recentpopularlog in

aries1988 : government   59

再访 Ian Johnson:宗教复兴遭遇收紧治理,中国要打一场“灵魂之战”吗?|深度|探索学院|端传媒 Initium Media
中国宗教政策的转机其实始于1982年,邓小平宣布落实“宗教信仰自由”政策,中共下发19号文件要求重新认识宗教和民族问题。即便是在文件公布的数字里,人们也惊奇地发现,在中国宗教遭受过控制、打压、改造甚至消灭的环境下,基督教人数仍然取得惊人增长。香港中文大学神学院院长邢福增认为,这绝不可能是1979年之后才发生的,他引用自己有关中国基督徒的口述史研究,佐证这场复苏是从文革期间的地下状态或第二社会(The Second Society)开始的。

英文学界的一些主张曾经认为,只有制度性的、正统的宗教才能酝酿出真正的信仰,并以此认为中国没有宗教。张彦没有囿于这种认识,他对中国宗教信仰的评价更接近学者杨庆堃的“弥散性宗教”(diffused religion,又译分散性宗教)的概念,即不成系统却无处不在。张彦形容所有宗教像在一个持续的光谱(Spectrum)里:“一方面,宗教是非常哲学化的,是关于精神领域的,另外一方面,宗教有纯仪式的一面。”因此,他不轻视“拜拜求平安”这样的普通民众看似“无主”的宗教生活,同时分配了一大部分注意力给不经中国政府认证的“地下教会”。

为加强“党的全面领导”,中国各地开展“四进”活动,意指国旗、宪法、社会主义核心价值观、中华优秀传统文化进入宗教场所,这些做法为境外各类“中国禁闻”增添了啼笑皆非的谈资。

我认为宗教复兴提供了一种新的方式,让中国人自己产出一套新的、属于中国人自己的价值体系。你知道,政府想要将自己的价值体系(社会主义核心价值观)强加到人民身上,政府也拥有这种至上而下的权力。虽然社会主义核心价值观中,也包涵一些有价值的传统观念,但这些传统观念是对政府有利的。我注意到的一件事是,很多人觉得中国在过去的一个半世纪里,丢失了很多框架、传统、价值体系和人们在社会中共同生存的方式。这些年人们尝试重新去寻找这些东西,很多底层的中国人民开始寻找自己的传统和价值观。

欧洲,柏林墙也倒塌了。中国的共产党看到并研究了欧洲的这一变化,他们注意到共产主义在欧洲失败的部分原因是因为那里有太多民主社会组织了,比如说波兰的基督教会、东德的新教教会,贸易组织等等。中国领导是不会允许宗教组织发展到如此有组织性的地步的。

我个人不认为任何一种宗教可以拯救中国,但中国可以通过发展宗教去改变自己。

政府想要利用宗教,并且选择宗教中的赢家和输家。比如现在,政府选择的就是佛教和道教,于是他们就攻击基督教和伊斯兰教,于是便会发生各种情况。

宗教局前局长叶小文,他管理宗教局很长一段时间,他相对比较独立、是个很有意思的人物,但是政府可能不喜欢这样,可能政府认为宗教局有太多所谓专家,而且对宗教太过同情。即便宗教局的人是无神论者,他们还是会同情并理解宗教。

法轮功跟基督教家庭教会相比,规模还是算小的。所以我认为政府不会再这样打压宗教。

去年政府关闭了三个最有名的地下教会(编注:北京锡安教会、成都秋雨教会、广州荣桂里)

政府注意到了宗教的复兴并且想去控制它,就像几年前政府控制了非营利组织(NGO)一样,在这之前他们还控制了网络。共产党有时可能需要一些时间去做出反应,但他们总是会做出反应的。

假如在中国有1600万天主教徒,一半在独立教会一半在政府教会,如果每个独立教会有500名成员,那么就会有16000个教会。实际数字一定比这个更多,因为不是所有教会都有500人这么大的规模。所以我认为政府不可能关闭所有教会,他们所做的是在警告:第一,不要有政治倾向,第二,不要有太高的组织性。

