If personal freedoms were respected criminals and terrorists that hide behind them couldn't be dealt with effectively and the only thing that stands between the people of China and anarchy is the communist party. This ideology is a mix of national pride with intentionally planted feelings of being inferior and resentment towards the west for their historic "crimes". This results in a mindset that acknowledges democracy and freedom is better in the west, but it could never work in China and West's attempts to bring it to China are actually cynical attempts to destroy everything China's achieved in recent decades wealth and military power-wise.

When the majority of the people think as described above the only thing that can bring change is an economic downturn, but would that change be for the better or would it be in the direction the North Korea is taking?

To be fair, the Chinese have in fact been treated horribly many times in many places by many other countries including at least the US and Japan.

Don't forget the Opium Wars and the Eight-Nation Alliance against China. Almost all powerful states in Europe fought against China in the 19th century. My mainland Chinese friends know those conflicts in detail from their history classes, something that is not taught in much detail in schools in continental Europe.

But hasn’t other people been treated worst? The country of India, the entire continent of Africa, and how about all the Native Americans? Do we need to hold grudges from our grandparents parents? According to that logic, the world forever would be in a mode of revenge seeking.

I always find this argument preposterous as someone ethnically Chinese hearing it from a nationalistic Chinese, 10 years younger, from China full of fervour. What exactly have they experience in life that is so full of hardship? To me, it seems like a convenient excuse to brush away any criticism of their actions. No one can criticise them because of what X and Y did to them 150 years ago. Seems like a cop out to me.

I suspect the Chinese government has something to do with this mentality.

Our grandparents' parents? Excuse me, but I think you may be misjudging my age a bit.

> any idiot can see what's going on

Yes? Would you want to try circumventing the great firewall without getting caught?

I fear the Chinese are mostly supportive. Most Germans also supported Hitler before things went awry, and his election results were superb even before massive manipulation began.

There was still a substantial minority that didn't support him and resisted at great personal cost, much like some educated Chinese citizens are resisting at great personal cost now, knowing that many share their sentiments, but assuming that most people will find a way to look beyond the propaganda seems overly optimistic to me.

Don't large numbers of professional chinese who work on the internet use VPNs to get around the firewall?

My insight into this comes mainly from professional Chinese scientists who were previously trained in the US but returned to China because there were better scientific opportunities. Many of them have told me (in person, while visitng the US) that they have to use VPNs to get their work done, and as long as they are relatively cautious, circumspect, and don't repeat what they see to others, they are tolerated.

Some Chinese companies are allowed to bypass the great firewall, but only if they demonstrate that they comply with the governments monitoring and filtering requirements themselves. I know of a couple companies that are in this category. They don't need VPN's. They have circuits to all continents, but they are also just as vigilant as their government. They are also required to provide all encryption keys. I am not naming names.

>some educated Chinese citizens are resisting at great personal cost now, knowing that many share their sentiments

It seems we agree.

>assuming that most people will find a way to look beyond the propaganda seems overly optimistic to me.

Most people? Yes, that would be overly optimistic. But enough people to render "overwhelming support" inaccurate? Not overly optimistic at all.

Not that hard to understand, given that the current government has increased their quality of life immensely.

China comes from having the majority of its population starve, thanks to Mao.

And before that there were 5 centuries of China going down that ended in things like USA ships patrolling its rivers, and Europeans their coast being in practice a colony and experiencing humiliation of watching external powers siphon out your wealth being too weak to protect yourself.

When the tendency is good everything if fine. When the tendency goes down, things will change.

And how was that measured?

One of the lessons from the falls of authoritarian governments was how big a gap there was between public expressions of support and peoples' true feelings.

That's a really good question. You can't realistically go door to door asking people if they support their oppressive government. How do marketing folks get a pulse with public expression of opinion or survey results? Click rates and referrers on controversial stories?

I remember reading somewhere (The Atlantic, maybe?) that, while Western people highly value individualism, Chinese people value the collective. That may explain the ostensibly huge support for the PRC.

The West used to value the collective, or community and society as we were more inclined to call it.

The neoliberal experiment that started with Reagan and Thatcher put paid to that, and it's become all about the individual. Even when it is clearly to the detriment of individuals.

The neoliberal experiment that started with Reagan and Thatcher become all about specific individuals, those who already had big $$$

>As crazy as it may seem to us, they're overwhelmingly supportive of their government.

