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The Problem with China: Insulting the State

This is the problem with China:

Lèse Magisté should never be a cause for incarceration anywhere. If a man cannot insult the state, or its embodiment/representative/monarch/dictator, the state is too fragile and self-regarding to exist in a modern environment. When we get things wrong, we should hold up our hands and step down to be replaced by someone better able to do the job. This happens with musicians. There are jobs for which I've been put forward which I have felt uncomfortable taking because of unfamiliarity with the material, or very specific technical requirements. I've only taken those jobs when the alternative to me was worse; which I will admit is a judgement call.

Why don't administrators feel the same, and simply say: "This is a new circumstance, and unexpected, we are trying to adapt to and deal with the situation as quickly as possible to provide the best response. We fucked-up in the initial phase because of X,Y, and Z and bureaucratic incompetence. Those responsible for the incompetence have been demoted. X, Y and Z are being dealt with. The chaps who pointed out the bureaucratic incompetence have done the nation a favour; but please don't keep harping on about it as we have enough egg on our faces already."

Instead the Chinese do the first part and then imprison the whistleblowers. And the US, the UK, and other places are careering down the same path.

I'm more than happy spending my time insulting BoJo. And Trump. When they come for me I guess the rest of you can consider that to be a canary in the mine sort of warning.

We may be a bit dim as a nation in the UK; but I don't think we are quite there yet. It is true we have voted to cut our own legs off; but we are investing in a very good wheelchair.

But back to China. Come on chaps, you are meant to be intelligent. You know what a single outside context problem can do. What if we have a couple coming over the horizon; unseen, unknown... ?

An outside context problem must be extrinsic to the structure it affects, but it can also be something not understood in our current thinking, something that we have generated ourselves. If current-model capitalism is the context, then climate change could be considered to be an extrinsic modifier; however it is part of humanity's overall context. An AI may modify all sorts of things at its own whim, but it's still part of who we are. If the Yellowstone Caldera blows and the resulting quakes drop California into the ocean, we still have seen it coming. But prophesy doesn't equate to policy. An outside context problem is, for the purposes of this definition, one that our polities, and economic and social structures cannot cope with. The bubonic plague was certainly that. Covid 19 isn't.

China's leadership and structures failed here. And failed not for an antibiotic-resistant Yersina Pestis (oh the joys to come as antibiotic resistance bites) but for a slight superflu of 1% mortality.

And just suppose there are watchers, marking us out of ten, so to speak. Imagine there's a Culture/Vulcan/ET vessel just outside our abilities to detect, trying to analyse where it wants to land? Would it pick, lets say, Japan over China as presently set-up?

Of course, there is no outside context problem - there never is until there is one; if you will excuse the tautological construction.

Commenting on this Blog entry will be automatically closed on May 8, 2020.


So, a few days ago I complained that the Chinese response to Covid 19 showed how badly China had failed. And I mentioned the idea of an Outside Context Problem causing international pandemonium and opined, quite candidly, that Covid 19 wasn't it. It wasn't the Plague without a cure and with a 48% mortality rate.

Which has become a salutary lesson in how to be proven wrongly inadequate in ones predictions in a very short space of time.

However bad the Chinese response was, it was in comparison with the responses from every other polity not too bad at all. And it appears in our modern and reduced world full of modern and reduced people who have suffered grade-inflation, opinion-inflation, and ego-inflation to go with the financial inflations inflicted by zero-hours contracts etc...

It becomes evident it doesn't need an OCP to bring our culture to a halt. A series of events can do quite as well. We are really close to the Late-Capitalist disaster once foretold. And that is because we have given our present form of capitalism free rein and, given their head, those damn capitalists are heading for the cliffs. And dragging us with them.

How far away from riots are we? How many days of supermarkets without food?