新疆发生的一切是很可怕的悲剧,你不能用武力去改变人们的想法。

中国对不同的宗教有不同的应对方式,培植佛教、道教、民间信仰,但打击外来宗教如天主教及伊斯兰教。

我认为“政府”(government)也是一样,它没办法控制社会的所有方面。它或许可以控制非营利组织、关闭独立电影节、终止女性运动、民办教会,但是到最后这些只会毁了政府自身。我认为一个健康的社会需要非营利组织和各种公民组织。一个稳定的社会不应是人造的、外表强大的国家,看似坚硬实则易碎,都是外强中干的。

天主教在过去几年间的人数增长几乎“停滞”。你看,新教教徒从1949年的100万人到今天,大概有5000-6000万的规模,佛教、道教的人数以亿计,而天主教徒仅仅是从300万到了1000万,这期间中国人口数量翻了三倍(编注:1949年的4亿到如今的近14亿),意味著天主教教徒的增幅仅与人口增长相当。

我认为天主教的问题是它没有参与到宗教复兴中去,它是唯一一个没有发展壮大的。教皇可能认为如果解决了牧师等人事问题,比如若是可以让主教、牧师都被合法认证,那么教会就可以更好的发展。

当中国政府说“宗教本土化”的时候,他们的真正意思其实是所有在中国的宗教都应该被完全控制。

我认为这种爱国主义的问题在于人们获取的信息有限,所以他们经常下意识的就认为政府有在做事。

至于共产主义,我认为现在几乎没有人真的信仰共产主义了。我觉得对很多人来说,他们寻找的是一种理想主义的东西,而这其中共产主义相对来说比较安全可靠,因为毕竟中国还是一个共产主义国家。但我不确定人们是否还真的有被共产主义所激励著。

有机的(Organic)东西是从公民社会中产生的。不管怎么说,好莱坞就是美国的一个软实力,但它不是政府的产物。所有的好莱坞电影,以及这些电影所传播的美国思想,都不是政府权力。

真正的软实力是,以佛教为例,如果中国的佛教足够活跃,有新的佛教思想家出现、新的佛教书籍出现,就像20世纪太虚大师创办的“人间佛教”,那么世界其他地方的人会赞叹中国发生的这一切,他们会认为中国一定是一个非常好的国家。这才是真正的软实力,而不是孔子学院这种政府控制的东西。
religion  interview  chinese  government  today  buddhism  christianity  opinion  explained  policy 
march 2019 by aries1988
葛兆光:十八世纪中国的盛世危机

徐中约《中国近代史》曾经把大清帝国“国运逆转,由盛到衰”,归咎于“行政无能”、“腐败普遍”和“财政窘迫”,这当然有一定道理。但我想和大家讨论的是另外三点:第一,帝国庞大疆域和复杂族群,造成控制成本过大;第二,思想文化与意识形态无法面向世界,越来越凝固和僵化;第三,归根结底,是皇权或国家权力过于集中,封杀了变革的可能性。

在二十世纪上半叶之后,“训政”与“党国”成为主流的时代,更是变本加厉。那么,在皇权笼罩一切的专制政治制度底下,说得好,唯有“得君行道”的路径和“作帝王师”的理想,说不好就只能“著书都为稻粱谋”。知识分子怎么能轻易挣脱专制皇权、政治制度对文化思想的钳制?而在专制皇权、政治制度的控制之下,自由思想空间越来越窄仄,我们又怎么能相信凭着这种传统,中国能给世界带来惠及全球的价值,发展出保证现代科学、技术和经济自由发展的制度?

当四库全书的编纂,鼓励了学者们把精力和智慧都用在古典的注释和发挥上的时候,可是,欧洲的实用知识却在发展和整合。

在中国,皇帝就是政治权力、神圣象征和文化真理三合一的,以前史华兹(Benjamin Schwartz)就说中国是“普遍王权”(Universal Kingship),皇权或者国家的权力太大,始终是“普天之下莫非王土”。

