published Monday, February 4th, 2013

Smith: One degree of separation

By Robin Smith
  • photo
    Robin Smith, former Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and congressional candidate.
    File Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press

While teaching abroad in a communist county, our daughter has experienced some unique contrasts living in China.

Of note, while serving on the faculty at a university in a rural province, living in a staff residency provided, Callie has engaged some incredibly knowledge-hungry students who are selected to attend the university by the government.

While wandering around a city of just over 400,000 in population, she's frequently cornered by families imploring her to "speak English" with their children.

In one instance, a rather poor family treated our daughter to duck and delicacies for dinner in exchange for four hours spent speaking and teaching English with their elementary-aged children.

You see, English is viewed as the "language of prosperity" among those seeking a better way for the next generation -- even in a communist country. In America, some view teaching English as "intolerant" rather than preparing for global success.

Callie also experienced registering as an Internet user, a requirement of the Chinese Communist government. Due to the fear of protest, Internet content and access are closely monitored, especially within areas that have younger citizens, such as the universities. It is explained to Internet users, "The government allows no dissent."

While having time to travel, our daughter chose to spend time in a very rural, underserved province that had never had a "foreigner" visit. In using the limited Internet in a cafe she wrote of her first experience of doing laundry by hand with water from a pump. Yes, China has population centers featured in travel and business journals, but widespread poverty and lack of education are the rule, not the exception.

It's obvious, the necessary ingredient to any oppressive, government-controlled population is a permanent, dependent underclass with its liberty defined by the state, whether it's China, Egypt, or Russia ... or America.

Never before have we had so many individuals at the mercy of the government for their financial support, for employment, for daily sustenance and so terribly uninformed of our unalienable rights endowed by our Creator.

The real, not adjusted, unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in December was 14.4 percent. According to CNN's "Money" article in November 2012, almost 15 million households were receiving food stamps, a jump of almost 2 million since 2010.

Sure, there's no demand to register for Internet access that would interfere with our constitutional right to free speech. However, there is a current effort to punish law-abiding citizens who commit no crimes with their weapons by infringing upon our constitutional right to bear arms.

While Chattanooga's latitude is written as 35 degrees North, 2 minutes and 44 seconds, that of the university in China at which Callie teaches is about 34 degrees North and 11 minutes. Only about one degree of separation distinguishes the geography on the spinning sphere called Earth.

Yet, generations of ingenuity, personal success and a unique government based on the consent of the governed are the ingredients that have made America the nation of freedom, liberty and opportunity in contrast to communism, illiteracy and poverty.

It is absolutely necessary to endure the taunts, the mockery and the chortles of the elite to protect America from the ever-growing government that is enslaving a permanent underclass to dependency and a state-defined "liberty."

If you're under 40 years of age, my sincere prayer for you is an awakening to see and understand your future contains hope only if your future contains authentic liberty and opportunity for personal achievement.

Robin Smith is a wife and mother living in Hixson. She served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 2007 to 2009.

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Easy123 said...

"Never before have we had so many individuals at the mercy of the government for their financial support, for employment, for daily sustenance"

What a tyrannical government! Helping those in need? COMMUNISM! You must be absolutely delusional, Mrs. Smith. More people are on food stamps because more people qualify for food stamps. How could that be? Maybe a triple-dip recession caused more people to find themselves out of a job, losing money, or POOR! Thankfully, we have programs like food stamps that allow people to get back on their feet. Safety net programs do not breed dependancy. They give people a lifeline when there was no hope.

February 4, 2013 at 12:41 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Robin is right to be concerned for Americans under 40. We may disagree on the causes, but all can see that the US is in a long-term downtrend. The internal divide is so intense that neither party can govern because the opposition is so fierce.

Watching the US self-immolate is beyond painful. Our government no longer tells us the truth...about anything. the population is arming to fight among themselves. Corporations have the real power and as economic disparity continues to widen, the country gets closer and closer to the boiling point.

China, on the other hand, is moving strongly in the other direction. Yes they have massive poverty, but hundreds of millions have been elevated out of poverty over the last two decades. The Chinese have proven to be more efficient capitalists than the West. China is a country that is clearly ascending through education and hard work...the formula we forgot.

Ms Smith's comments seemed tinged toward negatism about China, while warning the US to shape up. She might do better to pay close attention to the things that China is doing well rather than writing them off as communists.

February 4, 2013 at 1:07 a.m.
conservative said...

"In one instance, a rather poor family treated our daughter to duck and delicacies for dinner in in exchange for four hours spent speaking and teaching English with their elementary-aged children."

Eating meat is a rare event for the poor of China but note that the sacrifice was worth four hours of English instruction for their children.

