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The Pigs Of Liberalism – Part 2

Let’s be specific about the term liberal here to avoid misunderstanding. It has nothing to do with the American sense of left, woken, or big government; nor does it have anything to do with the caricature of Europe as “neoliberal” and mercantile fundamentalism. Instead, we’re concerned about a venerable theory that believes human rights to be the highest importance, yet thoroughly acknowledging the need to harmonize the principle with society as a whole. For that reason, liberals should deal with ‘restrictions on freedom’. The harm theory, as established by John Stuart Mill in his treatise “On Liberty” in 1859, says that “the only purpose for which power is to be exercised” can legally be exerted over any member of a civilized society, against its will to avoid harm to others.” So there is nothing fundamentally illiberal in, say, a lockout to slow down Covid-19. Or a law forcing people to wear masks in public. Nor is it automatically illiberal for the Govt, in a situation of economic instability and distress, to serve temporarily as the sole economic player, to compensate companies and individuals before they can make a living again.

The issue begins when these interventions are adapted, expanded or violated. Our planet has been tilting towards authoritarianism in recent years. And many autocrats have seized the coronavirus as another reason to crack down on their opponents, the free press, the minority groups, and those they don’t like. Democracy and civil rights have declined in 80 countries this year, according to Freedom House, the US think tank. As 2021 dawns, is freedom in global retreat? Is “liberalism” past? The outlook wasn’t there all that bright at the beginning of 2020. In December, I penned “The Pigs Of Liberalism” because I feared that classical liberalism was going out of fashion and a new collectivism was becoming vogue. Covid-19 has accelerated that preexisting trend.

In mature democracies like Germany or the United States, checks and balances exist strong enough to discourage such dystopias in the near future. But the climate for political and civilized dialogue, a precondition for any modern democracy, has degraded. The biggest guilty parties are conspiracy theorists, who still excel in times of plague by exploiting the privilege of freedom of speech and assembly—the basic principles of liberalism—and spread lies and disinformation.

But along the way, Covid-19 has also been a perfect pretext for the cynics and autocrats. Although they do not physically tyrannize individuals, they gradually blacklist them technologically or, under the pretext of contact tracing, create new technological tools and monitoring software. China has gone the furthest, linking biometric, banking, and other intimate details about people without their permission. Also democratic countries, such as South Korea or even Singapore, gradually have the technology where they could turn from transparent to Orwellian with the flick of a switch. The employment of surveillance technologies in countries like South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, has proved immensely effective in controlling the virus, but the ICJ has expressed concern that they may continue to be used even when the pandemic ends.

[Instead of a backlash, many governments have seen their popularity increase as people turned to them for direction during the crisis. "The virus is the enemy and people are put on a war footing. This allows governments to pass oppressive laws in the name of 'battling' the pandemic," Josef Benedict of Civicus, a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists, told the BBC. "This has meant that human and civic rights have taken a step back. "It cites increased surveillance and tracking - currently used for contact tracing - as well as the imposition of strict laws intended to stifle any criticism as some of the ways in which this happens. Given that many of these measures are introduced as a response to the pandemic,
there is little to no resistance against them. - Covid: How the war on the virus attacked freedom in Asia] – BBC.

Liberal politicians will be the first to protect the right of these people to disagree with government decisions or to view medical evidence differently. But the voters had given up their own right to question reality and evidence that vandalize their intellectual, psychological and cultural commons. Economic is another illiberal pattern. It precedes Covid-19, too. China, in particular, has presented its type of state capitalism as a counter-model to responsive and dynamic business economies in the West. In reaction, Western countries have begun to lean toward further state intervention. Collectively, the market economies of the world have thus taken a significant turn in the general direction of central planning. As the coronavirus recedes next year, any policymakers would be tempted to expand this strategy, even under the umbrella of “Green Deals” to tackle climate change. Underneath these discrete policy areas, a more general suspicion has been spreading that markets, capitalism, elections, rules and entire systems are all somehow rigged. Liberalism and individualism, according to this meme, are the doctrines of the elites, for the elites—”liberalism” as the writer Patrick Deneen puts it in “Why Liberalism has Failed.”