在我们有关历史的印象中,华盛顿好像比乾隆皇帝晚得多,好像华盛顿是现代的事情,乾隆皇帝好遥好远,其实,他们是同时代人,他们两人同样在1799年,也就是漫长的十八世纪最后一年去世,不是华盛顿近乾隆远,只是从制度上看,确实一个太古代,一个很现代。
qing  talk  opinion  comparison  west  question  king  politics  government  19C  china  book 
february 2019 by aries1988
政体 - 维基百科,自由的百科全书
共和国  法国 指国家代表机关和国家元首由选举产生。现今世界上有154个共和国,像法兰西共和国、葡萄牙共和国、希腊共和国等。
民国  中华民国 本质与共和国无异,只是英语republic的旧时译法,如中华民国、大韩民国。
人民共和国  中华人民共和国 为共和国的变种,多数是自称社会主义国家,如中华人民共和国、老挝人民民主共和国、朝鲜民主主义人民共和国的国号。
社会主义共和国  越南 多数是社会主义国家如斯里兰卡民主社会主义共和国、越南社会主义共和国的国号。
government  concept  definition  comparison  republic 
october 2018 by aries1988
'Charlottesville': A Government Story About Nuclear War - The Atlantic

Charlottesville, the small but elegant center of learning, culture, and trade in central Virginia, was not hit either. This monument to the mind and manner of Jefferson retained its status as a kind of genteel sanctuary, momentarily immune to the disaster that had leveled the cities of the nation.
scifi  history  nuclear  war  usa  government  life  explained  policy  survive 
february 2018 by aries1988
梁文道:給「一部分」讀者的回覆

把一些黨政機構的通知和命令看作是一種「聲音」,然後將一些反對這些通知的民間意見看成是另一種不同的聲音,似乎要以此說明中國社會其實也是一個正常的多元現代社會,這是近幾年我在許多中國時局討論當中常常看到的思路。我非常懷疑,這樣子說話的人是不是太不懂得「國情」,把自己當成「外賓」了?
china  today  debate  government  society  expression  liberty  essay 
december 2017 by aries1988
梁文道:只准賣馬槽,不准過聖誕

一邊替全世界各種宗教生產他們最需要的東西,另一邊嚴格管控它們的流行;在我看來,想要瞭解今日中國社會境況,恐怕很難找到比這個看起來十分諷刺的矛盾更加鮮明的案例。「開放」的意思大概就是這個樣子:只要和錢相關,一切都好說;可是只要碰到意識形態,那就寸步難行。

卻照樣找得到安身立命之道。今天的問題是宗教也好,非宗教的精神傳統也好,所有能夠照顧終極關懷的精神資源,在中國似乎都沒有一片自由自在的立足之地。
trade  tradition  china  religion  spiritual  society  control  government  world  chinese  today  money 
december 2017 by aries1988
Le syndrome catalan | Le blog de Thomas Piketty
La crise catalane est-elle due à un excès de centralisation et à la brutalité du pouvoir madrilène ? Ou bien plutôt à une logique de mise en concurrence généralisée des territoires et des pays qui a déjà été beaucoup trop loin, en Espagne comme en Europe, et qui conduit à toujours plus de surenchère vers le chacun-pour-soi ?
europe  region  government  state  taxe  debate  crisis 
november 2017 by aries1988
The challenge of Xi Jinping’s Leninist autocracy

Will this combination of Leninist politics with market economics go on working as China develops? The answer must be: we do not know. A positive response could be that this system not only fits with Chinese traditions, but the bureaucrats are also exceptionally capable. The system has worked spectacularly so far. Yet there are also negative responses. One is that the party is always above the law. That makes power ultimately lawless. Another is that the corruption Mr Xi has been attacking is inherent in a systems lacking checks from below. Another is that, in the long run, this reality will sap economic dynamism. Yet another is that as the economy and the level of education advances, the desire for a say in politics will become overwhelming. In the long run, the rule of one man over the party and that of one party over China will not stand.

Second and far more important, the west (fragile as it is today) has to recognise — and learn from — the fact that management of its economy and politics has been unsatisfactory for years, if not decades. The west let its financial system run aground in a huge financial crisis. It has persistently under-invested in its future. In important cases, notably the US, it has allowed a yawning gulf to emerge between economic winners and the losers. Not least, it has let lies and hatred consume its politics.

It must create more inclusive and dynamic economies, revitalise its politics and re-establish anew the fragile balance between the national and the global, the democratic and the technocratic that is essential to the health of sophisticated democracies. Autocracy is the age-old human norm. It must not have the last word.
world  china  politics  economy  challenge  government  comparison 
november 2017 by aries1988
Japan: the next big quake
The government’s figures put the odds of a magnitude 8.0-plus Nankai Trough earthquake at 50 per cent in the next 20 years, 70 per cent in the next 30 years and 90 per cent in the next half century.