February 4, 2013 at 8:14 a.m.
conservative said...

nucanuck:

"She might do better to pay close attention to the things that China is doing well rather than writing them off as communists."

Yes, I imagine China leads the world in the production and use of those hand water pumps Ms Smith referred to.

BTW what is the name of this her god you referred to on the other site?

Also, did you ever figure out how many millions of the poor in India it would take to equal the carbon use of one Al Gore?

February 4, 2013 at 8:31 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

nucanuck said... "The Chinese have proven to be more efficient capitalists than the West."

Statements like this scare the heck out of me. In "progressive" circles it has become popular to hold the Chinese government / economy as a model for all going forward. These people seem to be oblivious to the facts that the inefficiencies of the centrally controlled economy (with limited freedoms) is masked by extremely low labor costs and a willingness to pollute wantonly. I doubt progressives will want to tolerate 3rd world wages and ecological destruction as a part of fundamental transformation into a Chinese-like economic system. Do they really think central control could work without those two pillars?

February 4, 2013 at 8:39 a.m.
moon4kat said...

Ms. Smith seems thrilled that Chinese want to learn English as a way of "preparing for global success."
I hope she is equally enthusiastic about urging Americans to learn other languages, also necessary for our future global success.

February 4, 2013 at 9:32 a.m.
nucanuck said...

BRP,

I am no admirer of China other than to say that they have come a long way agaist formidable odds. How any country can deal with 1.2 billion people is beyond me.

As to a centrally controlled economy, part of the US problem may well be the illicit relationship between big business and government. At the behest (think money) of our corporatocracy, our government has knocked themselves out help the TBTF companies. Additionally, the degree of intervention by the Fed and government agencies has mushroomed over the past few decades. We look more like china than we would like to admit.

Also, Chinese pollution is shared pollution. They make the things the world consumes and create the pollution that we used to create before our factories packed up and left.

My view is that neither the Chinese system nor the US system is sustainable. Both have major challenges going forward. So far, the Chinese seem more willing to embrace changes than the US. Both are too big to manage themselves well, IMO.

February 4, 2013 at 10:05 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

nucanuck,

Well then, you should stop saying things like, "The Chinese have proven to be more efficient capitalists than the West."

What China is doing is not capitalism. When you describe your concern about the illicit relationship between big business, banks and the government you are describing the same things that will cause the Chinese model to fail. Both nations are converging towards a self destructive destination. We are riding the coat tails of what remains of a healthy capitalist system and the Chinese are riding cheap labor and the cheap, polluting manufacturing processes.

It is not accurate to say that China is just doing the polluting that would be done here if we were making the same products. China pollutes much more per unit produced than the US & Canada does. Hell, Canada pollutes more per unit produced than the US does, at least with the products I am intimately familiar with. We have manufacturing locations all over the world, China is so lax we find ourselves self-regulating there to more Western standards although I have to admit we do not use the toughest global standard and apply it globally.

One thing China is very good at is pirating intellectual property. Let me see now, stealing IP, working people for 3rd world wages, using the world for its waste receptacle. It sounds like we should be putting pressure on China to clean up their act, not lauding them.

February 4, 2013 at 1:02 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"It is absolutely necessary to endure the taunts, the mockery and the chortles of the elite to protect America from the ever-growing government that is enslaving a permanent underclass to dependency and a state-defined 'liberty.'"

Who are these "elites" that you're talking about, Robin Smith? I think you and I have two different ideas about who the "elites" are in this country. That government that will enslave us and is enslaving us more every day is one in which our elected representatives are owned by big business and the rich. Get the money out of politics to the extent that it is today, so that we can have a government that is truly OF, BY, and FOR the PEOPLE (not big business) and we will have real freedom for everyone, not just the rich, the few at the top. Those are the "elites" in my book.

February 4, 2013 at 1:02 p.m.
nucanuck said...

BRP,

You are nit-picking. The Chinese are following capitalist principles and doing it well. Their wages are rising rapidly and their efficiency has been steadily rising. They learned their business ethics from us...sad to say. There is plenty wrong with their system, but are making progress.

There is no moral high ground from which we can crow.

February 4, 2013 at 2:07 p.m.
conservative said...

Hey nucanuck,

There are tens of millions on this planet who already practice what you preach on global warming.

They are the poor and destitute in 3rd world and Communist/Socialist countries who have no electricity, no clean water or just dirty water, no refrigeration, no cars, no heating, no air conditioning, no grocery stores, little food, few doctors or hospitals, no education etc.

However, they would love to renounce all that, become hypocrites and come to the United States!

February 4, 2013 at 2:37 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Again, conservative is the most ignorant person that posts here. Absolutely unbelievable that someone could be so abjectly stupid.