And North Korean's overwhelmingly praise the "Supreme Leader" with tears in their eyes. Ever see old video of Hitler addressing the masses? The people seem overwhelmingly supportive.

Well, In the previous century when Eastern Europe was under Soviet occupation American and western media were a part of counter-culture. This was limited to records and books and near the end of that time also included VHS tapes. It is not that far fetched to imagine that what used to happen in communist countries 60 years ago could have its equivalent in today's China.

There's also the fact that western media is extremely popular in oppressed countries. For example: Osama Bin Laden loved Disney cartoons, and Kim Jong Un has a macOS lookalike linux distro on his computer.

I wonder if Kim Jong Un browses HN

Isn't it basically soft power that you are refering to?


> Is this hubris uniquely American?

Probably not, but evidence does point towards a general attitude of "surely everyone wants to be like us, we are the best country in the world afterall"

>"surely everyone wants to be like us, we are the best country in the world afterall"

To be fair, that's generated from many immigrants who come to the USA with the feeling that "this is the land of opportunities and freedom". Granted, when you come from somewhere like soviet occupied Poland, it doesn't really take much to find a land of opportunity and freedom. But other immigrants from other countries say the same.

If you're an American and a majority of your experience with foreigners are the people that come in saying that, and one of their proudest days is becoming an American citizen, you generally get an idea that America is a pretty good country. As a first gen, I don't see American's having pride in their country as fully unwarranted. It's not like other countries are without their fuck ups.

American pop culture entertainment is by far the most dominant worldwide.

I wish I knew Mandarin. Just watched the episode, and although it's not needed to appreciate it, the Mandarin probably is another layer of humor.

I got that impression because I watched "Mexican Joker" after that, and when the immigrant kids arrive at the detention center, and the welcome is being translated for them, the mangled Spanish, while brief, was brilliant in its mangling. I appreciate that care to detail.

> “Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts.”

It's interesting that we used to think the more connected we were the more other countries would see and appreciate our democracy and start to adapt it.

This is the first time I can remember communism and censorship flowing the other way.

> “It’s not worth living in a world where China controls my country’s art,” says one character in the episode.

About sums it up.

I think middle-class Americans tend to overestimate human appreciation for freedom. In my experience, most people in the world, including US, will trade freedom for prosperity in a heartbeat.

Communist regimes collapsed not because they deprived people of their freedom but because their economies failed.

Autocrats like Putin and Xi are popular at home because their economies are growing and people's lives are improving, even though individual freedoms are slowly but surely eroding.

Trump was elected and is still in office because he gave hope for prosperity to people who had long lost it, and they will support him no matter how damaging he is for the rest of the country, the world, or their own freedom.

> Autocrats like Putin and Xi are popular at home because their economies are growing and people's lives are improving, even though individual freedoms are slowly but surely eroding.

Neither Russia nor China have free elections. The Russian economy is shrinking fast and Putin's popularity is disingenuous. That may not be true for Xi. The Chinese are riding a humongous economic growth, they don't question their party much because they like the results and don't want to rock the boat.

The hope may be, in the long run, a free society will eventually reject the burdens of a non-free society once it notices the cost. But the non-free society will catch and spread the idea of individual human rights like a virus. A good virus, of course, in my opinion.

> One wonders if there is an entire revolutionary class within China sharing South Park videos for freedom.

Oh, there certainly is, especially among the richest of the rich. The whole point of censorship is for control.

Back in I think 2011, Pakistan threw up their hands and gave up censoring the Internet, because trolls has so inundated popular websites with banned memes. This was during a conference where the prime minister was trying to lure investors and show how modern Pakistan was, while all of YouTube and Twitter had just been blocked.

Censorship is an up hill battle. It is way easier to defy them than it is for them to block us.

>One wonders if there is an entire revolutionary class within China sharing South Park videos for freedom.

There certainly is an entire generation who is ready for reforms if not an outright democratic revolution, but no I don't believe their end goal is freedom to pirate South Park video clips.

Agreed - daylight is one helluva sanitizer.


Please tell us that tankie sloganeering was sarcastic.


Cool, I'm gonna flag all your propagandistic bullshit comments.

Please don't break the site guidelines like this. Seriously not cool, regardless of how bad the other comments were.


Your choice! Workers of the world unite!

Please don't troll on HN.

The need for a revolutionary vanguard makes it clear who is really uniting: the revolutionary vanguard. Whether that unity helps workers is secondary.


