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China’s Internet Control Gives Hope to Libertarians


The Chinese government’s strict control over the Internet will come in handy during the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, when Chinese troops, faithfully following orders of their superiors, opened fire on tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators.

Ironically, the tight control that the Chinese communist regime maintains on the Internet provides hope for libertarians here in the United States.

How so?

Because the Chinese government’s tight control over the Internet is powerful circumstantial evidence of the enormous power of truth and ideas on liberty, the power to bring down even governments whose power over the citizenry is omnipotent.

The Chinese Communist Party maintains a political monopoly in the country. No non-Communist Party member is permitted to compete in elections against the Party. Thus, there is no way to peacefully oust government officials from office through elections.

Violent overthrow of the government is also not an option. Long ago, the communist authorities established a nationwide ban on the private ownership of guns, thereby ensuring that the citizenry would forever be denied the ability to resist tyranny by force. When the troops opened up on the protestors in Tiananmen Square, they were certain that the protestors would not fire back owing to the long-established policy of gun control in China.

Why would a regime that maintains a monopoly on power care about controlling the Internet and other media? When they have total power and own all the guns, why should they care about what people are saying or writing?

The answer is that Chinese officials know that truth and ideas on liberty have a power that is immeasurable, a power that can energize and motivate a populace to demand the recognition of fundamental rights and liberty. They are fully aware that no matter how powerful a government might be and no matter how faithful and obedient its troops might be, it might have a difficult time standing against millions of aroused and knowledgeable citizens yearning and demanding to be a free people — free of the domination and control of their own government.

Here in the United States, libertarians face a daunting task in restoring liberty to our land.

First of all, we face the statism that is ardently embraced by both liberals and conservatives, as reflected by their joint commitment to socialism, interventionism, and empire.

Second, there is the political monopoly that Democrats and Republicans have established, which has proven almost as effective as the political monopoly that the Chinese communists enjoy. The statists like to pretend that their system is different from the Chinese system because there are two political parties competing against each other. But that’s just tripe. Actually, it’s one big party — the Statist Party — divided into two wings, the Democrats and Republicans, much as the NFL is divided into two competing conferences.

With their ballot-barrier restrictions, their campaign-finance rules, and their limits on campaign contributions, the Statist Party has effectively ensured that people who oppose its statism have a virtually impossible time competing with them in the political arena. Every once in while a non-statist will break through the monopoly, such as Ron Paul, but it’s a rare exception.

So, with all these forces arrayed against us, it might be tempting for libertarians to say, “Oh, what the heck? There’s no way we can bring all this socialism, interventionism, and empire to an end and restore liberty to our land.”

That temptation must be resisted, however. And the reason lies in the power of truth and sound ideas on liberty.

Think of the situation this way: At one end of the spectrum are us libertarians. At the other end are the statists — forget most of them, they are incorrigible and there is no way that they are going to change their minds. But in the middle are millions of people who are seeking the truth, seeking moral principles, seeking a better way. Those are the people that the statists, in China, the United States, and elsewhere fear.

So, we libertarians just need to keep speaking the truth and sharing our ideas on liberty, with faith and confidence that our efforts are moving us closer to restoring freedom to our land. In the final analysis, to paraphrase George Washington, the results of our efforts are in the hands of God.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.