The concern for 2021 is whether or not Leviathan will be able to wean economies back from large stimulus packages, furlough schemes, default suspensions, subsidies and other measures. German economists, for example, warn that their country could have 800,000 zombie businesses next year. There are companies that most likely to have collapsed and left the industry for reasons unrelated to the pandemic, but have been kept going artificially by government policies. This experience is understandable at first blush. Many younger people, the so-called Millennials, were first buffeted by a financial crisis of 2008 and now Covid-19, don’t believe like they’ve had a decent chance at building their lives and are gradually supporting “socialism.” Everywhere, the poor have been hardest affected by Covid-19, clinically and economically.

What has been forgotten in this climate of crisis is that liberalism is not the root of these challenges, but rather the ideal starting point for seeking solutions. If there is a meta-crisis above all these issues, it might be what Timothy Garton Ash calls “disparity of esteem.” Cultures have been divided as people see each other less as individuals and more as members of competing classes and stereotypes: cosmopolitans versus bumpkins, ‘anywhere and anywhere,’ ‘wakes’ or ‘deplorables,’ those coming up and those slipping back. Perhaps the agony is less about feeling bad than about feeling unrecognized. This is the psychological landscape that populists are manipulating.

Tradition that truly esteems every citizen, regardless of class, color, sex or zip code, is classical liberalism, with its emphasis on personal liberty. It’s worth returning this mission back to 2021. Now let’s not wait for long. It was a bad year. Let us make a liberal case for a better, healthier future.

 

SojoüRner

 

Part 1 is published here.

 

 

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21 Responses to “The Pigs Of Liberalism – Part 2”

  • xoxo:

    Pig$ indeed!
    BITcoin$ can FLY like *flying pig$*?

    From a couple of hundred USD just a few years ago to almost USD 20K AND BACK DOWN TO ABOUT USD 5K and skyrocket to surpass USD 18K and onwards to USD 34K all in one parabolic *jerk* in under a couple of months?

    This all in a pandemic and economic standstill?
    What is the logic?
    Technology?
    I think its irrational exuberance but the MAD PIG$ WILL PUSH IT INTO OUTER SPACE?!

    EVEN SOME GOVTS ARE SECRETLY BUYING?

    ITS A MAD MAD WORLD.
    *VIRTUAL* MADNE$$!

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  • oxygen:

    @ SojouRner

    BRILLIANT ARTICLE BEAUTIFULLY written here. Thanks for sharing.

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  • oxygen:

    @ SojouRner

    MOST PEASANTS ARE CLUELESS of how INSIDIOUS of evolving technology is in its SILENT INTRUSIVE INVASION of OUR physical, social and FINANCIAL SPACE.

    SojouRner:But along the way, Covid-19 has also been a perfect pretext for the cynics and autocrats. Although they do not physically tyrannize individuals, they gradually blacklist them technologically or, under the pretext of contact tracing, create new technological tools and monitoring software. China has gone the furthest, linking biometric, banking, and other intimate details about people without their permission. Also democratic countries, such as South Korea or even Singapore, gradually have the technology where they could turn from transparent to Orwellian with the flick of a switch. The employment of surveillance technologies in countries like South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, has proved immensely effective in controlling the virus, but the ICJ has expressed concern that they may continue to be used even when the pandemic ends.

    Technology is a thief at night and a robber/kidnapper in broad daylight.

    Here are a few easy illustrations.

    Debit card transfer the risks loss of bankster’s incompetent digital security architecture to customers. Your token is a handcuff that makes you work day and night for your safe deposits because bankster denied/renege its security obligations of safe-keeping your your deposit money (when you are the creditor not the debtor of your bankster) for its frivolous ridiculous claims that you are in control of two-password security token – even if someone spied on your debit card number and make unlawful withdrawal/spending.

    Vile telecom giro your monthly billing also now giro additional $2 in “administrative costs” (previously non-existent of this fictitious “costs”) when it has your email address and sent regularly message there without sending your DIGITAL billing advice THERE. IT IS LEGALIZED THEFT, silently and with dignity of stealing. Brokers do the same with invented charges of their own administrative overhead distribution of their functioning costs via GIRO. You thus become their client and also UNPAID/INSIDIOUSLY EMPLOYED ACCOUNTANT AS WELL after you signed up for giro convenience.