The workers of the world should unite... for actual democratic socialism and not just doing whatever the fuck Xi Jinping says at the point of a gun.

Before this episode I always wondered why they kept making those bad transformers movies, turns out China loves em.

I think its fine if people want to make movies for the China market, but what I find alarming is copycat behavior trying to bring that sort of censorship here.

It doesn't make any sense to me why anyone should apologize or censor themselves creatively just because someone got salty about it. I find the notion limiting someones creative expression to someone else's judgement of "appropriate" to be despicably egregious.

Sure you can vote with your dollar and time by not watching something you don't like, but its the creators prerogative what to create and what not to create.

Anyone arguing the contrary on the effects of censorship has not looked into the origin of the word.

It's really not about morals at all. It's about money. China is the world's most populous country, and a surprising number of American industries are fairly dependent on revenue from Chinese customers. This effectively gives China indirect control over multiple major US corporations. Until recently, this has been hidden behind the scenes exceptionally well, but the curtains are being pulled aside as China is becoming much more brash in their demands. They're effectively demanding that Americans censor their speech in certain contexts or else China will hurt American corporations doing business there. And they're getting away with it.

Why don't they create a version specific to China and censor it all they want? Why do we all have to be bundled in that censorship? Only because it is easier marketing and the are saving on logistics?

If western companies happily comply with their censorship demands, why would they bother?

Yes, it comes down to saving a few $$$ for the next quarter. And when box office decrease due to alienating the western viewers the executives shrug their shoulders and blame it on streaming instead. To be honest, I couldn't care less, the stuff geared to the lowest common denominator for a few continents is not on my watch list anyway, and hasn't been for a long time. The only problem I foresee is on my part, explaining my kid why we won't be watching such and such Disney show.

And I don't mean that I will make sure my kid won't be able to consume such content because it is censored or dubbed down to please Chinese markets, kid's to small to understand, but to the increasingly crappy quality of these shows.

Every artist that cares about mass market appeal has to self-censor, lest they not offend a large market segment.

That is the point this episode of South Park very deliberately avoids talking about.

Nobody's stopping them from creating art. Really is, unfortunately, putting constraints on which kind of art is going to get bankrolled by millions of dollars of say, Hollywood money.

Those constraints have always been there, and will always be there.

Want free speech? Don't ask for other people's money... They may have opinions about what you should say, using it.

The point of debate is not about self-censuring in order to get bankrolled, the point is about contesting using the law to actually coerce someone from creating what they want, which is what China does, and the potential influence of that mentality onto our culture (and the slippery slope to law).

Yes, it is. It is exactly that.

It's just that phrasing the issue as:

"My artistic freedom to make whatever art I want, AND to make millions of dollars in China is being infringed upon by China's domestic policies."

Doesn't sound particularly noble...

The law does not compel you to censor your art. This self-censorship is driven by greed, not legislature. If you aren't interested in selling in China, their laws on speech have no impact on you.

Once your country's media companies are getting a big chunk of their revenue from another country, though, it is nearly inevitable that they will tend to produce content that is inoffensive in all of those markets. It is similar in mechanism to how a committee is not a great way to be innovative. This is a downside to a globalized media economy which I think has not been widely understood.

>Before this episode I always wondered why they kept making those bad transformers movies, turns out China loves em.

...Which is hilarious, because they are heavily subsidized by the US military for advertising reasons.

What’s kinda funny is how made fun of China was in past South Park episodes[0] and China didn’t care at all about the show, but last week’s episode was the one that set them off.

[0] “The China Probrem”: https://images.app.goo.gl/mDqxY6pSuNHtA66M8

Comedy is not dead. Comedy can change minds. Comedy is powerful and attacks the self-important and authoritarianism. Comedy can take on serious challenges in the best way.

> John Cleese in On Creativity said: "the self-important always know with some level of their consciousness that their egotism is going to be punctured by humor -- that's why they see it as a threat. And so {they} dishonestly pretend that their deficiency makes their views more substantial, when it only makes them feel bigger. {John blows "raspberries" with his tongue.} No, humor is an essential part of spontaneity, an essential part of playfulness, an essential part of the creativity that we need to solve problems, no matter how 'serious' they may be. " [1]

Not everyone is appeasing authoritarians, definitely not South Park.

China is Cartman right now "RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!!"

[1] https://youtu.be/Pb5oIIPO62g?t=1544

Comedy is threatened by corporations and people assuming the position for tyranny.