In the worst case of a magnitude 9.0 quake, close to land, Tokyo puts losses at ¥220tn ($2tn) for the first year alone. The amount is hard to imagine: 40 per cent of Japan’s GDP, equal to the market capitalisation of Apple, Microsoft, Berkshire Hathaway, ExxonMobil and Facebook combined. Around three-quarters of that is property damage, most of it privately owned, and the rest is lost economic activity.

The worst fatality rates in Tohoku towns were about 10 per cent, whereas historic records suggest fatality rates of half or two-thirds for unprepared fishing villages after a similar tsunami in 1896. In total, 97 per cent of people in the Tohoku inundation area survived.

That reflects the benefits of engineering, early warning and evacuation.
japan  gis  government  planning  disaster  state  policy  manufacturing  infographics  earthquake 
october 2017 by aries1988
A Big Brother approach has qualities that would benefit society
Based on the “citizen score”, the Chinese state will be able to improve — or restrict — such privileges as high broadband speed, foreign travel visas, social benefits, access to elite restaurants, favourable insurance premiums and the quality of schooling offered to a person’s children.

Social media posts praising the government, Communist party and the economy, Ms Botsman says, will enhance your rating.

Yet, I am almost embarrassed to say, I get it. Bearing in mind China’s violent history, I understand its preoccupation with order and harmony, and how the omniscient potential of computing, the internet and mobile data has been irresistible to the political intelligentsia.

We have indeed all the elements that make China’s Social Credit system possible. Pull together the credit record of an individual or business as well as their social media posts, browser history, tax record, criminal record, fitness statistics, supermarket loyalty card details, Yelp, eBay, TripAdvisor, feedback and you have the same thing.
bigdata  data  government  privacy  society  utopia 
october 2017 by aries1988
The end of a world of nation-states may be upon us – Jamie Bartlett | Aeon Essays

Yes, there are dictatorships and democracies, but the whole world is made up of nation-states. This means a blend of ‘nation’ (people with common attributes and characteristics) and ‘state’ (an organised political system with sovereignty over a defined space, with borders agreed by other nation-states).

Until the mid-19th century, most of the world was a sprawl of empires, unclaimed land, city-states and principalities, which travellers crossed without checks or passports.

as Karl Marx observed, if you change the dominant mode of production that underpins a society, the social and political structure will change too.

John Perry Barlow’s ‘Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace’ (1996) sums it up well: the internet is a technology built on libertarian principles. Censorship-free, decentralised and borderless. And now ubiquitous.

This is the crux of the problem: nation-states rely on control. If they can’t control information, crime, businesses, borders or the money supply, then they will cease to deliver what citizens demand of them. In the end, nation-states are nothing but agreed-upon myths: we give up certain freedoms in order to secure others. But if that transaction no longer works, and we stop agreeing on the myth, it ceases to have power over us.

Clearly, nation-states won’t go down tamely. Carving out a new form of sovereign authority from an existing one is extremely difficult, and is generally frowned upon by the UN.
debate  state  origin  today  death  government  world 
october 2017 by aries1988
The Interpreter Thursday, October 5, 2017
And conversely, how much attention should we pay to the fact that today’s nascent democracies are held to a much higher moral standard than more established ones were in their earliest days? The early United States, for instance, relied on slave labor and waged brutal ethnic cleansing campaigns against Native Americans. European nations used slavery, torture and political oppression to maintain control over their colonies.

We now recognize, rightly, that those atrocities were abhorrent and shameful. But it is easier to do that from today’s comfortable vantage point of wealth and stability. We rarely reckon with how much of what we have today was derived from the oppression of others. So should we take a cold, hard look at the difficulties of establishing democracy, freedom and equality all at the same time?
question  debate  democracy  nation  state  2017  history  future  government 
october 2017 by aries1988
Grilled-cheese, cocktail among terms now deemed OK by Quebec's language watchdog - Montreal - CBC News
The OQLF, established in 1961 and strengthened under the 1977 Charter of the French Language, is mandated to protect the language and ensure its proper usage in the province.

It now has a staff of more than 230, including more than 20 linguists, and an annual budget of $24 million.

The OQLF's grand dictionnaire terminologique, a resource for translators, academics and everyday citizens, gets 19 million hits a year.