    Govts can frozen the banking account of dissidents or vocal critics IN A CASHLESS SOCIETY. This is worst than kidnapping for ransom extortion, It is extortion of political obedience by technology STRANGULATION making it impossible to borrow survival money (in cashless society) whilst protecting and defending one’s political preferences. TECHNOLOGY IS USED IN THIS ILLUMINATION OF EXECUTION MURDERER – no need to feed political opponents in unlawful life-time detention.

    A LOT OF EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY IS EVIL.

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  • oxygen:

    LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES LIKE AUSTRALIA, USA, CANADA AND UK etc WILL NEVER enter the domain of “CASHLESS SOCIETY” of politically cynical insidious “smart nation” delusion.

    Voters will never accept it. It is “smart” satanic domination and enslavement of peasants by a few unnatural aristocrats who claims to be different from the peasant class of lesser mortals.

    And in “CASHLESS SO-CALLED SMART NATION” delusion/deception, each peasant in pandemic rescue “charity” assistance was allegedly “receiving” $23,500 per head or thereabout found themselves receiving only $600 or thereabout or less.
    CASHLESS PAYMENT TECHNOLOGY TRANSFERRED THE MISSING $22,900 TO HIDDEN ENTITIES ELSEWHERE by the label called “stimulus spending” and this will have to be funded by future taxes, levy, GST, HDB/CPF/healthcare “backdoor” taxes.

    How more “clever” is this sort of futuristic “cashless smart nation” filled with an abundance in majority of stupid peasants/voters?

    I AM ABUNDANTLY AMUSED BY THIS SORT OF TECHNOLOGICAL ENTERTAINMENT – digital star wars computer games is not fun anymore.

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  • Aye for Classical Liberalism!:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_8T11VSHg1U&t=22s

    Communist Destruction Underlies Modern Social Movements

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  • mike:

    A little to add on the “cashless smart nation”, this C19 provides the rarest opportunity for govs who had failed many times pushing for Cashless to enforce and implement much successfully.

    Although frankly, when i tapped my phone or my card on the readers, the virus technically can still fly and jump on to it. >.<" including some used their cards to scrap those white powder.

    But the fear proves to work well among most lazy dumb people who do not read or research enough. Just like post 9-11, most peace-loving sheeps welcomed surrendering of personal liberty, and even privacy to expose their breasts and productive organs in scanners or willingly allow legal molest by custom workers under the name of safety check against terrorism.

    What's new? I am supportive of gun ownership.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Mike

    IF I AM NOT MISTAKEN, Anthea Ong, NMP, told Parly that 20% or 25% of the population base is “digital outcast” of internet literacy of banking services.

    mike: A little to add on the “cashless smart nation”, this C19 provides the rarest opportunity for govs who had failed many times pushing for Cashless to enforce and implement much successfully.

    And someone cunning enough can remember your debit and credit card numbers and use your card banking facilities to pay for his/her online purchases. Someone has been convicted of it recently.

    SO I AM MYSTIFIED HOW CAN A COMPLETELY CASHLESS PAYMENT CAN BE INSTITUTED in “smart” nation self-delusion except in a sea of utter confusion for some and fraud of mischievous minds for others.

    Cashless payment speed up a lot of transaction settlements – needed TO GREASE THE ECONOMIC FUNCTIONING WHEEL needed to sustain for a bigger economy and a rapidly expanding population base toward 10 million but after Covid 19, PAPpynomic’s self-created “silent pandemic” of 10 million or more population targeting MAY FIND THAT A MASSIVE LIABILITY of huge unemployment explosion INSTEAD OF AN ECONOMIC ASSET OF LABOR SUPPLY.

    AS it is, I heard that FDW and foreign construction labor are not allowed to open a savings account in LEEjiapore. Is that why Sinkies don’t see them queuing up for retail banking services in banking hall??

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  • Harder Truths:

    It is as I posted before – now Team Gestapo say they will use Trace Together for catching crooks. But – who is the crook? Anyone who says anything against the regime is one. We are quickly regressing into a 100% movement-controlled Police State.

    https://sg.yahoo.com/news/trace-together-data-criminal-investigations-desmond-tan-080806396.html

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  • mike:

    Dear @ Oxygen,

    More than 40~50% of adoption is sufficient for the ‘authority’ to push for anything. Even if 20% of those are permanently outcast, or ‘choose’ not to participate in the digital system, will not stop ‘them’ in this digitalization path. CN model is currently the dream of most nation gov – implementation regardless of cost or resentment.

