Acquired Tastes

“Perhaps an appreciation of authoritarianism is an acquired taste.” 

Antony Lowenstein’s “Unleashed.” 

Sometimes communicating tone is difficult, though perhaps applying the word “thoughtful” to Naomi Klein hints at problematic analyses.  

And how that appreciation is aquired tells us something.  Lowenstein is interested in the pull of nationalism, on display as impetus both to host and athletes.  What that pride encourages – and discourages - is at least as important as its unsurprising power. 

This understandable (and universal) pride leads him to note surveys that find the Chinese happy with their lot in life and seldom troubled by restrictions, such as those on the internet.  He suggests an appropriate humility before the varied ways in which a people can find such happiness.  And he links to a rich discussion of blogging. 

Such discussions equate the force of nationalism with Hitler, but that allusion misleads. Nationalism empowered men like Hitler and Napoleon, but also motivated the small boats that went out at Dunkirk and the Rosies who climbed into airplanes to rivet our way to air power.  Ideology & nationalism led us to fight for our independence and against slavery, but was it nationalism or ideology that impelled King George and the army of Lee?  Assuming that ideology is a purer allegiance, less tainted than nationalism, ignores giant graveyards.  So does simplifying the power of religion – such an abstraction ignores the variety of beliefs and tells us little about the moral consequences of a particular belief system.

2 thoughts on “Acquired Tastes”

  1. They are proud of those achievements and resentful of foreigners pointing out China’s shortcomings, especially when those failings don’t bother the alleged victims.

    Relative to what came before, they are not bothered. Making the leap that relatively less oppression is liberty is absurd.

    Appreciation of authoritarianism is not an acquired taste. The only people who acquire a taste for authority are politicians and people who have never lived in such a system.

  2. China has an inferiority complex and has had one for some time. Now they are a super economic power and getting stronger and bigger all the time. They want to assert themselves, thrust themselves onto the world stage: look at me, ma!

    We as Americans often belittle, put down, and of course rightfully deride their totalitarian state. But our derision will not make it go away.

    How much of what is right now is in your home has been made in China? You have helped pay for the putting on this big show.

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