As China blocks, let's remember.

Democracy is not chaos, it is wealth. Wealth to the soul as well as to the body and society. Churchill put it nicely into words: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

For all of us enjoying the luxury of being able to speak, organize, move and express ourselves freely, I have a small poem by Martin Niemöller (cannot find the name of the author, comment if you know it).

In Germany they came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.


At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do believe that one is from Martin Niemöller.

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Yosef said...

By Martin Niemoeller:

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Johan Thelin said...


At 9:09 AM, Blogger maniacmusician said...

I like the poem -- the sentiment is logically sound. But even if we can logically say things like that, it's hard to look at the state of the world and humanity today without submitting to misanthropy.

At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democracy is BAD. Why?
Rule of the majority. It allows for individuals' rights to be violated.

I believe you want a (constitutional) republic, where you're represented by contract.

BTW, maniacmusician, check out Rand's essay, "How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society?" Essence: Live as rationally as /you/ can, 'cause you can't *demand* it of others.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Johan Thelin said...

To me, democracy is not only about the rule of many, it is also a question of your personal freedoms, rights and obligations.

It is a kind of one for all and all for one thing.

If you feel that democracy is a bad thing, do contemplate what Churchill said. Democracy is not ideal, but it is the best yet.

At 1:12 PM, Blogger mxcl said...

Not appropriate content for Planet Qt.

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The funny thing is, that if you talk with Chinese people, they often find us arrogant by measuring them with our western, christian inspired ideas of human rights and teaching them what is right and wrong.

Most Chinese people I know are quite proud of their country and culture, but sad about the corruption and unfair trials. But when it comes to fundamental rights I'm more upset for example about the death penalty in the USA then in China. China has a different cultural background, where an individual has less importance then the community.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to justify anything. but we shouldn't make it to easy to judge about others, especially since we don't fulfill our own ideals.

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Johan Thelin said...

mxcl> I'm aggregated at several planets, so everything goes everywhere. Sorry if I offended you.

Anonymous> I can agree - we should not push our culture onto them. My point is that human rights and democracy is an important thing and that silencing the people isn't a good solution.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Benjamin Meyer said...

If you tag all your Qt articles we can change the planetqt.org rss feed to point to the tag feed of Qt posts.

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Johan Thelin said...

Ok, lets try it. I've mailed you.

At 5:02 PM, Blogger jospoortvliet said...

I personally have no problem with content like this every now and then. I greatly appreciate the Poem.

On topic of the discussion going on, in a way we as in western people are a bit etnocentric.

But some values can be considered global - I would violently disagree with anyone who would say the Chinese government was in their right to kill the people we remember tomorrow. It is never right to send the army to people who are protesting for ANYTHING (let alone for their RIGHT TO PROTEST IN THE FIRST PLACE). Killing someone because he/she disagrees, how can you say that is cultural? Such a 'culture' doesn't deserve to even exist, sorry.

Besides, I don't believe the chinese culture is like that. It is more subtle, it is less individualistic. But you can't honestly say it supports acts of violence like that to thousands simply because they disagree.

At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most people in Pakistan do not like US. If you really have democracy there some one with nukes in there would go crazy (and use them). So democracy works to a certain extent but not always.

Democracy works well only if those people are also nice.

BTW lecturing of west is real nonsense. Do you think west follows human rights in Afghanistan ? but even I support the Afghan decision... there are compromises in life.

(Apologies if I have hurt your opinions)


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