    Just like SG, singpass goes from a simple password to using pysical token and now forces me to use digital token. Do i have a choice? One day they shall install a chip on me or inject nano digital code on to me… should i take up my swiss-tool to fight on the street?

    Who thinks this is science friction movie or conspiracy theories or fear mongering? I have this message for such person : what do you believe in if you believe in nothing.

    oxygen:
    … that 20% or 25% of the population base is “digital outcast” of internet literacy of banking services

    —-

    It is a simple social behaviour that human observes with one another.

    The discussion on ‘liberalism’ or ‘amount of liberalism’ is futile. When a free man meet another man, it is no longer that ‘free’. When a group of man comes together, the liberal element is further restricted while certain goal is to be achieved. When this group of man need a leader, liberalism is further curtailed. When groups of man comes together, freedom is further limited. When the whole world comes as one, the urge to control has never been larger.

    Don’t be mistaken, we had never been more free but more limited. Thus discussion on limitation on freedom to fix occassional social ‘mis-behaviours’ has never attracts me.

    Just like lockdown the whole society as answer to a few death is nothing but provides a mean to control us all ‘in order to’ give us the ‘limited freedom’ in exchange for putting a puppy tag on us.

    So now, you can all go out but make sure you put on masks, and are traceable because ‘we’ want to save your miserable pathetic cockroach life.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Mike

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH for coming back with your rejoinder – disagreeing whatever notwithstanding!

    Please allow me to start by AGREEING ABSOLUTELY with your pointer below.

    mike: When a group of man comes together, the liberal element is further restricted while certain goal is to be achieved. When this group of man need a leader, liberalism is further curtailed. When groups of man comes together, freedom is further limited. When the whole world comes as one, the urge to control has never been larger

    You note I share the SAME PAGE on this one with this

    oxygen: MOST PEASANTS ARE CLUELESS of how INSIDIOUS of evolving technology is in its SILENT INTRUSIVE INVASION of OUR physical, social and FINANCIAL SPACE

    The takeaway CATCHWORD I ask you to note , is SPACE above. In all shared SPACE the urge to control escalate in proportion.

    You illuminated it better with this observation.

    mike: Just like SG, singpass goes from a simple password to using pysical token and now forces me to use digital token. Do i have a choice?

    And that is where my similar illuminations on debit card/telecom billing/stockbroking intrusion and control of the peasants’ “physical, social and FINANCIAL SPACE is circumvented, exploited, or otherwise oppressed of freedom of real choices of course and preferred outcome.

    And this brings me to the next point which I STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH YOU.

    mike: One day they shall install a chip on me or inject nano digital code on to me… should i take up my swiss-tool to fight on the street?

    In China, the CCP does whatever it likes – even smack down Jack Ma’s Ant Financial digital innovation and its IPO. Xi JinPing cut down Jack Ma to shrank size.

    This won’t happen so blatantly in Australia, Canada, USA, Japan. Voters WON’T HAVE A BAR OF IT. POLITICAL THUGGERY HAS NO PLACE IN DEMOCRATIC LIBERAL SOCIETY.

    So I don’t agree with you on this.

    mike: CN model is currently the dream of most nation gov – implementation regardless of cost or resentment.

    Maybe CN model might work in Russia or North Korea. The Cultural Revolution starved tens of millions of Chinese to extinction of early graveyard – same as Stalin farm’s collectivisation and Cuba’s repeat of the same mistake 10 years after Mao’s Cultural Revolution debacle (all COVERED UP).

    to be continued.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Mike

    EXTENDING from the preceding para.

    I CERTAINLY DON’T AGREE WITH YOU on this.

    mike: The discussion on ‘liberalism’ or ‘amount of liberalism’ is futile

    ON THE CONTRARY, I think it is VERY CONSTRUCTIVE AND WELL TIMED OF @ SojouRner’s contributed essay – disregarding the obvious dedicated efforts put in by this most learned mind. I COULD NOT DO IT.