The office has, in some cases, been successful in introducing French alternatives to ubiquitous English words, such as courriel as an alternative to email and mot-clic as an alternative to hashtag.

Others, like the cumbersome sandwich au fromage fondant, haven't taken hold.

In the past, the office has been criticized for what some viewed as overzealous enforcement, such as when an Italian restaurant was targeted for using Italian words — including "pasta" — on its menu.
quebec  français  2017  english  government 
october 2017 by aries1988
WindNinja | Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program
WindNinja is a computer program that computes spatially varying wind fields for wildland fire application.
usa  fire  government  tool  mobile  ofm 
september 2017 by aries1988
梁文道:唔關我事
在特朗普身上,在香港一些年輕學生身上,我看到一種很不可思議的共通點,那就是切割。和本該不可割捨的過去切割,往昔世界工業發展的歷史和我沒有關係,二十多年前香港發生過的事情也和我沒有關係。和不可能不與之相互影響的「外部」切割,全球其餘兩百多個國家和我沒有關係,中國再怎麼樣也和我沒有關係。和我們「內部」其他人切割,凡是與我看法不一致的大企業都不能代表「真正美國人」的利益,凡是與我觀點不相通的社運組織也都不能算是站在「真正香港人」這一邊。於是那最純粹、最本真的「美國人」或「香港人」,就是經過一連串的切割之後,既沒有過去,也顧不到將來;既不與遠親為伍,復不認近鄰為友的,蒼白的、懸峙的、原子化的我了。在我看來,這就是今日右翼民粹論述的一個邏輯特點。

不過若是繼續追問下去,想要發掘更多課本所不傳的史實的話,那就會犯上「歷史虛無主義」的罪了,是妄圖以歷史否定中國共產黨領導地位合法性的重大錯誤。但只要你不問不說,假裝發生過的事沒有發生過,假裝仍然活着的兇手與受害者皆不存在,歷史就不虛無了。你的歷史觀不虛無,你就安全了,你就可以好好地活着了。所以每當香港媒體問到在港內地學生關於「六四」的事,都一定有人會答:「那是歷史上的事,和我今天的生活沒有多大關係」。
china  hongkong  chinese  identity  government  democracy  cause  local  youth  opinion  comparison  conflict  today  crisis  history  killing  communism  64  idealism  politics 
june 2017 by aries1988
Trump’s Radical Anti-Americanism
Yet what perhaps no one could have entirely predicted was the special cocktail of oafish incompetence and radical anti-Americanism that President Trump’s Administration has brought. This combination has produced a new note in our public life: chaotic cruelty. The immigration crisis may abate, but it has already shown the power of government to act arbitrarily overnight—sundering families, upending long-set expectations, until all those born as outsiders must imagine themselves here only on sufferance of a senior White House counsellor.

Autocratic regimes with a demagogic bent are nearly always inefficient, because they cannot create and extend the network of delegated trust that is essential to making any organization work smoothly. The chaos is characteristic. Whether by instinct or by intention, it benefits the regime, whose goal is to create an overwhelming feeling of shared helplessness in the population at large: we will detain you and take away your green card—or, no, now we won’t take away your green card, but we will hold you here, and we may let you go, or we may not.
trump  usa  critic  government  destiny  liberalism 
february 2017 by aries1988
L’Estonie, perle balte du tout-numérique

L’Estonie est une société hyperconnectée, et cela commence dès l’école. Grâce à leur carte d’identité numérique (une carte à puce sécurisée) ou à leur mobile, les 1,3 million d’habitants font à peu près tout en ligne grâce à un portail gouvernemental : voter aux élections, déclarer les impôts, signer « numériquement » un contrat de travail et, même, renouveler une ordonnance auprès de leur médecin de famille. « Nous pouvons dire sans rougir qu’en matière de numérique, nous sommes des pionniers », se félicite Tea Varrak, la flamboyante directrice du centre d’innovation Mektory, sur le campus de Tallinn.