February 4, 2013 at 2:41 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

nucanuck said... "You are nit-picking. The Chinese are following capitalist principles and doing it well."

They are following capitalist principles as the progressives intentionally mischaracterise them. I am not nit-picking. The differences are critical and confusion that has been purposefully created about the distinctions is a tool that progressives use to vilify the word.

i.e. How much does the cost of electricity generated with coal have to do with "investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market"? We have a president that is manipulating regulations to intentionally drive up the price of coal fired electricity with the stated goal of putting coal fired electricity out of business in this country. That is not capitalism, it is a form of central planning through regulation and taxation.

February 4, 2013 at 3:15 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

I am sure Obama wishes he had the power to simply shut down the coal plants and build a bunch of wind and solar farms. This would be much more Chinese-like, except the Chinese would never consider shutting down their cheapest form of electricity generation. It must be very frustrating to be an ambitious Statist in this country.

February 4, 2013 at 3:20 p.m.
conservative said...

BRP,

China is building coal plants like there is no tomorrow!

"Nearly 1,200 Coal-Fired Power Plants Proposed Globally, Report Finds"

Posted: 11/20/2012 6:19 pm EST Updated: 11/20/2012 6:21 pm EST

""Global Coal Risk Assessment: Data Analysis and Market Research," released on November 20, estimated there are currently 1,199 proposed coal plants in 59 countries. They noted that China and India together account for 76 percent of these plants. The United States landed seventh, with 36 proposed coal-fired power plants."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/world-coal-fired-power-plants_n_2166699.html

February 4, 2013 at 3:44 p.m.
nucanuck said...

BRP,

Surely the cost of pollution should be factored in the cost of each energy source. Just because coal fired electricity is cheaper than gas fired, the net cost to the environment is far different. China has become the world leader in renewable energy, but in order to grow quickly, they have ramped up easy to build coal to service their rapid growth.

Throwing around the terms like statist, socialist, capitalist, communist, fascist...they just don't mean much to me. It all comes down to how can we get our world functioning best for the most people.

February 4, 2013 at 5:07 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"It all comes down to how can we get our world functioning best for the most people."

That makes you an evil socialist in BRP's eyes, nucanuck. Anybody who thinks collectively or in any way that might restrain individual freedom in the least is anathema to the libertarian. Of course, any sane, reasonable person readily acknowledges that certain liberties have to be curtailed if we are to live peacefully in society, but libertarians seem to think that if we are all just left to our won devices, everything will miraculously fall into place. He uses the word "statist" a lot in referring to anyone who believes in a centralized federal government but libertarians are quite literally "statists" in the sense that they want to give all power to the states. They refuse to even take a necessary stand on some very basic principles; copping out instead and passing everything off for the states to decide. BRP is little more than an ideological clone of Ron Paul.

February 4, 2013 at 5:28 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Rickaroo, I do not think nucanuck is an "evil socialist". He is thoughtful person trying to navigate his way through this world littered with propaganda and misinformation, just as I am. I dare say he does not need you to tell him who I am. You have failed miserably in your Cliff Notes assessment of BRP. You would be better served trying to describe your own feelings and beliefs and leave it to others to talk for themselves.

Do you have something to contribute to the conversation or are you just here trying to start some kind of quarrel?

February 4, 2013 at 5:37 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

I have seen enough of your posts to see your true colors, BRP. You have referred to yourself as a libertarian before, and I know well the basic tenets of libertarianism. If I'm wrong about anything I've said about you, then tell me and I will amend my statements accordingly. I know that nucanuck does not need me to tell him anything - he is quite capable of speaking for himself. Whenever I post anything, even if it's addressed to someone in particular, I am speaking first and foremost for myself. I have done my share of name-calling and stirring things up but I have also posted many things on this forum without any name calling whatsoever and without trying to start a quarrel. If you feel quarrelsome from anything I post, well, that's your problem, not mine. Sometimes things get a little heated here and that just goes with the terrain.

February 4, 2013 at 5:47 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

nucanuck said... "Surely the cost of pollution should be factored in the cost of each energy source...."

Yes, as long as we are getting an objective assessment of what the real costs are.

But the point was about capitalism. In a country where the government not only uses targeted regulation to suppress an industry but also subsidises competing industry it is hard to use the word capitalism with a straight face. Especially when there is a serious ongoing debate over the appropriate level of regulation of that industry.

February 4, 2013 at 5:49 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Rickaroo,

So, is it your God-given mission to stalk anyone on this forum that expresses Libertarian viewpoints, or does that go for any viewpoint that is different from yours?

February 4, 2013 at 5:53 p.m.
Easy123 said...