    I judge @ SojouRner’s writing by reference to current and contemporary history.

    Julian Assange will not be extradited to the US on espionage charges

    https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/julian-assange-will-not-be-extradited-to-the-us-on-espionage-charges-20210104-p56ri6.html

    The pigs of liberalism using law to PERSECUTE not prosecute Julian Assange. It is a victory for humanity IF THE NEXT APPEAL COURT THROWS out US Govt appeal because there is compelling reason to free J Assange solely on human rights ground.

    I am reminded of the tragic outcome (otherwise) if Judge John Byrne had not THREW OUT THE US prosecution of Daniel Ellsberg case for “espionage” revelation of the war crime and atrocities in the Vietnam war.

    THE CASE WAS THREW OUT OF COURT IN A FEW MINUTES of hearing. The judge reprimand the prosecution were:

    Judge John Byrne: The Government’s action in this case offended a sense of justice,” and so “I have decided to declare a mistrial and grant the motion for dismissal.

    The time was 2:07 P.M.

    https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0511.html

    I watched the protest against the Vietnam war on Australian street and feel the emotions of heat and anger. I felt it was right thing that young men and women (denounced as naive left wing radicals in some qtr) fought the police then.

    STRANGELY NOW, I SEE NO DENUNCIATION OF THE SAME “RADICALISM” against those anit-war protestors.

    Julian Assange exposed US war atrocities in Iraq against civilian lives – non-combatant.

    @ Mike if you were a victim as a non-combatant,I would see you agreeing with me that Julian Assange did the right thing.

    The world needs Daniel Ellsberg, Julian Assange and freedom of the press to stop the insanities committed by the pigs of liberalism – AS PIGS INDEED.

    WATCH THIS SPACE, some volcanic explosion of war crime trials is coming to Australia soon.

    Defence starts dismissing SAS soldiers in wake of Afghanistan war crimes inquiry.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-26/defence-dismissing-sas-soldiers-accused-war-crimes-afghanistan/12920946

    If Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party does not take this to its logical conclusion, AUSTRALIAN VOTERS ARE GOING TO THROW THEM OUT in the next election.

    So I fervently conclude that @SojouRner’s writing is NOT FUTILE.

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  • mike:

    Dear @ Oxygen,

    Thank you for giving attention to my messages ^.^
    Any disagreement is welcomed.

    Last weekend while traveling along with few new friends who came from several different countries, one lady from Jordon shared her reason to settle down in a new country, her simple remark strike my poetry note, she said “i came here because of differences, being different is beautiful”.

    Well, i couldn’t agree more, just never thought different and beautiful can be so powerful putting next to one another.

    oxygen:
    In China, the CCP does whatever it likes – even smack down Jack Ma’s Ant Financial digital innovation and its IPO. Xi JinPing cut down Jack Ma to shrank size.

    This won’t happen so blatantly in Australia, Canada, USA, Japan. Voters WON’T HAVE A BAR OF IT. POLITICAL THUGGERY HAS NO PLACE IN DEMOCRATIC LIBERAL SOCIETY.

    So I don’t agree with you on this.

    Yes, things ‘might not’ happen so blatantly, it just blend in without us knowing. When i mentioned installing a chip or inject nano digital code, these are technologies which available today. So, what prevents it from moving into the next step of wide implementation on us all to yield the humongous return on investing in such technology? It is just a step away. One just need to put in a strong justification for its implementation. Fear of invisible enemy make it possible. Threats or benefits are always useful on resistances.

    —-

    When i said “The discussion on ‘liberalism’ or ‘amount of liberalism’ is futile”, i see myself as a street poet singing poems to warlord (or a butcher). In my eyes as a grade 10 standard poet, why do i need to walk down a path leading me to the same edge of cliff?

    Not (being) disrespectful to SojoüRner, my cheap poetry sense tell me why talk about the shxt i produced regardless what luxurious feast goes into my same human digestive system?

    It is the law of nature, sun appears on the east and goes down to the west. We can try to discuss how that happens, but when we start running ideas on how to fix it, it makes little sense. And perhaps when our sun burst into white dwarf or decline into brown, this law of nature might eventually change.