Mais, auparavant, il faudra rassurer les Européens sur la protection de leurs données personnelles. Vu de Paris ou de Bruxelles, la grande confiance des Estoniens envers les nouvelles technologies à de quoi dérouter. D’autant que les institutions du pays ont subi une cyberattaque massive en 2007.
baltic  numeric  government  innovation 
february 2017 by aries1988
Sometimes the People Need to Call the Experts

The government about to take over in Washington has more billionaires than the Boston of Buckley’s time, but it seems willing to test the theory that academics can be dispensed with for the most part.

experts. They understand the importance of applying expertise to complex problems, and they realize many issues do not respond well to common-sense fixes. The citizenry usually cannot make good decisions, or for that matter expert appointments, when technocracy is required.

Very few citizens understand such basic concepts as how inflation rates are calculated, the differences between real and nominal rates of interest, or how the shadow banking system is supposed to work, much less tripartite repurchase agreements or the Basel capital standards. The complexities increase every year, and it is no accident that the last two Fed chairs have been drawn from the highest ranks of academic economists.

each stands a chance of being right in some particular circumstances, and the populist approach doesn’t have any way to differentiate. For that you have to call in someone who specializes in monetary economics, a field with many counterintuitive conclusions.

There is a time and place for populist sentiment, but an excess can be counterproductive on its own terms. As expertise is pushed out the door, the citizenry itself gets a bad name, precisely when we most need it to step up to the plate and demand some excellence.
intelligentsia  mao  government  usa  public  opinion  expert  choice  populism  instapaper_favs 
january 2017 by aries1988
Staunch secularist entrusted to quell France’s row over Islam - FT.com
France will never be like the UK or the US, Mr Chevènement notes. No ‘In God we trust’ on our banknotes, he says. Female police officers wearing headscarves are totally out of the question.

The British and the Americans accept that everybody lives separately according to their own ways. Those communities have gained the right to sort their own affairs, he notes. We believe that citizens should contribute to the common interest by favouring reason and not the display of faith … We are trying to balance freedom and equality.
france  muslim  comparison  uk  government  laicite 
september 2016 by aries1988
许纪霖:没有政治正确,这个世界将变得更加野蛮_爱思想
人生的意义不再与神圣的终极价值关联,工具理性替代了价值理性,世俗的快乐与幸福成为了去魅化人生的追求目标。公共生活也与特定的宗教价值脱钩,国家在各种宗教信仰之中保持中立,每个公民可以按照自己的自由意志选择自己的信仰、群体归属和个人偏好。
politics  religion  life  human  ideology  state  opinion  government 
august 2016 by aries1988
Inside America’s Infrastructure Problem
From the crumbling bridges of California to the overflowing sewage drains of Houston and the rusting railroad tracks in the Northeast Corridor, decaying infrastructure is all around us, and the consequences are so familiar that we barely notice them—like urban traffic congestion, slow-moving trains, and flights that are often disrupted, thanks to an outdated air-traffic-control system.

there are political reasons that maintenance gets scanted. It’s handled mainly by state and local communities, which, because many of them can’t run fiscal deficits, operate under budgetary pressures. Term limits mean that a politician who cuts maintenance spending may not be around when things go wrong. There’s also what Erie calls the edifice complex: what politician doesn’t like opening something new and having a nice press op at the ribbon-cutting? But no one ever writes articles saying, Region’s highways are still about as good as they were last year.

infrastructure policy has become a matter of lurching from crisis to crisis, solving problems after the fact rather than preventing them from happening.
usa  infrastructure  today  opinion  politics  government  money  explained  transport  instapaper_favs 
may 2016 by aries1988
Head count: executions by country
Many countries have given up capital punishment: 101 had abolished it by July, says Amnesty International, up from 59 in 1995. Some may be getting less keen: in America—the only rich country other than Japan still practising the death penalty—28 prisoners have been executed this year, the fewest since 1991. Yet plenty of enthusiasts remain. The global toll is unknown, because thousands are believed to be executed annually in China, where official figures are a state secret and there are 55 capital crimes, including corruption and drug offences. The war on drugs is eagerly waged elsewhere too, accounting for half the executions in Iran and Saudi Arabia; Indonesia reinstated the death penalty for drug crimes in 2015. Pakistan reversed a moratorium on executions last December, after the massacre of 149 people, including 132 children, at a school. Since then over 300 prisoners have been put to death, by no means all for terrorist crimes.
death  government  law  human 
december 2015 by aries1988
What Do We Really Know About Osama bin Laden’s Death? - NYTimes.com
These false stories couldn’t have reached the public without the help of the media. Reporters don’t just find facts; they look for narratives. And an appealing narrative can exert a powerful gravitational pull that winds up bending facts in its direction.