I find it comical how BRP tries to wriggle his way out of being pigeonholed after he makes statements like "It must be very frustrating to be an ambitious Statist in this country." or "I am sure Obama wishes he had the power to simply shut down the coal plants and build a bunch of wind and solar farms.".

You cannot deny the things you have written. Just because you label yourself a "libertarian" doesn't mean you aren't more closely aligned with WingNut hacks on this site. Everyone has read your rhetoric. No one has to stalk you to read it. I think the frustration comes when you spout off all this so-called "libertarian" rhetoric and then ignore people's post that accurately characterize you. You attack other peoples viewpoints just as much as anyone else here. Stop acting like your beliefs aren't up for criticism.

February 4, 2013 at 7:12 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Easy, I am happy to discuss ideas. When the conversation is reduced to trying to pigeon hole each other it shuts down conversation and turns into a name calling exercise. I am sure I have slipped into the trap of name-calling against others on this forum. There is plenty of that going on here and sometimes we all fall into that trap. I try to avoid that and usually regret it when I allow it to happen.

I mostly ignore you because a huge percentage of your posts are nothing but personal attacks and name calling. I am sure you have some ideas that are worth considering but they usually get lost in the vitriol.

February 4, 2013 at 10:23 p.m.
Easy123 said...

BRP,

How could you possibly know that if you ignore my posts?

It's easy to resort to personal attacks when people post blatant ignorance. I call it how I see it and there is rarely any vitriol behind my words. Blunt honesty is all. I cannot and will not discuss ridiculous ideas with people especially folks that refer keep using the words Communism, Socialism, Marxism, etc. to refer to the President or liberals. I will personally attack you once you or anyone makes outrageous claims like that.

I've had dialogue with you before and I know the reason ignore me has very little to do with your feigned indignation towards my "personal attacks". You tend to "ignore" anyone that characterizes you accurately. You do the same to Rickaroo and others here. Once people lump you in with RightWingers and accurately so, you tend to dismiss what they say as pigeonholing and claim that you already know what they have typed by reading their first line. One would think you might come to the realization that maybe the problem is you after you've been lumped in with the WingNuts for the thousandth time. You can't hide behind that "libertarian" label forever because people here can actually read what you say.

And if you perceive this as a personal attack then you don't want honest dialogue. Being constantly indignant when people criticize your viewpoint isn't being "happy to discuss ideas".

February 4, 2013 at 11:29 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

"Easy123 said... "How could you possibly know that if you ignore my posts?"*

I occasionally audit your posts and it usually takes one or two sentences before I find....

"It's easy to resort to personal attacks when people post blatant ignorance."

...at which point I would typically quit reading and move on to someone who is trying to share interesting ideas rather than boring misplaced feelings of intellectual superiority.

February 5, 2013 at 7:48 a.m.
Easy123 said...

BRP,

"at which point I would typically quit reading and move on to someone who is trying to share interesting ideas rather than boring misplaced feelings of intellectual superiority."

So you're saying you don't read your own posts then, correct?

February 5, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.
aidehua said...

Robin's article is quite accurate and her daughter's courage is commendable. China's past was a textbook case to demonstrate the failed policies of collectivism. During the 1950's, 60's and 70's, China went backwards with their sincere attempt to create true Communism. Seeing the error of their ways, China today is more self-reliant and capitalistic than the US.

Thirty years ago Chinese citizens used ration coupons to obtain food and waited months or years for their turn to buy a bicycle. Today, it is our nation where millions wait for the government-issued food stamps and disability checks.

China's economic growth rate has averaged 10% for the past 30 years - while we just registered -0.1% growth in the last quarter. Globally, the prestige of democracy has faltered with the economic decline of Europe and the U.S. Since we voted for these programs that our bankrupting our nation and stifling private investment, we deserve the bleak future ahead. China will one day buy us for pennies on the dollar because we thought we could have our cake and eat it too.

It is time for Americans to examine the tenets of Confucianism, which has been so successful in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and now China. How can it be, for example that Shanghai, a city of 20 million people does NOT have any slums and virtually no violent crime? Confucian societies stress education, hard work, and family unity.

On its present course, the United States is headed toward mediocrity and second-class status in the world. Hope it won't take something akin to the tens of millions who died in China's ill-fated embrace of Communism for Americans to see the error and terror of our current path.

February 5, 2013 at 11 p.m.
Hunter_Bluff said...

The author writes "The real, not adjusted, unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in December was 14.4 percent" and then shifts to worrying about restrictions on gun ownership in this country. There's no relation. This country needs jobs, clearly we have plenty of guns, plenty of people shooting at and killing each other. Don't we?

February 8, 2013 at 7:54 a.m.
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