    In another word, freedom exist when there is revolution. And revolution is chaotic. Chaotic situation leads us to desire for order and order results in limiting freedom. The cycle goes on and on, eternally.

    —-

    Regarding Julian Assange.

    I did not read much about him. Just knew that he got an interesting hair and a cat that he gave away, ultimately.

    He is not a politician but what he was into, threaten politicians.

    He is smart and perhaps tried to do the right things, but he is not very smart when deal with the devils.

    Yes freedom of press is important…. but, i don’t think there is freedom of press currently. And not in the near future.

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  • SojoüRner:

    mike: Not (being) disrespectful to SojoüRner, my cheap poetry sense tell me why talk about the shxt i produced regardless what luxurious feast goes into my same human digestive system?

    How do one tell what’s wrong with your digestive system if doctors can’t examine your shxt?

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  • mike:

    Dear @ SojoüRner

    True true, when we need to investigate what’s wrong with the digestive system…

    I just want to tell you that we still need to shit out, and it is still filthy no matter how careful you consume and examine.

    SojoüRner: How do one tell what’s wrong with your digestive system if doctors can’t examine your shxt?

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  • SojoüRner:

    mike:
    Dear @ SojoüRner

    True true, when we need to investigate what’s wrong with the digestive system…

    I just want to tell you that we still need to shit out, and it is still filthy no matter how careful you consume and examine.

    You mean we should stop examining problems because the end result is unpleasant? or futile?

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  • mike:

    Dear @ SojoüRner

    It is either you are very innocent or simply want something from the horse mouth.

    What would you want to drive at from debating liberalism and the pigs of it?

    Mock at it and promote your best system?
    Asking solutions on liberalism weaknesses? To generate liberalism V3.0 or V5.0?
    How to sustain a sustainable liberalism?
    Create awareness? (Oh yes, you did)
    Generate solutions? (I am waiting that from you)

    Thus, many and plenty problems you and some of us had raised, not enough examination?

    SojoüRner: You mean we should stop examining problems because the end result is unpleasant? or futile?

    There are differences between ‘end result is unpleasant’ vs ‘end with same unavoidable result’. Which did you see?

    And yes, perhaps you did not read my message correctly under the influences of prejudice and preasumptions.

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  • SojoüRner:

    mike: What would you want to drive at from debating liberalism and the pigs of it?

    Mock at it and promote your best system?
    Asking solutions on liberalism weaknesses? To generate liberalism V3.0 or V5.0?
    How to sustain a sustainable liberalism?
    Create awareness? (Oh yes, you did)
    Generate solutions? (I am waiting that from you)

    Thus, many and plenty problems you and some of us had raised, not enough examination?

    Thank you for telling I succeeded in creating awareness.
    As for generating solutions. It is within my rights not to do so.
    And definitely not under any duress of “non-intellectuality”
    Is that okay for you?

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  • mike:

    Dear @ SojoüRner

    You have all your rights, along as you can keep it.

    And don’t be mistaken (again), i don’t give a damn whether you think i felt good or vice versa.

    The world is a big stage, you and me are merely actors.

    SojoüRner:

    As for generating solutions. It is within my rights not to do so.
    And definitely not under any duress of “non-intellectuality”
    Is that okay for you?

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  • mike:

    SojoüRner:
    … And definitely not under any duress of “non-intellectuality”

    Dear @ SojoüRner,

    Oh btw, when my poetry sense retreats into hibernation on certain days, i definitely enjoy speaking to my favourite stall’s butcher on anything including politics, and he will teach me something interesting for the day while i offers nothing interesting for him but entertainment.

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  • SojoüRner:

    mike: Dear @ SojoüRner,

    Oh btw, when my poetry sense retreats into hibernation on certain days, i definitely enjoy speaking to my favourite stall’s butcher on anything including politics, and he will teach me something interesting for the day while i offers nothing interesting for him but entertainment.

    Great! Let’s keep it that way.

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  • mike:

    For readers who have interest in Chinese culture and politics, and perhaps this is out of scope within a larger scope, you may continue to research on these few words “商鞅驭民五术” the ancient (dark) arts of people management.

    Word of caution: learning dark arts in modern days not to applies it but to identify them when they are being applied to you (us). However, when needed, you still have the option of applying that to your enemies.

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