To be fair for Viacom, they still haven't pulled South Park. In fact, they renewed it until 2022. Yes, they've forced censorship here and there. But when you take South Park as a whole, you'd be hard pressed to find a big entertainment conglomerate who would allow South Park antics. Matt and Trey really don't take prisoners and Viacom has been bank rolling that. They've done what they can to protect themselves legally, which yes, is censorship. But again, to be fair, they're running a business. It would make far more business sense just to shut down South Park instead. So, for that, you can't just totally shit on them. Maybe just a small poo fling. Maybe two. But that's it.

South Park is in a unique situation, because they make fun of everyone, it's less toxic to brands than a show that has offeneded a specific group.

I don't know, I think they pretty much offend everyone poignantly. At such a level I find it hard that a brand, especially these days, wouldn't be scared to be affiliated with them. To their credit, yes, they tend to offend both sides of an issue in a rather honest way. There's a good reason they got a liberal award. They play middle fence pretty damn well... so well the group giving the award didn't know they were republicans.

Still, they do specifically call out groups. I can't think of any that are actually safe or get a pass. I mean, they rag on Christianity and Judaism all the time. Then they do an episode harpooning and calling out atheists & Dawkins for being a bunch of assholes and make the case that religion isn't so bad.

I don't know if we'll ever see another South Park. Tight turn around times on episodes so their content is fresh and relevant. Best example of balanced opinion thus far... as a show where kids swearing and making fart jokes are the tame/mild highlights of the episodes... It's just... I think it's a straight up anomaly, not simply a unique situation. Seinfeld being as long running, successful and "sophisticated" show, that was unique. South Park said "hold my beer" to that and then shits in your hand just to get laughed at by a fat kid with an alien dish satellite popping out of his ass. And we are all okay with it!

> I don't know if we'll ever see another South Park.

We need more, not fewer South Parks.

Not that I agree with their every riff (being of the Evangelical ilk) but their irreverence is as American as the 1st and 2nd Amendments.

We either wear our South Park with pride, or become as Hong Kong or Venezuela or another country people are fleeing.

Comedy faces a greater threat from the "woke" #metoo crowd at colleges and online than any profit seeking corporate entity.

Why are we conflating "woke" PC culture with #metoo?

One is about being offended by things, the other is about coming forward about having been sexually assaulted or showing solidarity for them.

Let's keep clear and separate distinctions between people being offended and people being raped.

I think they're referencing the mob-like mentality that built up around #metoo, trial by social media etc. See the Al Franken fiasco, for example.

To me women's rights needs to be distinguished from #metoo for this reason, but in any event I don't think the gp comment was totally inappropriate in equating "wokeness" and #metoo as having a large social impression management component (even if you disagree with it).

Truth. Ask Chappelle... "You people are the worst motherfucker's I've tried to entertain in my life!"

Maybe corporate comedy. There will always be a joke in dark places. You can find books written from the jokes told by those in the Nazi concentration camps.

"the pessimists are in new york, the optimists are in auschwitz."

source: woman i cared for when working in a home for the elderly. she had a number tattoo.

Do you have any examples of such books?

Going off the Wikipedia plot summary of the episode, it looks like it makes fun of (a) Chinese-American people (not the Chinese government); and (b) paranoid fantasies of Westerners about China invading the U.S.; and ultimately "Cartman decides he'd rather be Chinese than "a nation of unethical dick shooters"".

My model of the Chinese government at the moment is that they primarily care about opposition/disrespect/criticism of the Chinese government. Does anyone have data points as to whether they care about, say, present-day racist insults of (a) Chinese-Americans; (b) Chinese living in China? Might be interesting to see where the lines are drawn.

EDIT: After writing this I realized the parent comment was talking about an episode of South Park from S12, not the recent episode that led to the ban in China. I'll leave this up but read into this with that context!

You should really actually watch the episode. It's a blatant dig at China's government, censorship policies, and treatment of political prisoners. Its treatment of `China invading the US` were not out of `paranoia`, as you say, but based out of reality. It attacks Disney for making similar concessions to the Chinese government in its MCU movies.

Spoilers, but deeper analysis:

Randy's story arc this season appears to revolve around surrendering your morals for the next dollar- for example, last season he turned down a deal with a large marijuana corporation to continue his home-grow operation, but proceeded to create a partnership with them in the season premiere to ensure his stake in South Park's weed market. The scene where he garrotes Winnie the Pooh in this episode, to me, is an extension of this same theme- the sellout of what we've taken as sacred, except now, it's to China's CCP. Contrast that to the name of Randy's farm, which is a bastardization of the word `integrity`.