There are different ways to control a narrative. There’s the old- fashioned way: Classify documents that you don’t want seen and, as Gates said, ‘‘keep mum on the details.’’ But there’s also the more modern, social- media-savvy approach: Tell the story you want them to believe. Silence is one way to keep a secret. Talking is another. And they are not mutually exclusive.
media  people  truth  government 
december 2015 by aries1988
How the Emperor Became Human (and MacArthur Became Divine)
America would remake Japan from the top down and turn it from semi-feudal despotism into a model twentieth-century democracy rooted in Western precepts of freedom. The Americans would impose democracy by fiat on Japan, whether the Japanese wanted and liked it or not, but they would do so using imperial institutions, including the existing civil service.

Japan would experience a tremendous convulsion … it would initiate a vendetta for revenge … whose cycle may not be complete for centuries … Destroy him and the nation will disintegrate. Civilised practices will largely cease and a condition of underground chaos and disorder amounting to guerrilla war … will result. All hope of introducing modern democratic methods would disappear and when military control finally ceased, some form of intense regimentation, probably along communistic lines, would arise. A minimum of a million troops would be required, which would have to be maintained for an indefinite number of years. A complete civil service might have to be recruited, running into several hundred thousand.

Hirohito, then in his forties, was an intelligent, extremely educated man, but he was also inflexible and unimaginative. He was not usually reflective nor, as those who knew him admitted, a deep thinker. He had considered abdication in order to devote his time to the real passion of his life, marine biology. But on the advice of his Cabinet he rejected the idea on the grounds that it would ‘encourage republicanism.’ He also realised that if he were no longer Emperor and thus useful to the Americans, it would be much easier for them to charge him with war crimes.

It was a masterstroke of public relations, and no general understood the importance of appearances as instinctively as did Douglas MacArthur. Atsugii was a potent symbol that the Americans had come in the spirit of conciliation, not vengeance. A Japanese observer at the time, the historian Kazuo Kawai, described it as ‘an exhibition of cool personal courage … [but] it was even more a gesture of trust in the good faith of the Japanese. It was a masterpiece of psychology, which completely disarmed the Japanese apprehension. From that moment, whatever danger there might have been of a fanatic attack on the Americans vanished in a wave of Japanese admiration and gratitude.’

