Free trade with higher wage countries & the China card

As Democrats make a political point of rejecting the free trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership–to the point of defying the Democratic President–Charles Lane clears up the disinformation being spread about the treaty.

He says that, contrary to the rhetoric,  it won’t lose American jobs by sending industries to lower-wage countries.  Our biggest partners in this agreement, who would open their markets to us, would be Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.  All of which pay  higher wages than the United States!  There are low-wage countries in the pact, such as Mexico and Peru, but we already have free trade agreements with them!

Also, in a column criticizing Hillary Clinton for being silent on a treaty she helped to create, Robert Kagan gives the underlying strategic reason for the Trans-Pacific Partnership:  forging an alliance to counter China. [Read more...]

Totalitarianism reconsidered

Some intellectuals are arguing that democracy cannot effectively address climate change–and, indeed, makes it worse–and that what we need to save the planet  is to eliminate political freedom and to turn towards a totalitarian government.  Others don’t go quite that far, but they hold up as the role model for effective government the People’s Republic of China.  (Never mind that China has the worst pollution on the planet!)

After the jump, an excerpt that demonstrates this from a study of the “Sustainability” ideology by the conservative academic organization the National Association of Scholars.

[Read more...]

Birth tourism

Children born inside the borders of the United States are automatically American citizens.  This has created a practice known as “birth tourism,” in which pregnant women from other countries come to the United States to give birth, thus giving the baby American citizenship.  This has become a major industry in China.  But the reason is not just easy immigration when the child grows up.  The Chinese are using the practice to sidestep the “one child” policy, which requires forced abortion if a couple has more than one child.  If the second child is an American, the policy does not apply. [Read more...]

Pun control

The Chinese government is forbidding the use of puns in state-supported media.  Alexandra Petri objects.  (If you are one of those, like Chinese communists, who can’t stand puns, do NOT read her punitive words after the jump.  I invite you, though, to respond in kind in the comments.) [Read more...]

China passes USA as largest economy

The United States no longer has the world’s largest economy.  China just passed us.  Ever since Ulysses S. Grant was president, the American economy has been  number one.  Now we are number two. [Read more...]

The effect of the liberal arts in Hong Kong

Progressive education, which tries to reduce everything to a narrow academic specialty, thinks “liberal arts” means “humanities.”  But in reality, the classical liberal arts refers to a whole approach to education– one that is broad rather than narrow, connected rather than fragmented, open to the past rather than favoring whatever is new, etc., etc.

It’s called “liberal” from the Latin word for “freedom.”  It goes back to the distinction in ancient Greece and Rome between the “servile” education given to slaves (nothing more than training for a job) and the “liberal” education given to free citizens of the Greek democracy and the Roman Republic–one that required the cultivation of the intellect and other human powers, as well as knowledge of the cultural heritage that must be transmitted to the new generation.  (I argue that much of “progressive education” is a revival of “servile education.”)  Interestingly, when Melanchthon and other Reformers opened schools to teach the masses how to read the Bible, they instituted a liberal arts curriculum, an education for freedom.

The British have done much with liberal education, and the schools they started throughout the British empire tended to follow this approach.  Today, the still-Communist Chinese are blaming  the liberal arts curriculum in the schools of Hong Kong for the pro-freedom movement currently roiling that city, with the protests generally led by liberal arts students.  The movement is being called “scholarism.”  In the mean time, the Chinese government wants to impose a pro-government purely economic curriculum. Sound familiar? [Read more...]


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