The entire segment about the band biopic in this episode is basically saying the same thing but far more overtly.

The parent was commenting one the episode linked in that image (S12E8), since that was that GP compared the current episode to.

Damn! Thanks for the clarification there, I'll edit my post to reflect that.

Without touching on the ethical / moral aspect of stereotyping or disrespecting large groups of people, I'm curious if "racist" is the right adjective here, vs some other term that relates more to nationality vs biological ethnicity?

The way South Park employs xenophobic/racist/sexist tropes is interesting - they are either so silly that its really hard for anyone to take offense, or they spread it around so much - no one group is ever singled out - and no one group is ever spared. That gives us all permission to laugh at them, and laugh at ourselves, when the time comes.

Or... the portrayal isn't actually targeting group of the character embodying the trope. It's targeting those that hold such tropes, in a way that exposes the absurdity of them.

There was a movie few years ago, Tropic Thunder. Robert Downy Jr is in black-face the entire movie, and it's hilarious - and somehow he isn't cancelled. Why? His character in the movie is a white, self-serious method actor (he stays in character all the time), who had medical treatments to alter the pigment of his skin in order to portray the African-American lead in a movie. And his depiction is one giant super charged trope. But the actual butt of the joke isn't black people - its actually the pretentious actors and Hollywood in general. In essence, its making a statement about the absurdity, self-importance, actors, studios, etc in Hollywood, and the lack of the social justice and equality there.

South Park wields "*ist" tropes in a similar way, and I think its incorrect to think of it as racism, or xenophobia, etc.

In South Park, there's one black character in the cast, and his name is Token. As in the token black kid. Out of context, and on its face, it might seem racist. But its saying something else, just like RDJ's role in Tropic Thunder.

To be more precise he's the only black fairly major child character. He has a family, there was Chef in earlier seasons, there are a few black minor recurring characters besides those, and there are black single-episode characters. But yes, after the death of Chef it turns out Token is the only major character who is black.

Tropic Thunder Robert Downey Jr. compilation from youtube for context. NSFW due to violence and swearing:


Agreed! FTR I wasn't accusing SP of being *ist, rather looking for something like "xenophobia", as applied toward people from a particular nation; in this case, perhaps "Sinophobia"?

> and his name is Token

Thank you, it just clicked...

I think it is the right adjective for what I have in mind. Scenarios I was looking to compare include "Celebrity uses race-based insults (e.g. slurs, references to stereotypical physical attributes) against a Chinese-American, or a group of them", vs "Celebrity uses race-based insults against a Chinese person living in China, or a group of them", vs "Celebrity condemns X action by the Chinese government". Ideally, one could find incidents of each type with similarly high-profile celebrities at similarly high-profile events, and then compare the responses.

> how made fun of China was in past South Park episodes

Well, stereotypes of Chinese aren't eloquent enough to piss off the CCP. As a mainlander, Band in China is a spot-on satire about China under Xi's ruling (apart from the background music), and every threat to the legitimacy of the authority would be quenched while making fun of Chinese ppl is by no means harmful.

That episode is 10 years old and falls under the pre-Xi era leadership. Under Xi, authoritarianism in China has been increased next to China enforcing such policies beyond their own borders.

Slight tangent: A previous episode of South Park (Super Best Friends) also showed a picture of Muhammad [1], which caused zero problems. A later one (Cartoon Wars) had Muhammad censored by Comedy Central because it was after the furore over the Dutch Muhammad cartoons.

I guess with all these things it’s about context and the political climate.

[1] https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMjJmMTUzOGEtYjEyNS00...

It shows the current political climate is unusual.

Sometimes it just shows that something got viral where others didn't.

You could have 200 things mentioning a country or situation, and only 1 or 2 going viral and getting some kind of major response.

It's not like South Park is the only show making fun of China either -- so of 100s of shows and comedy sketches, etc, it was some part that touched a nerve or accidentally got more popular there...

I'd say it also shows that during the period of intensified political pressure, things are more likely to go viral and trigger a strong reaction.

Had any one or any group of people left any impression that they can be consistent across long time frame?

If so, let me know, I'd be very interested in studying their logic thinking and memory, and how they manage to be consistent at all.

That said, there are billions of reasons why things was reacted this way or ignored altogether, and later differently.

That's the norm.

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