To the young American men of the Occupation army the Japanese seemed exotic, particularly the women. The GIs were fed enormous amounts of absurd propaganda. ‘The flat-chested, button-nosed, splay-footed average Japanese woman is about as attractive to most Americans as a thousand-year-old stone wall. In fact, less so,’ claimed a widely read article in the Saturday Evening Post headlined ‘The G.I. is Civilizing the Jap’. But American troops seemed more than willing to ignore the blemishes. Many of the senior officers in the army and SCAP’s civilian officials kept Japanese mistresses. More than ninety thousand illegitimate babies were born to Japanese women in the first three years of the Occupation.
history  japan  usa  government  book  royal  instapaper_favs 
november 2015 by aries1988
Let them eat cake: Paris suffers baguette ‘shortage’ - FT.com
Previously, bakers would be informed by the city’s administrative authority which weeks they could take off, a system that ensured every area had an artisanal baker open nearby over the slow summer months, to serve the French habit of buying freshly baked bread on a daily basis. A 1998 law still in place states that to be called a boulangerie in France, the dough has to be kneaded, shaped and baked on the premises. The price of bread was fixed until as late as 1986. “Political legitimacy has long come from feeding the people, but in France this has always been symbolised by ensuring the supply of bread,” said Steven Kaplan, a Cornell University professor of history and author of several books on French bread.
life  bread  government  français 
august 2015 by aries1988
Buckle up | The Economist
Status-enhancing yet dangerous manoeuvres, such as driving a motorbike on one wheel, can entail a fine of up to 3m Lebanese pounds ($2,000) and even time behind bars. Learner drivers must take proper lessons rather than being taught by relatives, themselves home-schooled in the art of dodging pedestrians and potholes. “They want us to act like Europeans,” says Imad, a motorist. “OK, but in return we’d like some European-style services.”
driving  middle-east  government 
august 2015 by aries1988
Why Earthquakes in China Are So Damaging
The subject of earthquake damage prevention symbolizes one of the central challenges of contemporary Chinese governance. At the federal level, China has good building codes, the willingness to invest in safe housing, and the means to respond quickly and effectively when tragedy strikes. But at the local level, where the country's population actually interacts with its government, difficulties with corruption and law enforcement mean that subsequent earthquakes will be more tragic than necessary.
government  earthquake 
july 2013 by aries1988
National differences: The world is what you make it | The Economist
Some of the internet’s early idealists did not think that governments would be able to interfere in the digital realm. In 1996, in the grandly named Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, John Perry Barlow addressed governments as “you weary giants of flesh and steel”. He went on:
internet  government 
november 2012 by aries1988
【天下远见】骚乱受害,政府赔偿
接下来,如果受害者已经投保,可以直接联系保险公司寻求索赔,如若有保险政策所无法覆盖之处,保险公司可以向警方申请补偿。如果受害者尚未投保,可以直接向当地警察机关提出赔偿申请。从损害发生后的第一天算起,在42天之内向警方提出索赔均可受理(由于许多受害者需要收集证据,所以政府根据英国保险协会的建议延长了期限)。索赔方式也很简单,下载表格填写,并发送到警方的电子邮箱或邮寄至指定信箱均可。
googlereader  england  government  crisis 
september 2012 by aries1988
Plenty to Hide
Does government surveillance matter if you're not doing anything illegal? It's a tricky question that privacy advocate Jay Stanley has studied for years. He breaks down why privacy matters, even if you have "nothing to hide." http://www.instapaper.com/read/293464973
privacy  debate  legal  government 
august 2012 by aries1988
黄鼠狼给鸡搭窝
事实无数次告诉我们,中国真正的创意产业不是在文化领域,而是在食品与药品领域。每次食品和药品领域出现问题,它那种好莱坞式结局般的神奇创意都让你拍案叫绝,这些创意如果能有百分之一用在电影上,国产电影一定会是世界上最好的。
china  food  safety  government 
august 2012 by aries1988
Charles Darwin, Economist - Robert Frank - The American Interest Magazine
I base my prediction on a subtle but extremely important distinction between Darwin and Smith’s views of the competitive process. As I’ll explain, it’s a distinction that sheds a bright light on a still raging debate about the nature and desirability of government regulation.
http://www.instapaper.com/read/214446228
economist  government 
august 2012 by aries1988
自由,就是对何谓正确不那么确定的精神_柴静_新浪博客
顾准说过:“什么是专制?专制就是认为自己绝不会错的想法”, 这话警示政府官员,新闻界,和每个普通公民。
http://www.instapaper.com/read/214511739
freedom  media  government  democracy  book 
august 2012 by aries1988
The Revenge of Wen Jiabao
The ouster of Chongqing boss Bo Xilai was 30 years in the making -- a long, sordid tale of elite families and factions vying for the soul of the Chinese Communist Party.
china  government  conspiracy  story  tiananmen 
march 2012 by aries1988
冰点时评:当调笑“砖家”成为一种风尚
济南市民怕涨价纷纷抢购“活人墓”,立马有社会学专家跳出来说,应该像调控房价一样出台限购政策,给墓地管理也出个“国八条”;西安学生药家鑫交通肇事后捅死伤者,于是有心理学专家在电视上说,他将伤者连捅八刀是弹钢琴的重复性动作;部分青少年上网成瘾,医学专家在中俄网瘾治疗经验交流会上分析,87%的青少年上网成瘾与缺少父爱有关。(综合近日媒体报道)
expert  china  knowledge  anti-intellectualism  society  government 
march 2011 by aries1988
【记者见地】改良性质的“改革”,还是结构性的“重建”
出于曾任翻译养成的职业习惯,每当参加有英语翻译的记者会时,我总是会把听到的中文或者英文自己先在头脑里翻译一遍,再和大会翻译的译法比较一下。2011年3月15日听温家宝总理记者招待会,我发现了关于中国国家大政方针的两个词汇十分有趣的不同翻译方法,这就是“政治体制改革”和“经济体制改革”。
china  language  english  chinese  government 
march 2011 by aries1988

Copy this bookmark:





to read